Something's Wrong Here...
Season 2: Episode 3: Determination is not always a good thing
Location: Cortic - Base Camp
Anje had waited for a while for Liorga, far longer than it should’ve taken her to get there on foot, let alone in an Argo Jeep, before finally deciding to call Gallia and find out what was going on, =A=Brett to Lt. Norris…=A=
=A=Norris here, Commander.=A= Gallia replied quickly, =A=Is everything okay there?=A=
=A=We’re fine here, Lieutenant. Well, those of us who are here….=A= Anje began, =A=Speaking of people who aren’t here, has Liorga started this way yet?=A=
=A=Oh, bloody Hell!=A= Gallia groaned, =A=I’m sorry, Commander, Liorga had to run Dorso to the hospital. He fell over, he’s bad sick. I shoulda told ya already, my apologies.=A=
=A=That’s alright, Lieutenant, I’ve got a couple of the Home Guard guys coming to bring you that replicator and to help with your clean-up. Pvt. Fraser and Pike…=A= Anje said, adding, =A=How long since Liorga left with Dorso?=A=
=A=A couple hours.=A= Gallia replied, though she was thinking about strangling Pike with his own scarf for so terribly underselling the disaster that was the water reclamation station, =A=Why?=A=
~Because I haven’t seen an Argo come in…~ Anje thought, =A=No reason maybe.=A= She explained, =A=I’m going to step over to the hospital and make sure they made it safely, Brett out.=A=
Anje didn’t even bother putting her jacket back on before beelining to the hospital, scanning for Estelle in the midst of all the chaos, “Estelle?” She called out, “Estelle?”
“Here!” Estelle called from behind a paper-thin screen they had put up for a bit of privacy. Not for those being treated, but rather for those waiting in line. She was in the process of putting a broken arm back together, fairly routine stuff.
“Hi.” Anje started, looking from side to side for any sign of Liorga or Dorso, ~Not that I’m positive I’d recognize Dorso, maybe he’s here and Liorga has already left?~ “So, uh, how’s Dorso?”
“Who is Dorso?” Estelle asked, then remembered. “Oh, the young boy on Liorga’s team?” Technically it was Gallia’s team, Estelle knew, but she didn’t figure anyone would blame her for having a slightly different perspective on that one. “I don’t know, haven’t seen him since this morning. Why?”
“He’s supposed to be here. Sick with the same thing my people went down with.” Anje replied, “Gallia said Liorga brought him here like two hours ago…. Maybe Julia has seen him?” That made sense to Anje, the place was still chaos, no way one person could keep up with all of it, not even Estelle.
“Poor Liorga”, Estelle said. “She’ll have a lot of work ahead of her in the next few days. The way we see it, it’s only humans that are affected by this disease. Maybe human hybrids, too, but we haven’t seen a case of that.” She pointed to those around them. “It’s in the air already, by the way, so there’s no use going for any of the usual protective measures. Good thing is, it’s a mild disease. It won’t kill you unless you haven’t got access to treatment. We have not figured out a way to stop the virus, though. Right now, we can treat symptoms and let it pass.”
“Might need to get Gallia and Ms. Justice in here too…” Anje said, then immediately refocused on the question at hand of the whereabouts of Liorga and Dorso, “But, first we should really look for Liorga and Dorso.”
Estelle did the obvious, she tapped her combadge. “Hertz to Liorga. You are sorely missed by Anje here. Where are you hiding?”
When no reply came after a few seconds, Anje’s concern turned into full on worry, Liorga was the most together person Anje knew besides Kerri Tate, “This isn’t right, Stelle…” She whispered, “Liorga always answers in seconds.”
“Yes, there’s something wrong”, Estelle agreed. “Are you sure our communicators work right all over? I’ve had issues with some of my medical tools, so I’m wondering.” She didn’t want to contemplate any of the more worrying options until the mundane had been ruled out.
“We have been struggling with the transporters.” Anje nodded in the affirmative, “That’s half the reason Liorga was coming over in the Argo…”
“Yes, nobody in their right minds would want to drive them unless they had to”, Estelle agreed, though it was a bit off-topic. It was just how her mind worked, there were always blurbs of unrelated things coming to the forefront. “Go look for her, please? I can’t leave here, just look at the queue.”
“Okay, maybe Julia or someone from the Home Guard has seen her…” Anje surmised, letting her Vulcan quarter run the show for now. She scanned the area for Julia and that HG Captain… what was his name? Anderson?
The short but big man waddled into the tent just then, calling to people behind him. “Move them in, men. Everyone, you’ll have to move closer together.” A dozen other Home Guard were moving more cots into the tent. “It’s going to get quite tight in here, but we’ll just have to bear it for a few days.” He was enjoying his role as commanding officer.
Anje gently, but rapidly, pushed through the crowd, apologizing all the way, until she reached Captain Anderson, “Captain, hello.” She began, “Remember me, Lt. Cdr. Brett? I’m running the Ops section of relief from the Elysium?”
“Yes, I remember”, he said. “Your people are doing a fine job, Commander. I apologise for the behaviour of some of our citizens but they’ve got a yellow streak a yard wide down their backs, some of them do.”
“Everything’s been fine, completely up to par, no apology needed, Captain.” Anje shook her head, “Anyway, I’m actually here looking for a couple of my people. Chief Petty Officer Liorga and Crewman Dorso, they were supposed to be coming here a couple hours ago, Dorso is by all reports very sick. I was wondering if you or any of your men had seen them?”
“Liorga, the Deltan who knows the Colonel, was she?” Anderson asked. “Looks hardly old enough to have been a teenager during the war.” He took a PADD out of his back pocket, it looked like something people had used during the Dominion War, Anderson had never felt the desire to update, and he certainly didn’t consider the new ones upgrades. “Liorga, Dorso, let me see… no, there are no reports on anyone by those names. Where were they last seen?”
“At the water reclamation plant by Lt. Norris.” Anje answered, “But that was over two hours at this point. They were headed here in an Argo Jeep.” ~Even if they don’t know they’ve seen Liorga and Dorso, they’d recognize that jeep.~ Anje concluded, again, it was logical, unlike the fear that something very bad had happened to Dorso and Liorga, “How recent is your intake information, Captain?” ~Maybe they’re still queued up outside?~
“I know no such vehicle passed through the gates”, Anderson said. “I’d have seen it myself.” He fished an old-style communicator out of his pocket, flipped it open and said, “Johnson, send a patrol down the road from the camp to the water reclamation plant. Look for overturned vehicles. We’re one short, two occupants, a pretty bald woman and some other guy.”
“Aye, sir”, came the curt reply. Then, as the channel hadn’t been closed. “Richardson, you’re with me.” And thus, Richard Johnson and John Richardson set out, the first search detail.
Anderson closed the communicator and put it back in his pocket. He looked up at Anje, probably the only person around who was actually shorter than her. “If they’re along that road, we’ll know inside 15 minutes.”
Anje merely said, “Thank you, Captain.” before walking back towards Estelle, ~They’re in trouble. No way around it. I mean, they could easily be missed, but that Argo? No way.~ She walked up behind Estelle, whispering in her ear, “I don’t know how to say this, but they never arrived here, Stelle…”
“Then where are they?” Estelle asked, now worried. “Liorga’s not the one to get lost. She got like a built in navigational sensor array. Have you checked with the ship’s sensors? There can’t be that many Deltans around here!”
“Probably not.” Anje agreed, “Okay, I’ll go back to my console, I can link in from there, maybe we can find them that way.”
“Please, and let me know as soon as you know anything?” Estelle said, realising that that question probably hadn’t been necessary, but it was too late. She had spoken before she had thought.
“As soon as I find out anything, honey.” Anje said, “I promise.” She squeezed Estelle’s hand for a second before taking off to her station, if they were still on the planet, she’d find them from there.
A mere minute later Anje entered her makeshift office at a dead run, sliding into her chair and inputting access codes into the computer, which chirped back, =Identify for retinal security scan.=
“Brett, Lt. Cdr. Anje. Chief Ops.” She said, looking straight into the screen while the computer scanned her eye.
=Identity confirmed, Lt. Cdr. Anje Brett, Chief Ops, USS Elysium.= The computer replied in a voice that sounded alarmingly similar to Lwaxana Troi, the Betazoid Ambassador and the one woman in the entire diplomatic service Anje considered potentially more batshit crazy than her aunt, =How can I help you, Lt. Cdr. Brett?=
“Computer, scan for life signs for the following personnel. Chief Petty Officer Liorga and Crewman Dorso.” Anje commanded, ~This should solve the mystery.~
=Clarify, Crewman Recruit John Dorso or Crewman Apprentice Candace Dourseau.=
“John Dorso, computer.” Anje answered, trying hard to hide her annoyance, not to mention wondering who the Hell Candace Dourseau was.
=Chief Petty Officer Liorga’s life signs are not found. Crewman John Dorso is thirteen meters west of your location.=
“Computer, that isn’t possible. Scan for any and all Deltan life signs in a fifty kilometer radius.” Anje said, ~They might not be able to pinpoint her if her communicator is malfunctioning, but they can identify generic Deltans from even a passive scan.~
=There are nineteen Deltans in a fifty kilometer radius of this location.=
“Computer, filter out all male Deltan life signs.” Anje continued, making the net tighter and tighter each time, “Also exclude any children.”
=There are nine Deltan adult female life signs in a fifty kilometer radius of this location. Crewman Dorso has moved to nine meters from this location.=
“There’s just no way that’s right.” Anje muttered, wishing she knew more about Liorga: some health issue, a prosthetic, anything that could be used to pinpoint her. She was snapped back to reality when the computer chirped, =Eight meters. Seven meters...=
That was enough to make Anje feel the need to get up and check it out, though something in the back of her head told her to tuck her phaser into her belt before stepping out, ~A wise Russian never questions her instincts.~ She thought, putting the weapon in her belt and her jacket on over top before stepping out into the night where she was greeted almost instantly by tall woman with closely cropped gold hair, “Oh, shit!” She squeaked, clearly startled.
“Oh shit is right.” The woman snarled back, a Starfleet issue commbadge clearly visible on her jacket as she produced a small disruptor from the same, “Now, you listen real close, and I won’t have to burn up your pretty face with this disruptor, okay?”
“Ummm, okay.” Anje nodded, surreptitiously moving her hand to her weapon as she did, deciding to distract with small talk, “Love your hair…”
“Thanks, love, but flirt with me later else I might decide I don’t like it anymore and take yours as a replacement, got me?” She snapped, though kept her voice down. Once Anje nodded in assent, she continued, “Now, here’s the deal. We’ve got your friend, they call him Dorso, he’s a real tree trunk of a pretty boy, right? Anyway, he’s sick, and he’s going to die if you all don’t get to him. Now, we’re content to let him die, but we don’t think you lot are. Am I right?”
“Yes.” Anje nodded, “We want to recover our people, both of them.”
“You’re gettin’ him, that’s it.” The golden haired woman replied flatly, “Unless your Captain can outbid the boss’ buyer for the bald girl. You and me, beautiful, we both know he can’t.” She stroked the other woman’s face with the back if her hand, “Now, you’re gonna do exactly what I say, right, love?”
“You’re in charge.” Anje replied, her skin crawling at this woman’s touch, but a plan developing in her mind.
“You and your lot are gonna put five thousand credits in this sack, right?” She began, holding up a cloth sack, possibly a pillow case, “Then we’re gonna drop off your sick man and call you on this thing with his location, got me?” She said, indicating the commbadge.
“Okay, I’ll need a few minutes to get the money.” Anje played along, “I’ll stay in your sight if it helps…”
“Damn right you’ll stay where I can see ya.” The golden haired woman chuckled wickedly, “If ya try anything stupid, your friend is dead.”
“Okay.” Anje nodded, she was completely obedient as far as the golden haired woman knew, “Is there anything else?”
“Yeah, but let’s start with your name, love.” She replied, taking hold of the brunette’s arm.
“Lt. Cdr…” She began, then stopped, this woman didn’t give a damn about her rank, “I’m Anje.”
“Well, Annie love, you’re going to feed me first, got me?” The golden haired woman ordered, “You’ve got one of them replicator things, I want spaghetti and meatballs, with bread and wine.”
“Okay.” Anje nodded, if it would save Dorso and Liorga she’d make this scummy woman a feast, “White or Red?”
“You just surprise me, okay, Annie love?” The golden haired woman answered, “And you make sure the portions are generous.”
“You’ll have a feast fit for a queen.” Anje promised, “Can I ask your name?”
“You just call me Queenie then, Annie love.” She replied with a sneer, “That’ll do just fine.”
“All right, Queenie.” Anje nodded, “If there’s nothing else, I can get that meal started for you.”
“Just one more thing, Annie love.” ‘Queenie’ snickered, “Give us a kiss, huh?”
“Anything you want.” Anje said, immediately complying with ‘Queenie’s’ wishes and kissing her softly on her lips.
“Now that was pleasant.” ‘Queenie’ smiled, enjoying the power she currently held over Annie, “Now, before you go, I think I deserve some sweet talk, don’t you?”
“Of course.” Anje agreed, laughing internally that ‘Queenie’ hadn’t noticed she’d managed to palm her phaser, “You’ve got beauty to match the stars, Queenie…”
“That’s nice.” Queenie nodded, Annie was doing good so far, “Keep goin’ then.”
“It’s an honor to serve a woman like yourself.” Anje continued, thumbing the phaser to a medium stun, enough to knock ‘Queenie’ out at close range.
“And?” Queenie pressed, wanting to make sure Annie knew her place.
“And I love you.” Anje replied, “You’re the woman I’ve been dreaming of.”
“That’s right.” Queenie snickered, “Now, get dinner ready, Annie love.”
“Of course.” Anje bowed her head, walking backwards away from Queenie, “But, first, an appetizer!”
“Appetizer?” Queenie raised an eyebrow. By the time she realized Annie had screwed her in the wrong way she was already lying on her back, unconscious.
“Well, you know what they say, Queenie?” Anje joked, “Love hurts.” She reached down and pressed Dorso’s commbadge, =A=Brett to Elysium, one to beam directly to the brig, inform Capt. Lalor and Cdr. Taylor that CPO Liorga and Crewman Dorso have been kidnapped. Brett out.=A=
Anje watched as ‘Queenie’ shimmered away and hung her head, “Well, now I know what happened to Liorga and Dorso. How the Hell do I tell Estelle though?”
Estelle didn’t actually have the time to come check on Anje’s progress, and she probably shouldn’t have anyway. She trusted Anje. But she was also anxious, and hoped Anje would forgive Estelle for checking on her work. As she came around the corner, she saw the phaser blast in the darkness, then the transporter effect. “Anje? Who did you just shoot?!” Estelle called as she jogged closer, a mode of fast movement she only ever employed when she was concerned about something.
“Let’s just say I had a hot date that ended badly.” Anje replied, holstering the phaser, “The woman who was here, she had Dorso’s commbadge, they have Dorso and Liorga. I’m sorry, Estelle.”
“What do you mean, they have?!” Estelle asked. “Hostages?”
“Yes.” Anje nodded sadly, “Some kind of gang. In a few minutes the messenger will come to in the brig, Cdr. Holmes will break her then.”
“I have things that can help”, Estelle said. “Little droplet in the food, she’ll say anything just to stop being sick.” She wasn’t usually one to suggest these measures, but this was Liorga they were talking about.
“And you know if you do that you’ll go to prison right along with her.” Anje warned, “I know you want to rescue Liorga, but we’ve got to play the long game here. But, there is good news…”
“What could possibly be good about these news?” Estelle shot back, uncharacteristically aggressive.
“It’ll take a couple of hours, maybe longer depending on how much they moved since they’ve captured Li and Dorso, but once I get that commbadge back…” Anje stopped for just a second to make sure she was looking directly into Estelle’s eyes, making sure the doctor knew that not only was it true, but to encourage her as well, “I can track every step they took. Then we can walk right to them.”
Estelle breathed out slowly. She was still tense, but she realised Anje was doing her best to help, and that Estelle worrying and being fussy wasn’t any help at all. “Thank you”, she said after a few seconds, then gave Anje a hug - a very soft feeling at the height of Anje’s face indeed.
“We’ll get them back.” Anje said, her voice partially muffled by Estelle’s voluptuous body, “I swear it.” She meant everything she said, too. She fully planned on storming right into wherever these dirtbags were hiding and taking her friends back, ~The devil himself trembles in the presence of a righteous Russian.~