The Main Chance

Continued from: THE LONG GOODBYE: “Comes A Frost”

This post takes place before Torrik's in the past thread.

“…all our yesterdayes, haue lighted Fooles
The way to dusty death. Out, out, breefe Candle,
Life's but a walking Shadow, a poore Player,
That struts and frets his houre vpon the Stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a Tale
Told by an Ideot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.”

—- William Shakespeare, Macbeth

"You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that, oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now.”

—- Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

“Do the job.”

—- Seth Anderson

  • * *

Yellow 10 Alpha
Mylla’s Suite
~ 10:55:45 A.M. (Federataion Standard Time) ~

Again, gaining entrance to areas restricted to most (in this instance, her daughter’s residence) was embarrassingly easy. And this time it was done with little more of her abilities than making them extremely susceptible (and, whole truth be told, a little caress to the libido) to the outfit she wore. Finn had be right. Even she hadn’t realized how right he was… .I DO love showing off my rear end.… .The latest fashion on Earth, her colonies, and on a number of Federation influenced worlds. Called “Retro Hip”…A tip of the hat to Earth’s latter 20th Century, prominently spotlighting very VERY short hemlines and lots of cleavage. It was doubtful that the guards at Mylla’s door heard more than her initial greeting as she strode up to identify herself, let alone cared about her rank within the Sisterhood, or that she was ‘the Boss’ mother’.

Sex appeal. Something she was definitely going to explore a bit deeper in the future.

° ° °

Though the monitor…the live feed from Lemmas’ private torture chamber, was still on (had been running continuously, in fact)), Stearns had only given it his full and uninterrupted attention the first five hours or so. Which didn’t mean he’d lost interest, or that he’d suddenly developed any feelings of sympathy for his longtime adversary. Quite the contrary—-on both counts. He watched sporadically…Listened at least (the next best thing to actual eyes-on…) to the screams caused by Lemmas’ highly touted and high priced (and worth every damned credit) efforts.

The thing was: in one respect, there were other things…matters of unavoidable importance which required his personal attention. One being the gap in his staff caused by the man on whom Lemmas now diligently labored. The deaths of Sims Al-Kar, Gavin Booth, and Neishi Fabria…They needed to be replaced. Simmie…Gav…No offense, Bros, but life goes on. And second, his duties as Chancellor of Off-World & Political Affairs… .Things to do; people to see; promises to make (like any politician, whether he kept them or not); and, like it or no, asses to kiss. He was now a man…THE Man in the public eye; the Face of the Organization, and with it came certain obligations.

Most of all, however, there was Mylla. They had had damned little time for each other since the Organizaion was officially launched. As a matter of fact, with their schedules being very nearly a 24/7 proposition, not only did it keep them from seeing each other (save those rare, and brief stints they managed to vid-com one-another between appointments) but they were so wrung out by the end of the day there was barely enough energy between the both of them for a quick kiss before they collapsed into fatigued sleep.

Today…with the exception of that 10-15 minute period when, for reasons unknown, the feed went offline…he’d taken a minute or so here and there to watch. Today, he decided, was their time…Mylla’s day…and they’d spent a goodly portion of the morning letting their hormones run in the BERSERK mode.

“Just you and me…in bed…all day,” he’d told her earlier. “No aides. No staff. No vid calls or business. No clothes…We won’t even leave the bedroom.”

“We have made those plans before,” Mylla reminded him. “If never works. Something always happens.”

Charles flashed a cocky grin. “Not this time. I programmed the computer to re-route all our calls to the embassy…Jessyn can handle anything that pops up. There are guards outside the door who have strict orders…Nobody, absolutely NO-BODY gets in, for any reason…Including world-wide cataclysm and the Second Coming.”

As for the nefarious Harry Finn…That chapter of his life—-as, to a large degree, with Shaun Ryan Acker—-was now in Epilogue…All but finished. The man who had caused him no end of grief…pain…loss was now being picked apart in a locked room like leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving. The reality of that alone brought him as much pleasure as actually seeing it happen. So why spend time he didn’t have to in front of the vid-screen. Harry Finn was going nowhere.

° ° °

If the truth be known, Mylla wished that Charles would shut the monitor off. She got no pleasure whatsoever from witnessing the unfortunate man’s agony. And to be even more honest, experiencing Charles’ emotional reactions to it, via her empathic link, both alarmed and disgusted her.

She did indeed love Charles Champe Stearns. Love. The word…the experience had given her a brand new lease on life…An entirely different, and unique perspective. Growing up on Homeworld she had often heard the word used, by older Cygnian femmes (her mother most prominently), in relation to their dealings and interactions with other cultures. She had also read about it in Academy, notably from the written works of Earth's and other Human authors…poets…songwriters. While her peers… .her sisters among them…were quick to write it off as fallacy or quote-unquote: “an overly exaggerated, frivolous emotional by-product of oppressive male-dominated societies, often employed to keep women subservient to men”… .Mylla wondered, often daydreamed of what it would be like to feel those things for a male and to have a male feel that way for her.

It was different in Cygnian society. Males were considered property…Were bought and sold…bred the way many cultures bred cattle, beasts of burden, and food animals. Their sole purpose in life was service to both the Matriarchy on Homeworld Prime and the Sisterhood on Cygnet Minora. There were three separate classes: tjeneren, the servants of households…arbejderne, worker-laborers, and kappi, those who were specifically bred for entertainment—-singers, musicians, poets, athletic games, and intimate interludes. It was of the latter whom were utilized, also, as bond-mates and breeders.

All Cygnian females were tutored in the tradition, from the age of awareness up to the time of readiness…murrosikä…puberty for Humans. As the daughter of a household head, who was also a high ranking member of the Sisterhood, Mylla was allowed to actually witness the procedure. An affair which was at least given a surface façade of being civilized…The dress affair, known as a hátíð af tengja, Festival of Melding, where slightly-less-than-totally-inferior males were allowed to mix and socialize with superior females; the young maiden subsequently finds one that strikes her fancy; the choice is confirmed…blessed by the maiden’s parent/mentor or a Sisterhood official…After which they are whisked away to Risa—-accompanied by a Council appointed vera, a chaperone—-where they spent several weeks in connubial bliss…during which time, hopefully, their chemical-psychic bond kicks in. Then they are separately returned to Homeworld where the male is placed at a colony on a separate continent, specifically structure for that purpose…well cared for and pampered for the rest of his life (or until the female decided to become a parent…which was a whole different affair entirely) and the female took her place in the Cygnian realm of politics and commerce. It was all too contrived…sterile, and Mylla decided, at a very early age, she wanted no part of it.

She had mingled with males of other species—-Orions, Bajorans, Deltans, Rigelians, and several Humans. None of whom were particularly noteworthy or impressive. But the moment she laid eyes on Charles she knew…He was different. He had a certain aura about him, the psychic core present in nearly all males. But, with Charles, it was as if it were brand new—-virtually unsoiled by time and life-habit. She knew of course that, for the most part, it probably stemmed from his cosmetic metamorphasis. She had been briefed on his situation…had read his file. But the man she eventually met in C-Point was a far cry from the one depicted in the dossier compiled by, among others, her mother.

Fayla…Mylla couldn’t help but smile at the thoughts the name and image brought to mind. Mylla's initial assignment had been to assist in Charles' orientation in the Gamma Quadrant operation, as part of the larger assignment as the Sisterhood’s liaison to Maec Khev. And from all she had read…and observed, there was little doubt in Mylla’s mind that Charles was being groomed to become Fayla’s…concubine. Mylla, of course, had already made up her mind, and started the ball rolling to hijack the operation as her own and decided to make Charles part of the package. But somehow things managed to take on a direction and a life of their own. She fell in love…Bonded with the man called Charles Champe Stearns. A man she knew only as Charles Champe Stearns.

Shaun Ryan Acker…she knew nothing of, in the physical sense. And, for all she had read and heard about him, doubted she would have given him a second look…Not so much because of his looks, but his inner man, his spirit…his andi. Something she’d felt more of than she cared to in the past few days…More since the capture, and the torture of Hary Finn. Af den Gudinde Selve…By the Goddess’ Name! As if Finn’s howls and shrieks of pain were not chilling enough, those things which blossomed within Charles because of them were ten times worse. What was the term the young Human child she’d met in the Outpost’s Salyilden Plaza used….? Ick! Yes…Ick, indeed. There were moments when she could actually feel it shiver…laugh…and approach levels close to sexual climax. That was not the Charles she had come to know and love. No…that was a monster…a Thing. That… . .was Shaun Ryan Acker.

° ° °

Fayla had stood there, at the foot of their bed, for more than 3 minutes while she watched and scanned their surface thoughts. Completely undetected… . .Until she made her presence known by switching off the vid-monitor, that is.

Mylla had pretty much taken the interruption, and the surprise in stride. But Charles’ reaction (the look on his face alone) had been priceless. Oh Humans…and their ridiculous modesty concerning nudity. He’d almost literally tried to burrow into the mattress. And, when that failed, cringed, red-faced, behind Mylla.

“You could have given us prior warning, Mother,” Mylla said, stretching across to pull the covers within reach of Charles.

“I called. I wanted to talk to you…not Jessyn,” Fayla replied. “I will be outside, waiting for you…Both of you. ”

Featuring NPC's Charles Champe Stearns (AKA Shaun Ryan Acker), Mylla Szado and Fayla Q'azad Szado
Originally Posted 7-24-2008 by Toryn Kaz

This post occurs several hours after the discussion in Mylla Szado's quarters.

Brown Sector

"This false sky is… disturbing," Rak'h proclaimed as the quartet made their (relatively) unobtrusive way towards the source of the signal Tenanji had first traced from the Hawking.

Zal Govan, who walked behind the Klingon, the better to observe the tricorder he held carefully out of view, only grunted, "Turn left at the next intersection." Behind him, B'Naath carefully scanned the streets for signs of trouble, or even Finn… though of the four, only Zal had ever met the man.

"I feel as if I'm being put on display," B'Naath said, trying to avoid eye contact with the passers by. "It's… Unnerrrving."

"Bah…" Koll grunted, clapping the Caitian on the back. "We will protect you," he jested.

"It's not as though I feel I need protecting," the feline man said smoothly. His graceful movements were occasionally interrupted as he lifted his nose to the sky and sniffed. "It's just sufficiently clear that I don't fully fit in down here."

"This is it," Govan, said quietly, slowing up before a building which looked rather like every other building in the area. The races which made their homes on the brown level must keep their personalities inside their residences… not unlike Cardassia, he thought. "Fifth floor… I won't be able to determine which room until we are closer."

"What are we waiting for?" Rak'h began to approach the lobby entrance with vigor.

"Indeed… This is a good day to die," Koll agreed, following his brother.

"I've always hated that phrase," B'Naath lamented stepping in behind the Klingons. "It's a better day to live. Why hope for the worrst possible outcome?" The Caitian slipped his hand into his loose jacket and got a hand on his phaser.

"I've always favored, 'it's a good day for the other fellow to die,'" Zal commented, taking one quick look around the street before following. The lobby was deserted but there was… something… the ghost of a scent… he looked to B'Naath, who nodded, once.

Blood, then. But, "Human?" he asked, gesturing towards the emergency stairs… not wanting to chance walking into a reception committee.

The Klingon brothers took point again, clearly ready for a confrontation. The emergency stair well was dark, but for the faint glow of red lighting beneath each flight. The shadows such lighting created appeared ominous. But it was not so far from the emergency lighting aboard a starship that it caused any member of the team to take pause. After ascending five flights, Koll rushed at the door leading back to the buildings interior.

"Wait," hissed B'Naath, pressing a clawed hand against the door to keep it shut. He sniffed at the air and his ears twitched nervously. "Someone's on the other side."

"Of course someone is on the other side," barked Koll quietly. "That is why we are here!"

Govan almost laughed… but his readings weren't as amusing as the exuberant Klingon brothers… "Why we are here seems not to be here," he commented, "No Human life signs." The pause which followed indicated what everyone was thinking: no Human life signs didn't necessarily mean no Human bodies.

"We should investigate," B'Naath said, stating what he knew must be stated.

"Then draw your weapons," Koll roared, both for the benefit of his companions and the unwitting beings on the other side of the door. There was no honor in combating an unarmed opponent, unless of course you yourself were unarmed. With a bloodrage beginning to burn in his veins he kicked open the door and began haphazardly firing his phaser. The protests of both Govan and B'Naath were rendered immediately moot and they followed into the fray.

In the narrow hallway, Rak'h had a Nausicaan well in hand… in both hands actually, having forgotten to draw his phaser. Zal had his own weapon out and slipped past the wrestling match… he didn't want to deny the Klingon his fun… and caught a motion from an open door to his right. He fired, causing whomever to misfire as he pulled back. In a way, the aggressive action was a relief. It would have been hard to explain bursting in on an innocent family's residence but, again, there was the smell of blood… and worse… tainting the air.

Koll had continued his charge firing as he went, first down the hall then cutting left into another room. B'Naath followed, thinking a more delicate touch may be in order at some point during the onslaught. They reached a dead end in what appeared to be some type of monitoring area. Before they could take much inventory, however, B'Naath felt hands grasping at his back. The feline deftly dropped and rolled to the floor, pulling a Ferengi around with him. Koll picked up the small man by the scruff of the neck and tossed him against the far wall. The high pitched whine of disruptor fire assaulted the Caitian's ears and he sprang to his feet as a Dopteran entered the room, bearing the guilty disrupter. At the sight of B'Naath the Dopteran's eyes went wide and his mouth formed a terrified but silent scream. B'Naath smiled. This wasn't the first time he'd seen such a reaction to his race and he knew how to milk it. Drawing his lip back over his teeth, he snarled and let a low grumbling growl play about the room. He lifted up a hand in front of him and let his claws spring from their sheath. Then he fired the phaser in his other hand and stunned the man to the floor.

"Bah…" grunted Koll, as he tossed the Ferengi around once more. "Theatrics…"

Meanwhile, as Rak'h continued to exchange blows with his chosen adversary, Govan was closing in on the defended room. He was quite silent in his approach… a skill learned early and hard… and had just reached the open portal when the snubbed end of a weapon began to peek out of the unseen room. Govan wasted no time. He grabbed the protruding hand with his left and hauled the defender out, towards his own swinging elbow. The crack across the strange being's face was distantly satisfying. The man… a hybrid of some sort, spat blood but still struggled so the Cardassian slammed the weapon-bearing hand against the wall repeatedly until his opponent was forced to release the disruptor. A quick glance into the room showed it empty of activity. A Deltan was flat out on the floor, though. "How are we doing?" he called out to the others, wrapping his hand around his prisoner's throat and keeping the phaser up and ready.

"Clear," called B'Naath from the Observation room. "But you should see this…" His tone was grave.

Zal looked at the quivering mass in his hands, "Do you hear that?" he asked, tilting his head at the shaken man, "He says I should see this… why don't we go see this together?" He took the muffled snorts of the broken-nosed individual as assent and dragged the man with him to the room from which B'Naath had called. "Think you can finish that up, sometime soon?" he asked Rak'h, who was almost playfully pounding the Nausicaan's head into the wall. "What have you got?" he began as they entered but then Govan saw what B'Naath had been talking about.

For a moment, all three Security officers stared at the recordings of Ren at work. The time stamp on the monitor indicated that the procedures being enacted had occurred early the previous morning and it wasn't until he heard a strange choking noise that Zal realized he was squeezing the larynx of the man who, in the video, had been quite… precisely… flaying Harry Finn.

It took effort, but the Caitian security guard ripped his eyes from the monitor. Amber and green cat eyes bore into the man dangling at Zal's fist. "Where is he," B'Naath hissed. He sounded dangerous and deadly. With smooth steps he closed the gap between them and got close to the other man's face. "What have you done with Harrrry Finn…" Razor sharp claws traced a line down the man's cheek.

"Grskkkk…" was all Ren could say until Govan loosened his grip. "kk… H..h..he's gone," Ren admitted, on an inhale, "I mean, not gone gone but… he escaped, not half an hour ago… he… it was… look, it wasn't personal, I was hired to do a job and I did it!"

Silent tension was ruptured by a raucous fit of laughter from Koll. "We come to save the human and he has saved himself!"

"Shhh," B'Naath hissed once again. This time it sounded precisely like an actual hiss. He turned back to Ren. "What if I don't believe you? I think I will employ some of these brilliant techniques your fascinating videos have taught me… Zal, what say we strap this man in to his own contraptions…"

"No, wait, I mean… look, look at the vid… it's there, just… see? The next screen… we were just…" just going to erase the evidence of their doings when these maniacs broke in but Ren saw no need to explain that.

As B'Naath turned to the console and called up the indicated record, Zal leaned in to the pale hybrid, "Where would he go? If he did, in fact escape… where?"

"I don't.. I… well, probably he would go after the Chancellor… I mean, Mr. Stearns, Charles Champe Stearns… I mean, I think that is.."

B'Naath and Zal exchanged a look. Drawing out his tricorder the Caitian said, "I'll make record of these vids. I have a feeling the local authorities will find them interesting…" Not to mention Starfleet Command. He opened the twittering device and began grabbing as much data as the vid tapes would provide.

"Koll," the Cardassian tossed the torturer to the Klingon as if he were ridding himself of a bag of garbage, "lock them up in the play room, if you would. Disable the system if you have to." As the now-coldly angry Klingon dragged the man away, along with the unconscious Ferengi, Zal tapped the combadge hidden beneath his jacket. =/\=Petty Officer Govan to… Commander Vail,=/\= when in doubt, call the highest ranking officer… he stepped aside to allow Koll access to the Dopteran on the floor.

=/\= Vail. Go ahead.=/\= His tone was a bit muffled, as if his too were hidden somewhere inconspicuous on his person.

=/\=We found the location where Mister Finn was… kept… however he broke custody approximately half an hour ago and would reportedly be looking for one Chancellor Stearns.=/\= Govan looked over at the recording of Finn, donning a stolen coat and taking as many weapons as his one hand could use, =/\=He was not in the best condition when he left.=/\=

=/\=Understood,=/\= Vail replied. =/\=It would seem our team is in the right place then…for the moment. Secure the area and make your way back to us. Vail out.=/\=

"I've got as much as I'm going to get," B'Naath said, closing the tricorder and stowing it back in his jacket. "We'll be able to…"

"How about, 'Today is a good day to beat the other fellow to a bloody pulp!'"

Zal and B'Naath turned to see Rak'h, bloody but happy, the unconscious Nausicaan hanging limply from his hand.

"What?" Rak'h turned to his brother as Koll rejoined them. "Did I miss something?"

JP with the NPC puppet masters Torrik and Finn pulling the strings…
Originally Posted 7-25-2008 by Torrik Nils

This post takes place at the same time as the raid on Lammas Ren’s workspace.

Red 3 Alpha
The Agora

Harry, shambling through the crowded market looked and… he was sure… smelled, like something that had crawled out from the gutter. Ignoring the unsubtle comments and the wide swath which opened before him throughout the bazaar, Finn continued on his halting way to check the entrance of his last remaining bolt hole. Unfortunately, the tells he’d placed over the door to the small rental had been disturbed so, without pausing, he continued past Slot 66-C and instead, hit the street before ducking into the first public head he could find. It sucked because he could have used some first aid supplies and a pair of shoes that fit but it was too risky to enter the room, now that it had been burned.

It never once occurred to Harry to reach out to Daka or Slater, his unofficial official contacts. They’d only try to stop him and stopping was… well… stopping was not an option.

Once he was locked into a stall, Harry proceeded to make use of the knife he’d procured from the Ferengi guard, cutting strips of fabric from the lining of the coat he wore over his own, bloodied, clothes. It was no easy task, as his right hand was useless but he managed. Once he had the material, he used it to wrap his wrecked appendage into immobility. The pain was… impressive… though it was less than a splinter under the nail in comparison to what Ren had put him through for… however long it had been.

Come to think of it… Harry lifted the hand again, focused on his forefinger and, in a few agonizing seconds, had the small sliver of metal out from where it had been embedded. It took a few more moments of leaning his head against the cool door of the stall to quell the nausea accompanying that procedure.

After his hand was seen to, Finn used a few more strips to create a holster for the knife, itself, securing it to his right forearm, beneath the loose sleeve of the coat. He tested the draw a few times to make certain the blade was secure but would still come easily to hand when needed. Then it was a quick check of the charge on the phaser and he was on the streets, once more.

All he had to do, now, was find Reichenbach Falls*.

*Reichenbach Falls is the location where Sherlock Holmes reportedly died, locked in mortal combat with his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

Originally Posted 7-25-2008 by Harry Finn

This post is a contuation from Post #1

Yellow 10 Alpha
Mylla’s Suite
~ 11:00:00 A.M. (Federataion Standard Time) ~

Fayla chuckled to herself while mentally ticking off the seconds. “5…4…3…2…1”… .And in the time it took for her to exit the bedroom and get to within reach of the suite’s spacious kitchenette….

“…zero ”….the suite’s main entrance cleaved to a deluge of armed guards.

Fayla greeted their arrival with toothy smile and a wave of fluttering fingers, undaunted by their menacing expressions and drawn weapons; her smile shifting to a seductive smirk as she seated herself on the nearest breakfast nook stool and crossed one curvaceous, tanned leg over the other. A move which (mentally if not outwardly evident) met with unanimous approval.

° ° °

Despite the torrent of mental babble present within the suite—-the jumble of dread, confusion, and hormonal chaos, among the small contingent of ‘soldiers’ in the sitting room; and the storm of darkness brewing in the mind…minds of Charles, who dressed himself in pajamas and robe across the bedroom—-Mylla could easily feel the vermicular advance of her mother’s potent telepathic tendrils, worming their way toward the center of her consciousness. It took scarcely a second to block out the others.

Crossroads, my daughter. It is time, Fayla’s mind-talk was as a tingling whisper, a gust of moist wind in the aftermath of a Summer shower.

Is there no other way? Alternate choice, Mother?

There are always choices, dear Mylla. Always.

° ° °

At any other time it wouldn’t have bothered him. But Charles stiffened against the burn of priggish, invidious indignation in his guts…watching, a few steps behind, as Mylla preceded him into the suite’s main room wearing only the platinum ankle- and waist chains he bought her as gifts recently. It took an undeniably painful effort to hold himself back. .silent, to remind himself of the Cygnian’s paganesque lack of concern for the display of their bodies. There was nothing he could do about it, as far as Mylla was concerned. But for the others… … .They all caught the gleam of displeasure in Stearns’ eyes as he approached and instantly began admiring the plants in a nearby corner…the ceiling…their feet… .anything, and anywhere except the woman at the Chancellor’s forefront.

“Boss…” Arrion Dega, the Human from Penthara V…a former soldier for the colony’s French Ruisseau Cartel, now the Number Two man in the Organization’s Internal Security…stepped forward, directing his words, initially, at Mylla, “Ma’am…Mistress…” His eyes flicked in the nude Cygnian’s general vicinity and just as swiftly…fearfully returned to Charles, “…Chancellor…Sorry. I…we don’t even remember seeing her. We—-”

“I understand, Mr. Dega,” Mylla said, who understood all too well. “You did nothing wrong…Do not worry. Return to your posts…”

“And try not to let anyone else sneak by you,” Charles tossed out, just before they passed out of hearing range.

Unnecessary. Uncalled for…The look Mylla shot him was a clear and unmistakable confirmation, even if, by some slim chance, he hadn’t realized it. She would’ve told him so, he knew, had it not been for the presence of (Queen Bitch of the Alpha Quadrant ) her mother.

And there was also THAT.

He should had gotten used to Fayla’s too frequent, unannounced visits by now. He had no illusions whatsoever as to how the woman felt about him…or the relationship he shared with her daughter. And on any other occasion he would have taken it in stride…bit the bullet…shined her on. But this time… .Today?…

Today…she was a pebble in his shoe…that nagging, stinging phantom itch that not only refused to stop, no matter how long or hard you scratched, but popped up somewhere else a moment later…the proverbial bowl of soup with a dead fly smack-dab in the center of it…the pain-in-the-ass he’d dealt with at least a dozen times and should have been numb to. Should’ve… … .but wasn’t.

WHY? Why not now?

° ° °

“Let’s not drag this out any longer than is necessary. There is not a lot of time…and I have business matters to attend to,” Fayla waved an impatient hand toward the room’s large couch, “Sit… … . .And that was not a request.”

The look…and not just their eyes, but the explosion of emotion which passed between the young Cygnian and her Human paramour…which literally erupted, volcanic, from their very pores, as Mylla turned and held out her hand to Charles…watching as the two strolled, hand-in-hand, to seat themselves…it prompted pangs of genuine remorse within Fayla’s breast. Mylla had truly, and completely given herself to this man. And whatever else Fayla may have felt about him, one thing she knew beyond any and all doubt…Charles did indeed love her daughter. It made what she would have to do…and what had already been done…all the more painful.

She took a moment, bracing herself within as she gazed upon their expectant faces, then slid off the stool.

“You…have put me in a very bad position, Mr. Stearns. Between the peace, the joy, the happiness I feel in the heart of my child—-whom I care for even more than she knows—-and the well-being and security of the institution which sustains me. Not a good place to be.”

“And how have I done that?” Charles’ query bordered on both sarcasm and arrogant condescension.

“Think back, Charles…To the conversation you and I had some months ago, concerning your vengeful machinations in regards to the man now being tortured in Brown Sector. Correct me if I am in error, but I believe you assured me that your desire for revenge was superseded by your desire to assist Mylla in the success of this undertaking—-the Organization…Am I wrong, Charles?”

“In Charles’ defense,” Mylla spoke up, “he has been instrumental in the successful birth and launching of our venture. He has worked hard…relentlessly, single-mindedly, and physically, I should add. He has not left Kendrassa Prime since his arrival and therefore has done nothing to aggravate…or escalate the old conflict between himself and Harry Finn.”

“There I must disagree, Daughter,” Fayla contradicted, pausing for a deep, thought-collecting breath. “But before I explain why…Please do not misunderstand. What you…the two of you have done here is nothing short of phenomenal. You have accomplished what none of the cartels in this galaxy…what neither the Sisterhood nor any of your own siblings could, given the same plans and opportunity. You are indeed your mother’s daughter and I could not be more proud of you.

“Be that as it may, errors in judgement…critical errors have been made…Two, to be precise. One, most prominently, involving Harry Finn and you, Charles.”

“Brown Sector. The man now being tortured in Brown Sector, you said,” Stearns looked into her and knew. “Only a handful of people knew where he was being kept…You’ve been there.”

Fayla’s smile alone was ultimately telling. “We had a nice, long chat…Very informative. Much more than he realized, in fact… And my daughter is right…to a point. You have not been away from Kendrassa Prime…Not physically. But then, you did not need to be. Something else you and I touched upon…and just barely…during our previous talk. And I have since had more time to look into it more closely…from a number of sources.

“The incident of some weeks past…Several deaths…murders aboard the Federation star vessel Hawking. All perpretrated in your name by one who fell prey to some type of personality altering technology. They called him Janus…Her, actually. A female, Klingon-Human hybrid… .That is what brought Finn here. Well…that and the fact that your identity has been known to the law enforcement agency in this facility since your arrival. Finn was more than likely contacted and informed of your presence… .His presence here, furthermore, has made this Outpost the focus of…unwanted attention by Starfleet Intelligence. A most unsatisfactory state of affairs, to say the least…I have been forced to take steps to rectify the situation.”

Stearns snorted. “Steps! You have been forced… .Who the f**k do you think you—-”

Charles! Mylla's warning was an explosion in his head which actually caused him to recoil slightly. Please…Don’t. Believe me, she would not hesitate to hurt you for the slightest disrespect.

“Because of Finn?” Stearns continued, fighting to rein in his ire. “He’s captured…and going nowhere. And once I’m done with him, no one will ever find the body…They’ll never be able to prove we had anything to do with his disappearance.”

“You are already done with him!” Fayla fired back. “You should have killed him when you had the chance…To be even more precise, you should let sleeping dogs lie…left him alone… .”

Fayla again took a deep breath and reclaimed her stool. “There is a way you can address this situation, Charles…Not that you truly have much choice to begin with it. But you can at least meet things on your own terms. And, in doing so, gain a modicum of my respect…as well as my blessing concerning your relationship with Mylla. And, if successful… .the two of you will also have the full and unwavering support of the Sisterhood Council…I will see to that.”

“And if I refuse to go for your way… .?”

Fayla shrugged. “I am sure you would rather not know the particulars. But suffice to say, you will truly know the meaning of the phrase ‘a living hell’…Your choice, Charles.”

Featuring NPC's Charles Champe Stearns (AKA Shaun Ryan Acker), Mylla Szado and Fayla Q'azad Szado
Originally Posted 7-27-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Blue Sector
Outside the Offices of the Chancellor of Off-world and Political Affairs

The good thing about looking (and smelling) like a bum was that people generally worked to not see you. It was a kind of in-your-face anonymity which Finn had discovered by accident, back in the day when he was perfecting the art of being tossed out of some of the lower-class establishments on Market Street. He made good use of it, now, lurking in the mists of the mongo decorative fountain in the courtyard of Stearn’s workplace. Good thing the weasel had made a point of being in the public eye… the Chancellor's work address was listed.

And very popular. Under the cover of scouring the fountain for stray coins (people never tired of trying to buy wishes) while the just-off-work suits filtered past, Harry noted a familiar face exiting the building. Tenanji. And his old 2IC wasn’t alone. He joined another man, unfamiliar to Finn and the two fell into a deceptively passive conference, at the conclusion of which the stranger brushed a casual hand over his jacket and tilted his head as he spoke.


The two began to move, again, this time towards the tube station, which meant they were going to walk right past the fountain where Harry was currently skulking. Going with the character, he huddled down on the pavement, forming himself into a faceless lump of fabric, his left hand on the phaser in his pocket.

”… Nechayev’s issued a ‘kill or cure’ on you.” Slater’s warning shot across his memory.

Not that Usher wasn’t a swell guy (despite the stick up his ass) but he was regulations through and through and the other man was an unknown quantity. By the time they approached the fountain, he’d managed a faithful recreation of his days in the gutter outside Jose’s Cantina and neither man gave him a second glance.

“Where to, now,” Tenanji was asking as the pair strode past.

“His home would be the obvious choice,” the calm, cultured response.

They’re looking for Stearns…

“But is the obvious choice the correct one?” Tenanji, again.

“You read my mind… hold up a moment,” there was a pause but Harry didn’t move… until a handful of credits landed in his lap.

“Graz,” Finn managed to slur out, not looking up but using his maimed hand to shuffle the loot into his pocket.

“You shouldn’t encourage them,” Tenanji offered primly, as his companion rejoined him.

You would think that.

“Now, now, Mister Tenanji, one never knows when a kindness will be repaid, tenfold.”

Which seemed a bit Pollyannaish even to Harry but the two were soon gone and he rose, clear to continue on his way. According to Usher, Stearns wasn’t at the office and neither he nor the other guy seemed to believe he was at home.

So what was left? If Stearns were in C-Point, Harry was well and truly screwed.

“Mister Finn?”

Or, he was well and truly screwed, now.

Turning slowly, the pocketed phaser active and prepped to fire, Harry faced what had to be one of Stearns’ soldiers. One of the elite, this time… this guy probably never set foot in The Needle… or if he did, he burned his shoes after. The man had no weapons out, his backup was over twenty meters distant, both of them watching but also not making any obviously threatening moves. “Who’s asking?”

“Arrion Dega,” the guy actually gave a hitch of a bow. “I am in service to Amabassador Szado, as well as Chancellor Stearns,” he said, the Gallic accent gliding across his vowels. “The Chancellor thought you might seek him at his place of business and so sent me to deliver a message.”

Harry almost smiled. “Just a message?”

Dega almost smiled back. “Indeed. He wished me to inform you that he will be waiting for you in the Aqueous Hall at Ankh, if you would care to join him.”

Ankh being the favored social hangout for the high and mighty of the underworld… who all probably thought that the club’s name (which meant ‘Life’ in the Terran and ‘War’ in the Vulcan) was the soul of cleverness. “Him and what army?”

“Alone,” Dega said, his own surprise at that fact coloring the response. “In your own time, Mister Finn.”

And with that, the courteous muscle gave another hint of a bow and walked away, gathering up his posse as he went and leaving Harry alone by the fountain.

Arrion Dega, reaching the building's entrance, turned back to scan the street and noticed with satisfaction that Finn was no longer in view.

Featuring a flyby of NPC's Callan Vail and Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 7-27-2008 by Harry Finn

:: Blue Sector ::
Outside the Offices of the Chancellor of Off-world and Political Affairs

Tenanji emerged from the office building and stepped in close to Vail, who’d been keeping a mental inventory of the passers by outside.

“It seems Stearns hasn’t come into work today,” Tenanji commented casually. “While waiting to make an appointment with the Vice Secretary of Transportation I overheard some administrative staff discussing his absence.”

“How went the meeting with the Vice Secretary,” Vail said smiling. “That well,” he continued in response to Tenanji’s berating look. Vail chuckled softly to himself and activated his combadge, concealed under his jacket. “Vail to Govan… Belay my previous instructions.” Callan glanced about the square as he spoke. “It would seem there is no need…” The Intel officer paused slightly, his eyes focusing on some far off detail for an instant before the scanning resumed. “Remain where you are. We’ll contact you shortly with further instructions.”

=/\= Understood, Lt. Commander, =/\= came Zal’s muffled response.

“Come along, Usher,” Vail stated casually, gesturing towards the tube station and beginning their trek anew. “You don’t mind if I call you Usher, do you?”

“That will be fine,” answered Tenanji, though his tone said otherwise. “Where to, now,” the security officer inquired, mildly perplexed at the elder man’s lead.

“His home would be the obvious choice,” Vail answered, cutting his eyes sharply.

“But is the obvious choice the correct one?” Lieutenant Tenanji asked, clearly unconvinced.

“You read my mind… hold up a moment.” Vail grabbed a handful of credits from his right jacket pocket and side stepped from their path. With a slight bend at the waist, but without too much delay, he dumped the credits into the lap of a wayward (and foul smelling) fellow laid out on the pavement.

“Graz,” the bum said, scooping up the prize.

“You shouldn’t encourage them,” Tenanji offered, as Vail retook his place next to the security officer.

“Now, now, Mister Tenanji, one never knows when a kindness will be repaid, tenfold.” They moved along for a while in silence.

As they paused at the station, Tenanji attempted to lay a more logical course. “Prudence requires we reevaluate our steps, Commander Vail. It would still seem to me that Finn will still be looking for Stearns here at his office. Though Stearns isn’t here, Finn is not aware…”

“He’s aware now, actually,” Vail said, suddenly becoming mildly more serious. He flipped open a tricorder under his jacket. “You were kind enough to let him know…” The tricorder emitted a few soft warbles as Vail entered new instructions.

“I’m sorry…” Tenanji looked back over his shoulder and pieces fell together. “The credits… And the tramp…” Realization dawned on him. His expression barely shifted, but the El Aurian listener caught it. “We could have apprehended him without incident. This could have been over.”

“I’ve already expressed to you my reasons for more than just apprehension. And most assuredly…if we had nabbed Mister Finn, this would not have been over. It would have only just begun. A free Harry Finn with a handful of credits, marked though they may be, is our first and best hope for all of this getting ‘over.’ And now we have a better chance of brining him back alive. He’s moving…”

“I’m not sure I approve of your methods,” Tenanji said seriously.

“I don’t require your approval,” Vail said, allowing a sharper edge to slice through the sentiment. He paused momentarily, putting his emotions in check. “Believe me Mister Tenanji… I have a line. And that line will not be crossed by myself or anyone I associate with. The fact is, certain individuals in the Fleet have crossed that line when it comes to Mister Finn and his current situation. I’m trying put things back into balance.”

“Then I would suggest we save this debate for another time… Mister Finn is an incredibly resourceful man. And if he’s moving, we will be hard pressed to keep up…”

Featuring a cameo by Harry Finn and the NPCs: Callan Vail and Usher Tenanji
**Originally Posted 7-27-2008 by Torrik Nils

Red 22 Beta
Outside Ankh

Harry, slumped against a convenient recycler, took another sip of the coffee Tenanji’s unnamed partner had unknowingly provided, by way of a street vendor who’s cart read ‘CMOT Dibbler’ and who produced possibly the most acidic blend he’d ever had the misfortune to taste. Still, it was caffeine and that counted for something. It almost killed the urge to use the credits on a bottle from one of the many low-rent establishments the Red Sector offered…


Taking another agonizingly bitter swallow, Harry considered the club but the building was keeping its own council. Stearns’ man, Dega, had indicated that his boss was inside the club, alone (unlikely) and waiting for Finn (possibly with a rocket launcher).

Harry had been in the place, once… on a crowded evening… in the main bar/lounge. He knew there were several dining rooms off the central atrium of the lounge and, running off of those dining rooms in spoke-like fashion, were the private rooms… the places used for banquets and meetings. One of these would be the Aqueous Room where Harry was supposed to present himself.

Of course there would be sensors monitoring every portion of the place so really, sneaking in wasn’t going to happen.

On the other hand…

Maybe it wasn’t about the sneaking.

After all, everyone knew in the restaurant biz… it was all about the presentation.

Tossing the empty cup into the recycler, Finn made his halting, derelict way to the club’s entrance.

He even gave the guard on the door a tip.

Originally Posted 7-27-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22 Beta

The first thing that caught his eye, before even the presence of the man he’d come so far, and through so much, to find, was the waterfall gracing the back of the lapis-paneled room. From some unseen portal it tumbled down and down into a sunken bed of crystals and these rose up out of the mist like slender spears which, along with the water itself refracted the minimal light of the room and in that spattered illumination Shaun Ryan Acker’s eyes glittered cold in their new-made flesh.

Harry limped haltingly into the place, bereft of his weapons… the guards were good… and wondered idly if Acker felt any sense of literary irony, or if the choice of room were random… as random as a file dropped on Lt. Harry Finn’s desk, five years ago.

“Hello, Harry.” The old greeting, in the new voice but with the same, snide silkiness that it had possessed, so long ago but with an added edge, Harry thought.

“Shaun.” Finn glanced over his shoulder, wincing as he did so, to see his escort/guard give a short bow (bow!) to the man who would be king before backing out and closing the double doors as he retreated. “Damn, Acker,” he returned his gaze to his ‘host’, “who’d have thought a shmo like you would end up with lackeys?” He limped a little closer to the waiting man… the clearly very tense waiting man, noting the one small table in front of him, devoid of chairs and always, always aware of the water, tumbling endlessly into a bed of crystal nails. “I’ve always wanted lackeys,” Harry continued into the telling silence, “but then you know, you have to feed them, and take them for walks… and then of course, there’s the smell.”

“Haven’t lost your sense of humor at least,” Stearns gave a quick, barely genuine smile. “Amazing in itself. After all you’ve been through…there’s damn little to joke about…”

“Oh and before I forget,” he quickly added. “How’s Dr. Shaeffer? Not too damaged, I hope. Gavin did have a tendency to take things a bit further than orders called for.”

“She’ll recover, which is more than we can say for the rest of the women he cut and burned and raped to death.” Harry moved closer, eyes everywhere, looking for the hitch. Where was the hitter? No way was Shaun ballsy enough to stay alone in a room with Harry… armed or not… so… where was the gun? "Okay, I give up," he turned back to Shaun v.2, "why?"

“Why what, Harry?” Stearns eased an inch or so closer to the table. “Why Dr. Shaeffer?…Why didn’t he carve her up and have fun like the rest of them? Although, judging from the outcome, I have no doubt he fully intended to…before you canceled his ticket… .You’ll have to specify. Ther are so many things…whys that need ansering, between you and I, Harry… .For example…Alden Pierce Ryan…My grandfather. There’s a why for you, Harry… .Why? Your beef was with me…Why murder him? ”

”One: I didn’t have a ‘beef’ with you… you were nothing to me but a job… some trash that needed collecting and; two: I didn’t murder him you whiny sack of shit,” Finn almost stumbled as he took another step towards his goal, “Oh, yeah, I took him out but, given that he’d already shot my partner… as in with a bullet, big hole in the gut bleeding shot… then took Carson hostage with the same Glock, I’m not really all that broken up about his heart not being up to the strain of a full stun. Call me callous…” he saw some more of old Shaun crawling out of the cultured veneer of Charles Stearns and kept on pushing, “Is that how you justify Vanona? Gramps got dead while he was trying to murder my team so you get to ruin an innocent woman? Break her mind, use her body then set her loose to murder five people, maybe even take out an entire starship? Was that really all because of your dead grandfather?”

Ohohoh, here it comes. Harry looked away, as if oblivious to the snarling beast rising in his opponent’s eyes.

“But that’s all water under the bridge, isn't it, Shaun… just that many more bodies marking your passage. So let me ask again, why? Why are we… you and I… here… now… alone. You see, I’m curious because this sort of one on one, it goes against your profile which, I'm sorry to say, is pretty much that of a cow…”

Up till now, Stearns’ hands had been clasped at his groin. Now they slid away to hangs at his side as he moved again…a much larger, bolder step…closer to the table; his eyes darting left and right as he moved.

Closer…Juuuust a tad bit closer, Harry. Fayla had manipulated…coerced him into a face-off with Harry.. .made it a prerequisite for his continued employed in the “operation”, as well as peace of mind concerning his relationship with Mylla. OK…So be it. He was facing Harry Finn… .But she didn’t specify how he was supposed to do it.

Two of his best soldiers, reputedly ace marksmen with several types of weaponry (in this case Nausicaan plasma bolt hunting crossbows), crouched in the upper tier catwalks, awaiting his signal. Just a few more meters…a few more minutes.

“Believe me, I can think of a dozen places I’d rather be right now,” One in particular, the thought followed images of Mylla. “Unfortunately, you have created a situation…a problem that has to be dealt with personally. And Viola!… .Here I am.”

Post with Harry Finn, featuring Shaun Ryan Acker (written by Toryn Kaz)
Originally Posted 7-28-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Red Sector
Outside Ankh

“This can’t be coffee,” Tenanji said under his breath. He gazed down into the dark, thick liquid and sniffed it once more.

“Not all bean percolated beverages are as mild as the variety found on Earth, Usher,” Callan said, gulping the steaming liquid. “Now drink it. The caffeine will give us an edge, and we need every edge we can get. I have a feeling things are about to unravel…” It was true. The mysterious intuition of the El Aurian people was kicking in. Something felt ‘not right.’ The elder man glanced back at Tenanji, still sniffing at the coffee. “I can make it an order if I have to, Usher.”

Cold hard eyes rose from the dark liquid. His gaze locked in on his superior officer as he drained the cup on one long slow draught. “Edge…achieved.”

“Was that a joke?” Callan smiled as he checked his tricorder once more. The tracers had lead them to this vendor, conveniently placed for a quick chemical induced rush. The next wasn’t far…just across the street.

“Not at all,” Usher replied tossing his empty cup to the side.

“There…that restaurant. That’s where the tracers lead. The signal is still a bit garbled. I’m getting a reading at the door and something from the interior. Can’t get a good scan until we’re inside, most likely.” Callan lead out, with Tenanji trailing just behind him. They casually made their way to the restaurant’s entrance.

“Do we need a reservation?” The El Aurian was instantly refined and proper. He presented himself to the doorman as if he were some dignified diplomat, or obscenely wealthy patron.

“Only for a private room. I’m sure they can seat you soon enough in the main lounge.” The doorman seemed unremarkable.

“Thank you, sir,” Callan said smiling as he flipped a couple credits into the man’s hand.

Tenanji noticed the exchange and followed Vail into the foyer. “More marked credits,” he asked under his breath.

“Left pocket,” Vail commented looking about the room and patting his jacket at his left hip. “Just your run of the mill currency.” Callan waved his tricorder about inconspicuously. “The remaining tracers branch off this direction. It appears we are very near our goal…”

Usher Tenanji thought that was an exceptionally bright way of summing up their situation.

Continuing Featurette with NPCs: Callan Vail and Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 7-28-2008 by Torrik Nils

Red 22 Beta

“You’ve never dealt with a situation personally in your entire slimy existence,” it was hard not to follow the rodent’s flickering gaze up into the dim reaches of the room; looking would only warn Acker… and whomever he had lurking on high… that Finn was on to the game.

And the only cover was the table, which frankly didn’t look all that sturdy, and… he let out a little sigh… the pool. “Besides which, let’s face facts: it was you who created a situation. You created it when you took Vanona. When you did that, you as good as sent me an invitation.”

Harry shuffled closer to Acker… not too close… just near enough to see the eager gleam in the other man’s eyes. “You invited me and I came and I got to you.” He grinned then, a wolf’s grin, “I got to you when I danced by your table and when I set Sims and Gavin at each other’s throats… I got to you by busting up one of your precious Mist deals… Hell, I got to you just by breathing the air on this planet.” He shifted, angling slightly away from Acker, “And then, when you tried to get to me by taking Kerrin, by trying to make her another Sara, I got to you by snapping Gavin’s neck like a twig.” He had come within four or so meters of the pool… the pool which was scattered with sharp and spiny-looking crystals… and three of the table which, he noted, was probably the best-lit area of the room.

Stearns laughed. Forced though it was, it had the affect of catching Harry a bit unprepared…As in, it was not quite the reaction he’d been aiming for.

“And vice-versa it seems, Harry old friend. I have to admit…I was none too thrilled to learn that that half-Klingon bitch botched the job. But from what I’ve been told recently…she did a far better job than I sent her out to do…Seems I got to you, too, Harry. She hurt you…Pissed you off enough to resign from Starfleet…Made you defy your precious Starfleet protocols to come after me…which most likely put you on ‘bad boy’ lists of a few big boys back at Starfleet Command…You went rogue, Harry. Meaning…if by chance you live to walk out of here, you still have to deal with them. A win-win situation for me.”

Hearing the woman Acker had ruined degraded further by the freak sent twin spikes of fury and grief through Harry and he didn’t bother to hide the emotional hit, didn’t hide the fact that he had to turn away from the gloating madness that was the true Shaun. Instead he looked at the pool, which was surprisingly deep, and the forest of crystals, and the waterfall.

And behind the waterfall…

As the mwahaha madness petered out, Harry glanced back over his shoulder at the king of pain. All he had to do was take two steps… two and he could kick that table right into the monster’s most favorite piece of anatomy… “Yeah, well,” he began, starting to move in that direction, “you know what they say…” but then Harry spun and, running with a quickness that belied his earlier infirmity, jumped into the pool, his side grazing one of the larger stalagmites as he shrugged out of the confining coat. Allowing himself to sink down into the clear and (oh so very) cold water, the reflective nature of the crystals gave birth to a dozen Harry’s, which sprang to liquid life throughout the room’s focal decorative element. Hoping the cover would work, the rapidly chilling Finn started to swim through the maze of himself’s towards the rear of the waterfall, where he’d spotted the outlines of a maintenance ladder which rose up into the darkness.

If he was lucky, he’d make it before hypothermia set in.

From above, one of the sniper’s, who was younger and perhaps more cocky, thought he saw the real Harry and fired.

Plasma met crystal and, above the water, things began to get darned interesting.

Featuring: NPC Charles Champe Stearns (AKA Shaun Ryan Acker) as written by Toryn Kaz
Originally Posted 7-28-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22 Beta

Main Lounge

The restaurant was filled with customers and there were no indications of anything at all amiss as guests enjoyed their drinks, diners were seated and guests oohed and ahh'd the latest culinary displays. Nothing looked or sounded amiss… unless one happened to be studying a tricorder, anyway.

"Weapons fire!" Vail's step quickened and Tenanji got his hand on his weapon but kept it concealed. With eyes trained on his tricorder, yet moving forward rapidly, Vail lead the way into heart of the restaurant and then out into one of the peripheral rooms. They passed startled patrons, many of whom made great effort to get out of the way before they arrived in a smaller, empty anteroom set off from the main dining areas.

"Stop," called an angry voice from ahead. "This is a private party." A burly mountain of a man stood barring their way. He held some kind of energy rifle low at his hip.

Vail slowed only slightly. "Usher did you grab our invitations," he chimed turning over his right shoulder, yet still floating toward the door. With a sharp snap, Callan completed the turn he began and spun his elbow high into the guard's nose. In the same motion, he grabbed the business end of the rifle and shoved it up into the large man's chest bowling him over. Continuing with the momentum and without releasing his target, Vail dropped to one knee and lurched the energy weapon from the man's hands. Dropping its butt once more into the barrel chested guard's forehead, the intelligence officer ended the brief confrontation.

"I would assume Harry Finn is on the invite list to this party?" Still steady and calm, Tenanji stepped closer to the door.

"Nice job, Vail," Callan said to himself. "You certainly are spry for an elder gent."

"Congratulations," Tenanji dryly commented.

Vail shrugged. "Whether he was invited or not, Harry Finn, or more accurately the remaining credits I gave him, are on the other side of this door."

Tenanji drew his weapon completely. Vail followed suit. Without words the two Starfleet officers pressed into the room.

Inside The Aqueous Room

It was typical Finn, Shaun thought in disgust: everyone else in the room is playing chess and then there's Harry, who it turned out had been playing charades the entire time. Not that Acker hadn't made a few illegal moves, bringing in a couple extra knights…

And that's where Harry's charades and Shaun's dirty chessboard got messy because even as as the rancid, repulsive, ridiculously tall rat threw himself into the water, one of the aforementioned knights responded by firing and when his bolt hit one of the larger crystals, the energy and the highly reflective mineral met, skipped the foreplay and went straight to the big bang which, in simpler terms, meant that the crystal exploded into countless razor-edged shards but not before it managed to reflect a pesky portion of that plasma bolt so that now the room was filled with rampaging bits of energy, cloned images of Finn and, possibly worse, slivers of white hot crystal.

They emerged into a cavernous room, complete with waterfall and a myriad of razor sharp crystals in a deep blue pool. Surprisingly, the room also appeared decorated with refracted and reflected images of Harry Finn.

Plasma fire sent both men ducking, tucking and rolling. With barely time for the sound of the plasma weapon to fade the two men were returning phaser fire up into the catwalk.

"Snipers…" Vail called. "We need to find cover."

"Find it… I'll lay suppressive." With a flick of the wrist and a quick entry into the phaser, Tenanji began firing a wide arc of energy into the upper levels. Vail wasted no time and rushed for a better place from which to plan their assault.

Of course, when you got down to it, Shaun's entire life had been one long game of charades so, by the time that wayward bolt had been on the way, Acker had almost arrived at what he knew to be Finn's destination; hell, the ladder up to the catwalk was the only place left to go and it was located the relative cover of the sheeting cascade of the waterfall. Unfortunately, Acker didn't make it before taking some hot shrapnel to the shoulder and he therefore arrived on the rear landing of the fall cursing Finn and all his heirs (not that there would be any heirs, Shaun would see to that), to the nth generation.

But it would be almost worth the pain to see Harry's face as he dragged himself out of the frigid lagoon to see Shaun, disruptor in hand, waiting.

So intent was he on his approaching prey that it was several moments before Shaun realized a new sound had joined the mix… phaser fire. Company, then, and not from his army, either. He only hesitated a second before pocketing the weapon and jumping to the aforementioned ladder, hissing at the pain in his shoulder as he did so. He'd just have to pick off Finn from on high. From the sound of things, his soldiers were dealing with with whomever had just busted up his party.

Callan Vail found relative safe harbor behind the table he'd just overturned. Though it was big enough to cover him, it was also in a well-lit area of the room. So he'd effectively pinned himself to the location. "A firefight it is then," he said calmly to himself. With a tap to his combadge he flipped his arm up and over the table and began firing his own suppressive arc of phased energy. "Tenanji, I'm covering you," he said quietly into his badge.

The catwalk was dark. The sniper fire coming from above was the only way to track movement effectively. Looking only momentarily over his shoulder to make sure Tenanji was coming in (he was) Callan resumed a massive array of fire. As plasma erupted from one point he would target and fire. When there was no inidication of a target location, he'd swing the phaser around in an arc, covering the most area with the least amount of effort.

"Gah," cried Tenanji from behind him. Without turning around he knew the sound. Usher was hit, and probably down. In a moment of brief and relative quiet he took a quick sharp glance over his shoulder. The security officer was down, but his eyes were wide and alert. That was a good sign. But he was also out in the open. In this situation, that meant death. Whether sooner or later, Callan wasn't willing to find out.

Crying out like a wounded Targ, Vail rose from his position behind the table and stutter fired his phaser in directed bursts at points he'd set to memory. With as much speed as he could draw on, the El Aurian dashed to his fallen comrade and tugged him by the uniform collar back to the table.

"Stupid…tactical…decision…" Tenanji struggled to say.

A quick scan of his partner brought about a hopeful prognosis. Plasma burns to the arm and shoulder. Intense, but not life threatening. Vail scooped up Tenanji's weapon. "Not really…now I'm twice as lethal as I was just a moment ago. That's a marked improvement!" Doublefisting the two hand phasers, he brought himself up over the table's edge and fired. A body falling from the catwalk let him know at least one of the shots found its mark.

And none too soon as, quite suddenly, the multiple images of Harry which had worked as a sort of fun-house decoy, disappeared.

Coldcoldcoldcoldcold…. Harry threw himself out of the water as fast as his shivering frame could manage. Once on the smooth floor behind the waterfall it took him three attempts to get to his feet, numbness and the slick surface of the deck making life difficult. He finally managed by grabbing the ladder, which was welded to the rear wall, and holding on for dear life. Beyond the waterfall, the sounds of battle echoed and he had a brief space to wonder who might be out there. Tenanji… could the Security officer have tracked him down? And then his mind flashed to the credits dropped by the stranger

"… one never knows when a kindness will be repaid, tenfold…"

Whatever… someone was here and keeping the marksman (men?) busy, which was enough for Harry.

It was a moment before he realized that the ladder was vibrating out of time with his own desperate shudders and, looking up, Harry saw the bottom of Acker's shoes as he made speed up to the barely visible catwalk. Harry's eyes narrowed and a burst of adrenaline warmed his limbs and, though hampered by his ruined right hand, the former JAG investigator began to ascend the ladder, continuing the hunt begun five years past, when he'd been assigned the task of uncovering the mole in Starfleet Command.

Featuring Harry Finn and the NPCs Charles Champe Stearns, Usher Tenanji, and Callan Vail
Originally Posted 7-29-2008 by Torrik Nils

Red Sector

Aqueous Room

"I hope that crashing sound was one of our adversaries colliding with…an untimely demise," groaned Tenanji, trying to sit up.

"It was precisely that," Vail answered. He caught motion from the corner of his eye. A figure was ascending… No, two figures were climbing a ladder on the back wall. From his vantage point it was impossible to make out faces, but Vail recognized the derelict outfit. "Harry Finn," he proclaimed quietly. "I need to get to that ladder."

"Give me the phaser back. My injuries are not severe enough to keep me from covering you." Though he spoke through an obvious amount of pain, he sounded deadly sincere.

"I'll put in your name for commendation…" Vail began intensely, though he still conveyed a good amount of humor. "In whatever classified file this report gets filed in." Vail handed Tenanji's phaser back to him, and then helped set him in a more appropriate position. "By my count there is one shooter on the catwalk."

Usher nodded. "Go… I am fine."

And go Vail did. Though he was not a small man, he moved with grace and deft precision. Like a sprinter off the mark, he dashed to the ladder and hand over hand made his way up. Finn and whomever he was following (Vail could guess who that might be) were near the top already. Searing orange energy sliced down the from above, parallel to the ladder. Callan squeezed himself against the railing. "When will I be too old for this," the El Aurian quipped rhetorically.

"Shit!" Harry almost slid off the ladder as he threw himself to the side. He'd come within grabbing distance of Acker's leg but it turned out that the sniper was paying attention. Of course, his attention was divided between Finn and the cavalry but the thing was, the shooter only had to get lucky once whereas Harry had to be lucky all the time.

And now the little weasel had a one leg up on the cat walk… putting on the gas, Harry hitched the rest of the way up and, wrapping his right arm around a rung snagged the nearest pant's leg and yanked, which didn't bring the Shaun down but from the bit-off curse, did do some damage before the leg in Finn's hand kicked back, violently enough to almost throw Harry from his own precarious position. Cursing in his own right, Harry caught himself and then scrambled as fast as he could to the catwalk, where Shaun had just rolled to safety.

Usher Tenanji peered over the fallen table trying to get an eye on the sniper lurking about overhead. The bright lights over his head made trying to peel away the darkness above him more difficult. A shimmering blob of plasmic energy burned through the room towards the ladder where Vail was still climbing. That was the sniper's final and fatal mistake. Drawing on his intense training and years of security experience he lined up his shot and watched the shooter's silouette drop and remain stone still.

"Usher to Vail," he said, breathing heavily. The shock of being shot was beginning to wear off and the pain was setting in with a vengeance. "I just dispatched Stearn's man in the sky. We should be clear from…"

The doors to the Aqueous room burst open and a vast array of alien dregs entered bearing arms from a number of systems. At a glance, Tenanji saw two that were illegal in the Federation. "Company," he said straining from the floor and attempting to get on the other side of the table. Three quick blasts of phaser fire erupted from his sidearm. But his injuries coupled with the strenuous task of repositioning left the shots going wide of their mark. Immediately, the incoming 'army' responded. "Add four more to the 'hostiles' list, Vail…"

As he neared the end of his climb, Vail only had one response. "Balls."

Shaun Ryan Acker was smart and, even bleeding from the left shoulder, he was strong but he'd never been one to get his hands dirty so he looked to his back-up… just in time to see the man fall, cut down by what had to be Federation phaser fire. Sneering and drawing his own weapon, he turned back to deal with Finn, up close and personal, just like Fayla wanted, but Finn was already moving. Damaged as he was, freezing and bleeding and with only one good hand, Harry was pushed forward by the same bone-deep hatred which even now overrode Acker's own ingrained survival instincts.

Harry saw the disruptor being raised and, snarling, dove forward to knock the weapon aside with his busted hand while reaching for that scrawny, despised throat with the other.

Down below, the exclusive dining area had become a war zone but here, above, a far more private battle was being waged.

Callan heaved himself up over the top of the ladder and took inventory of the room. Before him on the catwalk, Harry Finn lurched toward Stearns. And though Hawking's former Chief of Security looked primed for overload, he also looked haggard and broken. Below, Tenanji was pinned. Four slowly advancing men, Stearns' goons no doubt, were getting precariously close to Usher's poorly designed cover. The choice was obvious. Finn would be on his own for now.

Taking full advantage of the sniper position, Vail began dropping a volley of fire onto the unsuspecting lackeys. One fell to his first attack. Their vast array of weapon fire turned from below to above and Callan had to get low to the catwalk to preserve his own safety. On the ground Tenanji drew some fire as well. Two on three were decent odds in any fire fight and this one was no exception. Flashes of violent fire, green plasma, and yellow energy lit the room as the confrontation erupted into a full blown conflict.

Deaf and blind to everything but his goal, Harry threw all his weight into the attack and, locked together, the two men fell against the slender railing of the catwalk. Their struggle couldn't in any way be called epic. The one man was too inexperienced and was fighting on instinct and bile while the other had spent several days under the care of a professional torturer with no food and only whiskey and coffee to drink.

So what a witness might have seen, if anyone had been able to spare their attentions, were two watercolor impressions of humanity, pounding at one another, the meat-like thuds of flesh on flesh punctuated by the odd grunt of pain. For Harry, wearing down, it had become an exercise in doing as much damage as possible while preventing that disruptor from being aimed in his direction and it was fast becoming a case of diminishing returns. He had to get that weapon out of Acker's hand… even thinking this, he felt the too-close singe of an energy beam from below.

That can't be the cavalry…

Acker's own spate of cursing at the nearness of the blast indicated that some of the crime lord's troops had entered the fray.

So time had really just about run out. "I don't suppose," Finn managed, shoving Acker further against the narrow railing, holding tight to the smaller man's right hand, "you'd consider being under arrest?"

The response was a snorting laugh, "I don't suppose you'd consider throwing yourself off this catwalk?"

But Harry didn't have a chance to respond as Acker used that moment to smash the taller man's already-broken right hand down onto the railing and Finn, who in the end was only human, lost sight of everything for a moment as the world went black with pain. It wasn't much, but it was enough of a space for the little man to throw his own weight forward, pushing Harry to the opposite rail, disruptor at his throat. "Time to say goodbye…"

Finn, right arm wrapping around the rail that was currently biting into his back, looked down to see the self-satisfied smirk which, though on a new face, he remembered so very well, and smiled. Then, before Acker could process that smile or think to pull the trigger, Harry Finn reached out, grabbed hold of his enemy's lapel and, quite calmly, threw himself over the side of the railing, taking the shocked and furious Shaun Ryan Acker with him.

JP Featuring NPC's:Shaun Ryan Acker and (as written by Torrik Nils) Callan Vail and Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted 7-29-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22
Aqueous Room

A heavy sickness tugged at Callan's gut as he watched Charles Champe Stearns go over the rail…with Harry Finn. In truth, Harry had gone over with Stearns, but splitting hairs seemed irrelevent. His first instinct was to lunge forward to the rail, but the invading bouncers firing pot shots from below excluded that option. The intelligence officer inched forward slowly, pouring as much phaser energy over the edge as he could. Thus far the three remaining invaders (or were the bad guys the defenders in this case) were still standing. And although the situation for Tenanji had been downgraded from dire to serious, both of the officers were effectively pinned down.

Then Callan watched as the doors slammed open once more. Four more alien silouettes burst into the room, then immediately began firing…at the bad guys. It didn't take long for Vail to identify the alien's as Caitian, Cardassian, and two times Klingon. Their remaining Starfleet security team had found them, and was making short work of Stearns' defenders. Yes…they are the defenders in this scenario.

In theory, it should have been simple… grab bad guy, drag bad guy over the side and let bad guy fall while (hopefully) maintaining the admittedly slippery grip on the rail. It had been done in thousands of movies and vids and, really, Harry saw no reason for it not to work.

Except that, in this case, the bad guy simply refused to, "Let go, already!"

The only response to that was a tightening of the already iron grip on Harry's wrist, "You first!"

The words were a direct echo of those spoken by Vanona Hawthorn, lost to Acker's mental reprogramming and that was, for Harry, the last possible straw. Knowing it was stupid, that he was only hastening his own fall to a glittering death in the pool below, he started to kick at the man who clung to him like a parasite, leeaching away at anything that was decent in Harry Finn. So, with his anchored arm shaking under the strain and the arm Acker was dragging on starting to come out of its socket, Harry kicked and, as he kicked, sometimes hitting his target and sometimes, not, the words, "I.. have… had.. enough of… you," burst out of his lungs as if from very far away. On the last word, the last kick, finally, he felt Shaun's grip loosen and begin to slide down.

But Shaun wasn't done. He would never be done… even now, falling by centimeters to his own death, he brought the disruptor back into view, aimed directly at Harry's chest.

It was all over but the dying, it seemed.

Seemed being the operative term for, even as Shaun slipped away, even as he pulled the trigger, screaming in rabid defiance of fate…

"Need a lift," called Callan Vail as he locked forearms with Harry Finn and hauled him a bit too visciously over the railing and out of Shaun Acker's line of fire. Disrupter fire tore through empty space as the two men collapsed on the catwalk's deck, both breathing rather heavily. The elder held out his hand, reaching across the his own body and leaning up off the floor. "Lt. Commander Callan Vail," he said through a crooked smile. "Pleasure to finally make your aquaintance, Mister Finn."

But Harry's mind wasn't on pleasantries, just yet. He didn't have the room for them, not even gratitude at the other man's intercession. First and foremost on his mind was one thing and that… rising, he almost threw himself back over the railing he was so despearate to see… was the broken and bloody body of Shaun Ryan Acker. For many long moments Finn stood and stared, as if he couldn't believe what he saw, or worse, expected the dead man (and he was clearly dead) to rise from the crystal upon which he'd been impaled, brush himself off and begin wreaking havoc anew. In fact, that's exactly what Harry expected. He'd been chasing this demon for so long… so long…

Callan rose from the floor and stood slightly behind the wrecked shell of Harry Finn. Though his manners were clearly learned at the same seminar the Bajoran First Officer attended on the subject, Vail found it easy to forgive in light of the circumstances. After what he percieved to be an appropriate amount of silence, the El Aurian took the spot next to Harry and gazed over the precipice to the gory scene below. "There's a reason the Klingons say that revenge is a dish best served cold," he stated flatly. "Only a cold blooded heart can truly let it go…" He offered no judgment and no analysis to Finn. The man would have to find his own peace.

"Yeah, well," Harry literally dragged his eyes away from Acker's remains, locking them onto the man who'd saved his life, "I don't know about you, but I'm freezing." I won't look again, I won't look again, Acker is dead, I don't have to… he looked again. Still dead. "Commander Vail, huh?" he looked back at the bemused face before him. He didn't act like someone out to lock Harry up, "So… um… now what?"

"Now, we get the hell off of this rock… Now is easy. Next may take a bit of talking though…" Callan whistled through his fingers getting the attention of the rest of the 'away team.' He waved, letting them know all was well…enough. With few words exchanged and a fair bit of assistance, Vail an Harry made their way from the catwalk back to the main level of the room.

As Vail brought Finn down to their level, Usher allowed Govan to support him. "I don't understand," he said, looking at the door, "where are the other reinforcements? Surely there were more… security… personnel in the club?"

"Oh," B'Naath's whiskers twitched, possibly in amusement, "they were far too busy dealing with the riot which began in the dining area when a giant arachnid jumped onto one of the banquet tables."

"Too bad about that," Rak'h was saying as Vail and Finn joined them, Finn with a quiet nod to Govan and a look of concern for Tenanji.

"I was looking forward to another good fight," Koll agreed. "I believe Zal only just got warmed up on that torturer…"

Harry looked up, "What? Wait… what torturer…"

"Vail to Runabout Yemen," the El Aurian said, with a wry smile. "five…six…seven… Yes…seven to beam up." As the matter energy transfer began and Ankh faded from view, Callan considered how many times history would repeat itself in the legacy of Starfleet officers to come. Perhaps next time, it would be Harry there to pull someone lost in their revenge back from the fall.

The end of Acker/Stearns brought to you by Finn and Torrik as Callan Vail and Usher Tenanji

Rest in Pieces Acker… that was for Sara…and Dana…And Vanona… and…
Originally Posted 7-29-2008 by Torrik Nils

USS Hawking
Conference Room - Deck 14

Harry paused to take another swig of the now-chilled coffee, which was still a better blend than the last he'd tasted. Across the table, the calm and somewhat mysterious Lt. Commander Vail of Starfleet Intelligence was listening patiently to Mr. Finn's report.

He was surprised not to have been asked sooner but, once on the runabout, Vail had gone to the cockpit with the Caitian, who Harry had learned was now part of the Hawking's Security force, along with the Klingon twins. Govan had made quiet introductions while getting Tenanji settled with some basic first aid and painkillers.

"Did she make it?" Harry asked, joining Tenanji and ignoring Govan as the Cardassian began to carefully remove the half-assed bandaging Harry had wrapped around his many-times broken hand. "Kerrin… did she?"

Beginning to fade from the tranqs, Usher opened his serious eyes to Finn's desperately questioning stare, "Yes, she did, they all made it. It's how we knew to look for you…"

Hearing that, knowing that he'd managed to save at least one, Harry leaned back in his seat and, against all odds, fell into an immediate and, thankfully dreamless, sleep.

He'd woken in sickbay, mostly in tact. Jillian had been there to quietly inform him of the extensive repairs she and her team had performed (apparently Lammas Ren was only so-so at putting things back together) and that his hand would need two more sessions of microsurgery and some PT before it was back to functioning level.

"Good thing I'm left-handed," he quipped but she didn't seem to see any humor, which wasn't like her.

He hadn't seen anyone, beyond the medical staff and the security detail which had escorted him to this room (more new faces), since returning to the Hawking.

Probably that was just as well, since, listening to himself tell Vail everything he'd done on Kendrassi Prime (Full disclosure, he had no reasons left to hide), Harry doubted he'd be on the ship long enough for any worthwhile meetings. He'd liked to have seen Jenny, though…

Putting down the cup, he looked at Vail, "I still don't know the name of the woman who came to the cell," he continued, "but… given her telepathic nature… I think she may have had something to do with my escape." It had been, he realized, now that he'd finally had some down time to process, way too simple. Too many coincidental screw-ups by Ren and his flunkies. "I don't know why, though," he tapped the table, fought down the urge to get up and start pacing, "I don't know what she had to gain…"

Callan nodded thoughtfully. "I don't know either…" The way he said it made it abundantly clear that he didn't like not knowing something. Intelligence in the Gamma Quadrant, especially this far from the wormhole was hard to come by. Which in truth, was part of the reason for his visit. "Perhaps that will become clear with time." After a momentary glance at his Padd, he set it down and leaned forward. "If I may, Harry… May I call you Harry? I really only have one question regarding your report… Why?"

Harry didn't miss a beat, "Because somebody had to… and no one else would."

"Hmmm…" His eyes twinkled. "Well, I think that's plenty for this report…" Callan stood and turned towards the viewport. The stars shone distant and cold. They were so foriegn this far from the Alpha Quadrant. "And now… What do you want? Where will you go?"

"I… what?" Harry blinked, stared at the other man, "I didn't think I had a choice in the matter…" Certainly Admiral Nechayev's orders had made that much clear.

Callan did smile, but didn't turn around to reveal it. "Harry, we all have choices. Nechayev's orders are specific, but not the final word at Starfleet Command. Let's just say… You have options. But I need assurance that this…episode…is over. It may not be completely forgotten. But it must be over." He slowly spun on his heel and examined the former officer. "Thoughts?"

Harry also rose, preferring to be on equal footing, physically at least, "Given that I had no expectations of… well, I didn't expect to survive this… episode," he quirked a small grin at the man responsible for altering those expectations, "but, okay, here we are. I know I can't put an end to all the crime in the galaxy; I never… I'm not Don Quixote," Harry waved off the idea of tilting at that impossibly huge windmill, "This was… it was a special case… and now it's closed. But," cause of course, there's always a 'but', "I don't think I can… I don't feel it's appropriate for me to go on as if nothing happened. I crossed a line… with Booth… even under the circumstances, I stepped over a line and… it wasn't easy," he admitted, looking down, and inside for a moment, "but, also," now he looked up and saw that Vail's expression, too, had gone serious, "it wasn't hard enough."

"There really isn't absolution… And that's not what I'm offering you. But neither need there be the condemnation of a good man to a wasted life. Your best destiny is clearly in the 'Fleet. And if you're willing, there are actions that can offer… not forgiveness… but a clean… cleaner slate." Callan took a small step forward and rested his hands on the back of the chair he'd been sitting in. "Your report and your role in the removal of a known threat to Federation security is highly classifiable. I believe you're familiar with the notion of sweeping a little past under the rug… It doesn't vanish, but it's harder to see. I'm telling you this because I want you in a 'Fleet I am proud to serve." His eyes grew distant. His long life and vast panorama of experience scrolled by…agonizingly so. "There are types that would change what we are founded on. And lines that shouldn't be crossed are toed all too often. You know the line. You've crossed it, and you know what it's like. People like you and I owe a debt… A debt to guard that line with what is left of our full self."

People like you and I… Maybe he shouldn't have been surprised that Lt. Commander Callan Vail of Intelligence had a past. A long one, more than like. Still, Harry wasn't good with words, so he knew nothing he could say would match the gift Vail was offering him, the continued chance to make things better, even if they could never be all the way right but, "I'd be… honored," he began, more formally than most anyone had ever seen him, "to take any opportunity to repay that debt, with… whatever is left."

"I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I just learned that Admiral D'Rinax has placed Torrik Nils in Command of the Hawking," Vail said seriously. "I personally question the validity of that order, but it is what it is… I think that one so young could benefit greatly from a little," he paused and grinned. There was still much boyish innocence in his smile. "From some tempered experience. Ever thought of leaving Security for Command?"

"What happened to Benjamin?" Harry completely missed Vail's proposal as he'd been deafened by the blood surging to his head. If anything had happened to Nate…

"It appears that following an incident with a Breen cruiser, his implants took on a life of their own. He attempted to assimilate a few members of your crew, I believe… Unsuccessfully, of course." Callan shrugged. "He's fine. But he's resigned his commission."

"Well, hell," Harry ran a hand through his hair; Jenny was probably wrecked, "Okay, well, I guess that's… I mean I get it." Tough on Nate but maybe… maybe he could enjoy life as an actual teenager, now. It helped to try and think so, anyway. "So… Torrik, huh?" It was impossible not to grin because Harry could easily imagine the scientist's response to such an advancement, "I wonder if there's a pool on who gets the XO spot?"

"I'm not a gambling man, but if I were my money would be on one Harry Finn… I think it's a good fit." Callan regarded Harry seriously.

"Well, if you want to lose your shirt," Harry began, with a chuckle, then, "Wait… what… seriously?" Then he actually looked at the other man and while it was possible Callan Vail had hidden talents as a thespian, his face said he meant business and seeing that, for a moment, Harry felt the universe grind to a halt and in that moment of stillness he saw, for the first time in over five years, possibilities. "Okay," he said, then realized that response might be a wee bit casual, under the circumstances, "I mean, if… you know, if… I'd… yes, yes if you mean it, if Command would go there… I'd… yes."

He really did need to work on his communication skills.

Callan Vail stretched out his hand. "Congratulations then, Harry. Give me twelve hours to make all of this official… Make that twenty-four. You look like you could use a break. Orders will hit your quarters soon enough."

Dazed but feeling something strangely reminiscent of happiness, Harry took the offered hand. As Vail released the grip and turned to go, Harry, acting on instinct, stepped forward, "Sir?" the word was enough to make Callan pause, "I was just wondering," People like you and I…, "Your own… episode… is it over, yet?"

Callan held Harry's gaze and a sad smile spread slowly across his face. Yes…he'd made a good call here. "Parts of it never end, Mister Finn. Parts of it never end."

JP with Torrik Nils as: Callan Vail
Originally Posted 7-30-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22 Beta
Security Surveillance Center
Early Evening

Eineen Marifanne almost chuckled aloud at the climax of the violent drama which unfolded on the vid monitors around her. While several of the technicians present within the module made vague, and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to hide their horrified expressions…one or two gasped as the former Chancellor of Offworld and Political Affairs plummeted from the catwalk of the Aqueous Room to be skewered like one of those disgusting meat-on-a-stick things sold by street vendors in the Red Sector.

It was over—-beyond any and all doubts. And Lady Szado had been right. But then, wasn’t she always.

“It was all recorded, was it not?” Eineen queried, to no one specifically. A query met with desiccate silence.

“I am not in the habit of repeating myself.”

“Y-Yeah…Yes, Ma’am,” stammered a young male to her immediate left, a Human whose copper-colored, pony-tail tied hair appeared fiery in contrast to his bloodlessly pale pallor. “As you ordered. The whole…battle, beginning to end.”

“Good…” She reached out to stroke his head, bracing herself against the sudden jolt of his tumultuous emotions through her empathic abilities. “Get me an outside comm channel…route it through the embassy to Yellow Sector, the Cascade Towers,” Her voice rose a significant level as she stepped back to address the room. “I think we could all use a rest period…I would like the room cleared.”

“NOW!” she barked loudly when no one moved, watching with a contented grin as they lurched from their seats almost as one.

“Oh, by the way…” she caught them just short of the module entrance. “If one word of what any of you have seen here goes any further than this room…I am reasonably certain you know that termination of employment will be the least of your worries… .Do we understand each other?”

Though most replied with jittery-eyed nods, the voice of the red-haired male came through with a loud and clear, “Yes, Ma’am,”.

° ° °

“My Mistress…” Eineen said, bowing respectfully with the appearance of her superior on the module’s largest overhead vid screen.

The 8th level Empath felt her heart race with…something more than worshipful reverence as she gazed upon the countenance of House of Szado’s Prime Matriarch and one of the Sisterhood’s most powerful field enforcers. It was a fact not widely known…that a by-product, a gift of the genetic engineering which imbued the Cygnian cross-species who were the ‘mother-founders’ of the White Rose Sisterhood with powerful empathic/telepathic (and in some cases, telekinetic-pyrokinetic) abilities also gave them life-spans on par with both the Klingon and Vulcan races. And, although some Beta-Cygnies aged more gracefully than others, there were a few who, in the Human vernacular, left graceful in the dust. The females of, for example, the Houses of Fabria, Beeshandra, and Szado, in general…Fayla Q’azad Szado in particular. She was, at age 103, an extremely beautiful, seductive, and (Eineen couldn't deny it) desirable woman.

“Good news, I trust?”

Eineen mentally shook herself. “It is done, Mistress.”

“Can you show me?

Eineen inclined her head, simultaneously tapping a sequence on the instrument panel before her that linked the security cam’s live feed into the comm-net, allowing the Prime Matriarch to gaze upon he image of the impaled Chancellor.

“How long ago, Eineen?”

“No more than five standard minutes, Mistress. It did not take long once Finn’s saviours from Starfleet arrived.”

“I did not think it would,” Fayla commented. She looked away, off-screen, for a moment with an expression Eineen would have sworn to be that of… .sorrow? It faded much too quickly to be certain, however.

“Further instructions, my Mistress?” Eineen queried when the woman faced her once again.

“Assuredly. And first…drop the ‘my mistress’,” Fayla began. “Ambassador…Lady Szado…Boss, will suffice from here on. You’ve just been promoted, Eineen. You are now my…our Minister of Information and Intelligence …And more the former for our immediate needs.

“I want you to insure that word of what has transpired reaches that Habitat newsperson…the writer…Crowring? Cowlick?”

“Cowling… Gary Cowling,” Eineen offered.

“Yes, him,” Fayla smirked. “You’ve worked in the diplomatic arena long enough…Put just the right amount of spin on the facts to stop just short of the truth, make us look like the slight parties, and cast suspicion and mistrust upon the powers that be…

“Get in touch with Jessyn Beeshandra. Tell her, as of this moment, Mist is no longer a commodity supported by the Organization. Let it be known that I speak for my daughter…I want that horrid substance gone. We will give it a reasonable…safe period to wean the addicts off. But within the next sixty standard days I want it out of the Habitat and out of the Gamma Quadrant. Have our Syndicate suppliers smuggle in some of the less controversial stuff—-adrena-stimms; the Venus drug; that tobacco they grow in the Earth colonies…marilanna.”

“You mean marijuana, Ambassador,” Eineen corrected.

“Whatever…And lastly, contact the Organization’s chieftans and…underbosses. There is a meeting, eight o’clock Federation Standard Time, in C-Point. Everyone attends, no exceptions. Word of Charles’ demise will surely spread quickly, and before anyone out there begins to indulge their…greedier natures we need to make a few things perfectly clear.”

Post with:
Eineen Marifanne
Cygnian Ambassadorial Attaché
Minister of Intelligence
La Sameina AKA “The Combination”


Fayla Q’azad Szado
Cygnian Ambassador
Prime Consigliere of La Sameina
AKA “The Combination”

Originally Posted 7-31-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Red 18 Delta
“The Circle”
(Top Floor V.I.P. Lounge)
7:00:46 P.M.

Mylla’s eyes, and mind lingered on the final word…the query posed by Jericho-Beta most celebrated news columnist, Gary Cowling, and suddenly felt as though the hand that held the newspadd had become the focus repository for the pull of Kendrassa Prime’s gravity. She let the arm…both, in fact…drop heavily to her sides, oblivious to the drone and bustle of commingled conversations and the skittering service staff in the room behind her. Though her thoughts, for the most part, were elsewhere—-within, as well as outward—-her eyes vaguely registered the throng of constant activity wthin the large quadrangle of eateries, shops, and businesses known as C-Point…the Circle…and the desolate areas visible beyond their roof tops. Bust Out…And at this moment she felt more in tune with it than ever before.

Wasted City, she’d heard it called. Ghetto of the Living Dead…Black Hole of the Habitat…Its names were as numerous as it denizens were… …what? Lost? Damned? Hopelessly without hope? They all fit. She had walked among them countless times enroute to C-Point—-viewed their dead-eyed, ragged, seemingly drained and bloodless forms; their rundown, vermin-infested hovels—-and wondered. Addiction to narcotics (legal and, in some cases, doctors prescribed drugs)…Gambling…A bad judgement or choice, business-wise…Loss of employment or a loved one…Mylla had heard many of the multitude of reasons they had become permanent residents of Bust Out, but she never quite understood. None of them seemed severe enough to push someone…anyone to spend their endless day-to-day existences like that. None of them, that is, until now.

Several times since her entrance to the Lounge, Mylla felt the prickling sensation which signaled the probing of another consciousness…her mother’s…attempting to initiate a connection. She’d tried to ignore it, knowing all too well she could not deny the stronger woman for long.

You have read Cowling’s column, Daughter. I did not think it would come so soon…

It did not, Mylla responded. It will not be officially released until morning…Your secretary, Eineen, obtained an early copy…Authorized by Cowling himself.

He seeks to gain favor with the new regime. These Human males are not so dull-witted after all.

She was close. So close, in fact, that Mylla could all but feel, physically, the roiling maelstrom of controlled chaos which characterized her mother’s complex psyche. Behind her…

…and approaching as if she thought the floor would give way beneath her at any second. Walking on egg shells, Charles called it.

Charles…Oh Charles.

“It is alright, Mother. There is no need to be so cautious,” Mylla vocalized. “Truth to tell, I welcome your company now.”

Fayla waited until she stood at her daughter’s side to reply. “I must also speak truthfully…I would not blame you if you did not wish to receive me.”

“You are my mother. And though we have not always been of agreeable minds, I have never doubted the fire in your heart where I am concerned… .”

“But I have to know, Mother…Why? Why did it have to end as it did?”

“There is no other way it could have ended, minn sannur hjarta… .my trueheart. The forces which govern the Universe demanded nothing less.”

“That answer is not acceptable, Mother. And I ask again…Why? Did my Charles not have the greater claim to revenge? After all, it was Finn who murdered Charles’ grandfather.”

“Murder…” The word passed Fayla’s lips on the heels of a sigh that was very nearly a question while she regarded her daughter with a tsk-tsking expression. “Come…sit,” she said, moving in the direction of the nearest couch. Mylla made no move to follow.

“You will find neither answers nor solace gazing out at all the misery beyond the roof tops, Mylla. They have abandoned the paths to their futures. Do not abandon your’s…Come and let us talk.”

Epilogue Part 1 of 2

Featuring NPC's:
Mylla Szado
Cygnian Ambassador
“Capo di tutti i capi” (Boss of all Bosses)
La Sameina AKA “The Combination”


Fayla Q’azad Szado
Cygnian Ambassador
Prime Consigliere of La Sameina
AKA “The Combination”
Originally Posted by Toryn Kaz 8-4-2008

Red 18 Delta
“The Circle”
Top Floor V.I.P. Lounge

A trio of manservants crossed the expanse between their stations at the lounge’s far end, and the couches at a striding fast walk nearly as swift as a dead run. And as they converged upon Mylla and her mother, the former felt the push of a smile at the corners of her mouth. Charles had made it a private joke between them. An Olympic event, he’d laughingly called it. The Eunuch Sprint. She hadn’t thought much about it before then…Probably because she’d grown customed to it; had grown up with, and took it for granted. But the way Charles said it—-his irreverence and exaggerated facial expressions—-always made her laugh. Now, without Charles, it was no longer comical. Nor, for that matter, below her notice. The relationship she had shared with the man she’d known as Charles Champe Stearns had altered her perception…About a great many things. But most especially the roles of males and females.

Sympathy, my child…Well, Well, you do indeed surprise me, Fayla gently touched her daughter mind, following through physically with a caress of the younger woman’s cheek. You do understand . .our males are a far cry from those you have encountered here at Jericho-Samaria…From Charles and Harry Finn, for that matter

Mylla sighed, nodding. //Yes, Mother. Cygnian males have known not a single moment free of the reminder of their inferiority, nor without the weight of our thumbs upon them. Charles was right… . //

About a great many things, I imagine. Unfortunately…not about the things which truly mattered.

//I don’t understand you, Mother… //Mylla began, subsequently switching to verbal. “In one breath, you acknowledge the fact that…as a male…Charles was unique—-vital and of value in many respects—-but the disdain you feel for him comes through with voluminous and alarming clarity.”

“I respected…even admired his talents. However, his penchant for wallowing in his more…primitive instincts were, to say the least, deplorable. As Shaun Ryan Acker, many of the things did were a natural consequence of the life and the livelihood he chose. The data and documents he sold caused the pain, misery, and deaths of hundreds of thousands…Understandable. That was business. But the acts perpretrated against Harry Finn, in his bid for revenge…unforgivable, dishonorable, and cowardly.”

“And we…you, Mother…we differ how?” Mylla fired back.

“You are aware of the Cygnian code of reciprocal retribution…” Fayla threw out, without a second’s pause.

“makleg málagjöld…Of course, Mother. It is one of our oldest traditions.”

“The Makleg…The rite of challenge by she who has been wronged. The Málag…Challenged and Challenger are brought together at arena i sandhed…the Arena of Truth. Two women face each other, their sisters and peers as spectators, and they do battle…with implements of pain and powers of the mind, until one of them either concedes…or is killed… .It is the one, and quite possibly the only time we allow our animal natures dominion. But it serves to exhibit our love of honor toward one-another and remind us of a less civilized time in our culture.

“Shaun Ryan Acker was neither honorable nor civilized. He believed that Harry Finn wronged him, but he used others…murdered and ruined the lives of others to mete out his version of justice rather than personally challenge the man. He, as the Earthers would say, did not like to get his hands dirty. It is that aspect of Acker I found it impossible to reconcile.”

Acker Acker ACKER! Mylla chanted in inward exasperation. “You did not know my Charles as I knew him, Mother…Charles! Not Acker. That part of him ceased to exist with his former appearance.”

“I am sure you truly want to believe that, Child. But deep down…you know better. He knew better…As did Finn. So long as both remained alive…in one form or another…neither could find peace.”

“Neither…And yet, you say that there was no other way it could have ended…With the death of the man I loved? AND…And, Charles you scorn, Mother. But I hear the thoughts, see the scenarios, and feel the things you feel when Finn comes to your mind…Emotions…In particular, some I thought I would never detect within you. Mother…Attraction. Desire. Arousal…For an inferior male?”

Observe, my child. See and feel, Fayla touched her daughter’s mind while turning her attention to the trio of servants stood docile and dutifully beside the couch.

“You…” she pointed the one in the center. Instantly¸he prostrated himself before her.

Can you feel it? Inside him… “Within them all. Centuries of controlled breeding…indoctrination…intimidation…and they may as well be the eunuchs of Charles’ joke. Inside they are empty, weak, with about as much fortitude and substance as those gel packs they use in Federation computer systems. As you know, it is the exact opposite with non-Cygnian males…Especially Humans. I freely admit that after a lifetime of unchallenged command and control over our own males it was rather refreshing to experience unabashed rebellious, contempt, resistence…the entire spectrum. It was, and is amusing…and something I plan to avail myself of occasionally while here…away from the constraints, duties, and traditions of Homeworld. Under the current circumstances I see nothing irreverent or shameful in that…

“As for my feelings toward one Harry Finn…what you touch within me is true…to a degree. On the whole, however, it translates more into my respect for his sense of honor, personal responsibility, and justice. This man…walked away from his entire life—-occupation, career, friends…and committed himself to set right what Charles…Shaun Ryan Acker had sullied. I do indeed have enormous respect for that…and for him…”

Fayla took brief pause to nudge the prostrate manservant with the toe of her sandal, waiting until he had righted himself to deliver a barrage of telepathic commands. The three bowed almost as one and scurried away.

“I visited Finn in the place Charles kept him captive,” she resumed. “Scanned his mind…Killing Alden Pierce Ryan was not intentional. Finn and his people had only gone to Ryan’s estate to question him on the whereabouts of his grandson…Shaun. Ryan attacked them…wounded one man and took another hostage. Finn only meant to disable him…He fired on the Phaser’s Stun setting. Years of excess and physical neglect had taken their toll on Ryan’s heart…It gave out from the shock of the stun…”

“And there is more,” Fayla reached out to give her daughter’s hand a sympathetic squeeze. “One other…related item. I…would rather you view it separately…unbiased, rather than have it come from me. It is kept in one private computer files, which I will make available to you at your convenience…” She gave Mylla’s hand a pat and stood up. “In the meantime…thee are other more pressing matters for you to concern yourself with. Business…You have an organization to attend to. A meeting of your senior subordinates”…she offered her hand… “Shall we go and prepare…”

Featuring NPC's:
Mylla Szado
Cygnian Ambassador
“Capo di tutti i capi” (Boss of all Bosses)
La Sameina AKA “The Combination”


Fayla Q’azad Szado
Cygnian Ambassador
Prime Consigliere of La Sameina
AKA “The Combination”

Originally Posted 8-20-2008 by Torrin Kaz

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.