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Shadows - Ch 4
A.N.(and I have to give some credit where it’s due… none of this would have been written if it wasn’t for Quills since it was Quill’s idea in the first place and not to mention all the help there after!)
Rachel Garrett exhaled softly as she leaned against the shower wall. The hot water was a soothing escape she had been looking forward too all day. The last few had been hard; particularly because she just couldn’t banish the nagging feelings she was having. The man in that shuttle, and the betrayed look on his face was seared into her memory. She had been so sure, but now she was riddled with doubts. Was the man who sat next to her in the captain’s chair the same man she had known all these years?
She and Soma were intimate friends. Not intimate in a romantic way. Although she found Jonathan attractive, she knew better than many of the women who entered his life, that he already had a woman. Her name was Enterprise. Garrett felt she knew her friend and captain better than most people. She had started under him as a Lieutenant. The captain had seen potential in her and made her a bridge officer, senior science officer and eventually his first officer. Their relationship of teacher and mentor helped to forge a strong bond that led to their friendship.
Garrett, pushing off the shower wall, forced her head under the hot running water. What are you thinking Garrett? That’s the captain up on the bridge. It was as simple as that, she reminded herself. She couldn’t-wouldn’t allow herself to believe what she had seen on the view screen…the man in that shuttle pod might have been the real Captain Soma. It couldn’t be true. It wasn’t true. But there was something not quite right with her captain. When he had returned from that science symposium on Altuda III he was on edge. More so than she had ever seen before.
Enterprise had received Starfleet’s priority communiqué warning them of an attempt to seize the ship with a double of the captain. Starfleet informed Garrett that they had dispatched a warp shuttle to get the captain back to the Enterprise as quickly as possible. Once Soma had arrived they didn’t have long to wait for his double to show up.
Soma’s double…the captain had said he called himself Velik… hailed the Enterprise claiming he was the real Captain Soma. Garrett had suggested they bring him aboard and allow Doctor Trell, the ship’s Chief Medical Officer, to settle the matter. Both Soma’s had agreed. But before the shuttle could be brought aboard Lieutenant Vendi detected a highly sophisticated weapons system aboard the shuttle. The captain ordered the shields raised and had us open fire on the shuttle before it could attack. Taking heavy damage, the shuttle retreated and opening a spatial anomaly, disappearing without a trace. Sensors confirmed the detection of chronometric particles in the shuttles wake. The shuttle had opened a temporal vortex. A technological feat that no Starfleet vessel could match.
Soma had ordered Enterprise to scan the surrounding space for any clue as to where the shuttle had gone. Not knowing the answers bothered the captain. He had told Garrett that Velik may have lost a battle, but he feared the war was yet to be decided. That was two days ago and Soma hadn’t left the bridge since. Garrett remembered what the captain had told her… that he was going to find Velik if it was the last thing he did.
At first, Garrett thought she understood the reason for Soma’s fixation. Velik had outmaneuvered him. He had caught the captain off guard on Altuda III and now he had managed to escape capture. But Garrett was unsure…about a lot of things. Velik and Soma could be twins. The first thing she did, after the shuttle escaped, was have Doctor Trell give the captain a full going over. The Andorian said she would stake her reputation on the fact that every single bio reading she took, checked out. So why was Garrett still having nagging doubts? And who was Velik? The captain had no answers for her.
Rachel hit the control button to the shower. The hot spray slowed to a drizzle as the water slowly abated. The shower hadn’t helped. Stepping out of the cubicle, she quickly dried off and wrapping a towel around herself, she walked into her living area. Stopping at her bed, she let herself fall onto the soft mattress. Lying there, she considered her options regarding her captain…or the man on the bridge that had been cleared by the CMO.
If she went to the senior staff with her concerns they would ask her what she intended to do. A mutiny is what it would come down to. She wasn’t ready for that…not on a handful of nagging doubts. Her other option was to watch and wait. If the man on the bridge were really her captain then she would just be doing her duty, if he wasn’t …she would stop him from carrying out whatever his plan was and force him to reveal where the real Soma was. Someone was lying and Garrett knew she was the one person who had to find the truth…before it was too late. One way or another she’d find out what the hell was going on.
Suddenly the red alert claxon signaled and she was immediately up. Feeling the ship drop out of warp, she turned and looked out her view port to see the stars go from streaks of light to points. Rushing to her desk, she tapped the comm. button. “Garrett to the bridge!”
The familiar voice of Captain Soma came over the speaker. “Commander Garrett, report up here, on the double. We have a development.”
“On my way, sir!”
Finally,she thought, some answers!
When Garrett reached the bridge she immediately noticed the rush of activity. Crewmen ran back and forth between stations as the red alert lights flashed. The captain barked orders over the ship’s intercom, something about security teams and search patterns.
“Sir, what’s going on?” asked Garrett as she approached the captain.
Soma looked over at her with a grim expression. “We have an intruder on board.”
Garrett gave Soma a surprised expression. “Any idea who it is?”
Soma shook his head. “We can’t lock onto a bio-reading because he’s evading our internal sensors.”
Garrett followed Soma over to the security station, where the ship’s security chief, Lieutenant Vendi, was busy running internal scans.
“He’s been sabotaging the ship,” Soma told her angrily. “We just dropped out of warp a few minutes ago. I had all main sections running level one diagnostics on their systems. Chief O’Sullivan said the warp engine had a device attached to the main core. It was slowly dissolving the outer casing. We would have had a warp breach within a few hours.”
Garrett looked at Soma in distress. She was shocked to learn about the sabotage and relieved it had been caught in time. However, her concern was not in the act of sabotage but how Soma knew to look for it. Why hadn’t he said anything to her? If he had suspicions about an intruder she should have been informed.
“Just a minute number one,” interrupted Soma as he turned back to Lieutenant Vendi.
“Yes, sir. I think I’ve narrowed it down,” replied the security chief. “Intermittent movement… deck five, section fourteen…Astrometrics. We evacuated that section.”
Soma turned and looked at Garrett. “You’re with me Number One,” he said, heading for the turbo lift. Garrett simply nodded. She would have to talk to him, but now wasn’t the time.
“Lieutenant, have a security detail meet us on deck five, section fourteen,” added Garrett as she followed Soma.
“Yes, ma’am,” replied Vendi as the turbo lift doors closed behind Garrett and the captain.
When Garrett and Soma reached deck five they were greeted by total darkness. The lights on the entire deck were out. Soma had notified the bridge to seal off section fourteen evacuate all personnel from that section. Given the state of the sections lighting, the intruder must has shorted out the power relay.
Garrett handed Soma a phaser and from the turbo lift emergency locker. All starship turbo lifts were equipped with a floor locker containing two hand phasers and two communicators in case of an emergency. Garrett activated her phaser’s mini-light.
Hearing a chirp on her communicator, she flipped it open, “Go ahead.”
“Commander Garrett?” said the female voice. “It’s Ensign Munro, ma’am. We’re at the opposite end of your corridor. I’m waiving my light. Do you see it?”
Garrett was already looking down the corridor and saw the light bob up and down. “We see it,” she said.
Garrett and Soma headed down the darkened corridor where they linking up with the security detail, Ensign Nora Munro, along with Ensigns Caryle and Briggs
“Ensign Briggs, let me see your tri-corder,” said Soma.
The redheaded Briggs un-slung his tri-corder from his shoulder and handed it to Soma.
A red light blipped on the panel and Soma looked up. “That direction,” he said pointing his phaser down the adjacent corridor.
Turning to the security detail, he issued new instructions. “Munro, you’re with us,” said Soma. “Briggs…Caryle I want you to head back the way you came; circle around to secondary access to Astrometrics. Once you’re there, seal the section off so he can’t get out; then proceed inside on our signal. We’ll head down this corridor to the main entrance.”
“Aye, sir,” replied the ensigns.
“I want phasers set on heavy stun,” said the captain. “Everyone keep your guard up. Whoever this intruder is, he may have cut power to the lights because he isn’t hampered by the zero visibility. Assume that he can see you even if you can’t see him. And Carlyle…, set your tri-corder for motion sensing. You won’t pick up his bio-scan.”
“Yes, sir,” replied the ensign, adjusting his tri-corder.
“Let’s move out,” said Soma, motioning Carlyle and Briggs down the corridor.
Soma, Garrett and Munro moved up the adjacent corridor towards the ship’s Astrometrics lab. The lab was normally unoccupied at this time, which would be the only advantage they would have against an intruder that could evade their sensors. Any movement would have to be from their unwelcome guest.
Garrett felt a cold shiver rundown her back as they approached the large double doors, which led to Astrometrics. She watched as Soma moved towards the door, his tri-corder scanning the interior.
“Captain?” said Garrett.
“Quiet,” he snapped, panning the tri-corder in front of him. He continued to scan for any movement, no matter how slight. “I’m not picking up any movement. Munro…contact your team.”
“Yes, sir,” replied the ensign pulling out her communicator.
Garrett continued to watch Soma. He was becoming more on edge with every second that past. He seemed to be in an almost agitated state.
“Captain,” whispered Munro, “they’re not responding.”
“Dammit,” said Soma. “Alright, get ready to go in. Anything that moves, shoot it.”
“Captain!” protested Garrett.
Soma snapped his head around. “Anything, “ he said stressing the word. “Our phasers are on heavy stun. If Briggs or Carlyle get caught in the crossfire all they’ll get is a headache when they wake up.”
Reaching out, Soma depressed the access button. The large twin doors slid apart slowly, revealing the darkened interior. Pointing his phaser into the room, Soma cautiously moved forward as he continued to glance at his tri-corder display. The device showed no movement within the room, but Soma was certain the intruder was here. He had no place else to go. If Briggs and Carlyle did their job, then the room was sealed off. If not…he wasn’t getting out of this section.
Motioning Garrett and Munro to fan out, Soma proceeded forward visually scanning the room. The faint green glow of the tri-corder’s display panel silhouetted his features. He was concerned that it might give away his position since he was fairly certain the intruder could see him just fine in complete darkness.
Garrett moved to the left of Soma as she slowly made her way towards the stairs leading to the control station. Scanning the section for movement, she stopped when an object caught her attention. Straining to see it, she just made out the silhouette. It was secondary access to the lab and it was open. Either Briggs or Munro had come in ahead of them or someone had come out.
“Captain, the secondary access door is open,” she said.
“I see it number one,” replied Soma.
Soma, pausing for a moment, listened for any hint of noise. “Freeze,” said the captain.
“We know you’re in here,” said Soma. “Give yourself up. This section is sealed off. You’re not getting off this ship.”
Soma, Garrett and Munro listened for a response. Garrett was certain the captain was trying to force the intruder to make a move, but when no response came the captain spoke again, this time to Garrett and Munro.
“Set your phasers to maximum,” ordered Soma. “Wide dispersal…prepare to fire at the walls and ceiling on my command.”
Garrett swallowed hard. Setting their phasers to a wide field dispersal on maximum would not only kill the intruder, but could very well kill one of them. Either Soma was bluffing or he was desperate. Garrett decided she was going to take the chance that he was bluffing. Touching her phaser control, she set it on wide dispersal…but didn’t change it from heavy stun. She only hoped Munro had the good sense to do the same.
Soma, adjusted his phaser setting. Pointing his phaser towards the wall in front him, he gave one last warning. “You obviously think I’m bluffing. I’m not and I’ll burn your hide to the wall if that’s what it takes to prove it.”
Soma’s eyes darted across the wall. Suddenly, the tri-corder display showed a red blip moving forty-five degrees to his left. Turning, he yelled. “Rachel, he’s coming across the wall. Open fire!”
Garrett’s heart raced as she crouched down. Taking aim at the wall, she opened fire with a wide beam dispersal. The blue fan of energy cut across the wall. Moving her aim, she let the beam travel the length of the wall until she heard a loud thud followed by something or someone hitting the floor.
Letting go of the trigger, Garrett slowly rose; phaser extended. “Captain?”
“No further movement,” said Soma glancing at his tri-corder.
Suddenly, the overhead lights came on. Garrett and Munro quickly covered their eyes as the light caused them to tear. Soma squinted in the bright light, but his Vulcan inner eyelid quickly adjusted his vision. Scanning the room, he saw what appeared to be an unconscious form fifteen feet away from Garrett. Moving quickly, he approached the form with his phaser extended.
“Don’t move,” he said.
“Captain?” called out Garrett still trying to see in harsh light.
“I’m over to your right,” said Soma. “I’ve got our intruder.”
Garrett turned and headed for Soma. Her vision was slowly adjusting and she could make out the captain and the unconscious figure on the floor. Whoever it was, he was lying on his stomach. She couldn’t make out his face. Watching as Soma pushed the figure with boot, she gasped in shock when the figure rolled onto his back.
“It’s a Suliban!” she said.
“That explains why we couldn’t track him,” said Soma shaking his head.
“And why he was able to see so well in the dark,” added Garrett. “But what the hell is he doing here? Who sent him?”
Before Soma could offer any theories, both officers turned when they heard Ensign Munro.
“What is it ensign?” asked Soma.
“I’ve found Briggs and Carlyle, sir,” she answered. He voice audibly shaken. “They’re laying over here…sir…their necks are snapped…they’re dead, sir.”
Garrett and the two security guards watched as Soma tightened his fists. A pale green color formed around his bare white knuckles. The Suliban wasn’t talking and Soma looked like he was going to do something drastic. Watching nervously, she waited to see what the captain’s next move would be. If she had to intervene, she would, but for now she would watch and wait.
Soma glared at the Suliban. For his part, the man sat comfortably on his bunk, smiling smugly back at Soma.
“You tried to sabotage my ship! You killed two of my crew! I want to know why!”
The Suliban rose slowly, ignoring Soma’s question as he leisurely walked around his holding cell. Pacing his steps, he seemed more intrigued by his own walking pattern than Soma’s interrogation.
The captain decided to play a wild card. This saboteur’s presence wasn’t a convenient coincidence. He was tied to the mystery they were already trying to unravel. He was certain of it. “We know you’re working for Velik,” muttered Soma.
The Suliban gave Soma a surprised look for a brief moment before laughing. “You know nothing.”
Soma cocked his head. “Are you saying you don’t know Velik?”
“I am saying nothing… captain.”
Soma moved closer. “Who is he? What does he want?”
“You know, you look exactly like him,” quipped the Suliban agent.
Soma hit the force field angrily causing the energy field to shimmer. Garrett, the two guards and the Suliban each reacted in surprise. “Dammit, tell me who he is!”
Regaining his composure, the Suliban smiled at Soma. “Are you getting emotional captain?”
Soma moved to one side of the force field. Touching the control panel, he lowered the energy curtain. Garrett watched him nervously as he entered the cell and walked up to the Suliban agent. “You don’t want to see me get emotional,” he said icily.
The Suliban, smiled and abruptly turned away. Before anyone realized what was happening, Soma grabbed the man and slammed him into the cell wall nearest the opening. The Suliban’s head snapped back, striking the wall. A jolt of pain rode up his spine as his back was pressed against the edge of the cell entrance.
Garrett moved forward, uncertain what she would do. “Captain, please-“
“At ease commander!” said the Vulcan as he glared at his Suliban prisoner.
“You know, you look exactly like him,” quipped the Suliban agent.
“Who is he!” yelled Soma as he slammed the man into the wall a second time.
The Suliban gritted his teeth as he tried to smile as he had before. But the pain shooting through his back caused the smile to be more of a grimace. “Y-You want to know who Velik is?”
“Yes!” replied Soma; the word seething with anger.
“The rightful heir.”
Soma gave the man a look of surprise and a little bit of contempt. “What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean, captain,” said the Suliban as purplish blood began to trickle from his nose.
“I didn’t ask for riddles!” spat Soma. ”What does he want?”
The Suliban cocked his head and grinned. “To remove the pretender from the throne.”
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Two folks have made comments
Oooh. I'm intrigued. I still don't know who's who. Anyway, I like Garrett in this story.
Oooh. Write some more. I need to know what's going on!