On the Ground and on the Hunt
Season 2: Episode 3: Determination is not always a good thing
After materializing, Turak took Queenie and found LCDR Brett, "Lieutenant JG Turak reporting in, Commander. I would suggest that we start by discretely having Queenie get a look at as many of the local Guard members as possible. Maybe we can spot one of Quin's infiltrators."
"Solid logic, Mr. Turak." Anje nodded, she wasn't dominated by logic, but would acknowledge its skilled usage in the presence of another Vulcan, "Though she's probably a bit easy to spot."
"Sorry." Queenie shrugged, "Ain't had time for a proper makeover. Was on me way to the beauty parlor when you shot me."
"Not an issue." Anje chuckled, now that she wasn't threatening her with a disruptor Queenie wasn't that bad, "We're just going to need a quick costume change, that's all." She tapped her commbadge, =^= Doctor Hertz, could you meet me in the ops tent? =^=
"Of course, Anje", Estelle responded. She grabbed her medkit, which was always packed and ready by her side just in case, and headed over. Walking in, her expression immediately darkened. "What is she doing here?"
"Name's Sara." 'Queenie' replied, "Pleasure ta meet ya."
"Sara," Anje began, "is here to help us get Liorga back, Estelle. We just need her to be unrecognizable to some dirty Home Guard guys who might blow the whole thing for us."
"And you trust her? She's one of them", Estelle said, not at all on board with that plan.
"I think there's more to it than it appears." Anje shook her head, though she understood her friend's anger, "Besides, we don't really have much of a choice. If one of the guys we're looking for is here in this camp and tips Dunphy our rescue team is going to walk into an ambush and probably all be killed, including Liorga."
"Right." Queenie, Sara, replied, "Look, I don't mean ya friend any 'arm. I'm 'oping we can get all my friends outta there, too. Di'n't nobody join Quin on their own accord. Least nobody female..." That was true, even Syren, the number one girl, started out as a hostage, same as the Deltan girl the blonde seemed so interested in rescuing.
"If something happens to Liorga on your accord, you will regret it. And that's no threat, it's a fact", Estelle said, looking 'Queenie' right in the eye.
"Look, I got as much ta lose as you do." Sara began, "An' I'm gonna do everythin' I can to get your friend back to you. Mr. Turak an' Cdr. 'Olmes an' I 'ave already arranged it. You got nothin' to worry from me."
"I don't trust you", Estelle said, switching her gaze to Anje, somewhat to the left and a lot further down. "But I trust your judgement, Anje. What do you want me to do?"
"Apparently there are some Home Guard guys working for Dunphy." Anje began, "We need to make Sara here look different to them so they won't recognize her. I'm thinking you can run the follicular stimulator over her head while I get her a nurse's uniform, then nobody will notice her walking around with Mr. Turak."
"Right." Sara nodded, "Might be nice to see what me real color is. Think I was a red'ead..."
"I know you don't trust her, but Turak will be there the entire time, so even if she is trying to sell us out she's got no chance." Anje reassured the Doctor, "Right, Turak?"
After hearing the conversation between Anje and Estelle, Turak responded, "Don't worry Commander Brett, Doctor, I specialize in getting out of trouble. I will ensure that Sara here is no trouble at all, after all, the Federation has promised her safe passage to another world and new life for her help."
Estelle nodded and replicated a follicular stimulator. That was an item she did not carry around in her personalised medkit, there wasn't usually any call for it. "Okay, I can do that." She took 'Queenie' by the shoulder and directed her to a stool nearby. "Sit down, and hold still. Unless you want hair growing out of your ear."
"Right, right." Sara relented, not wanting to make this Doctor any angrier than she already was because doctors could do all sorts of nasty things to a person if they wanted. She took a seat in the stool and said, "For whatever it's worth, I'm sorry your friend got caught up in this mess."
Anje replicated a teal nurse's uniform for Sara, formerly Queenie and who knew what else, whispering to Turak, "Look, you sure about this? I mean, if this woman tries anything I'm not sure I can keep Dr. Hertz from killing her where she stands." It was true, she'd never seen Estelle this angry before, or angry at all really, this... dark Estelle was disconcerting to her: ducks, pranks, medicine, murder.... One of these things is not like the others.
Turak whispered back, "I can handle her. Besides, if anything does happen, I'll kill her first and then get our people out of there."
Anjee simply nodded in response to Turak and walked the uniform over to Sara, 'Here we go, hopefully I got the sizes close enough to correct." She smiled, handing the uniform to the next ersatz nurse.
"Right, think it'll look good on me." Sara said gratefully, "Ya know, my mom was a nurse. Wanted me to be one, too. Guess every mom wants their daughter to follow in their footsteps though, huh?"
"My mom's a doctor." Anje stated, "Never tried to push me to medicine, though. Guess she knew I wasn't cut out for it."
"Pssh! I'm sure you'da made a great doctor, Annie Love." Sara laughed, "A reg'lar surgeon admiral or what not."
"Nah." Anje shook her head with a laugh, "Can't deal with blood."
"It's Surgeon General. And I can't stand the sight of blood either", Estelle told Anje. "That's why I became a surgeon. Now I know how to make it go away."
"Guess there's that." Sara shrugged, wanting to look around for a mirror to see how she looked, but afraid if she did she might end up having to French braid her ears, "So, 'ow's it lookin' up there?"
"Sufficiently unruly to cover part of your face with", Estelle concluded and put the follicular stimulator down. She wasn't about to put in the effort to make her hair look beautiful. She had neither the will nor the patience for that. "You should get dressed now."
"Yes, Sara, time is of the essence," Turak said, "we need to spot Quin's men as fast as possible."
"Right, right, I'm comin', just a second." Sara replied, finding a reflective surface and giving herself the once over, "Not bad, hey?"
"No." Anje shook her head, realizing that Estelle had, completely unknowingly, given Sara virtually the same hairstyle as Cheline; a chin grazing auburn bob, "You look really nice."
"Thanks." Sara replied, turning to the Doctor, "Wish I could give you a proper tip, but, ya know, no money an' all that. Mr. Turak, we ready ta go?" She asked as she dropped her current, dirty garments and slid into the clean uniform, "Time ta find them bad guys."
"We should contact Capt. Anderson or Colonel vel-Cro." Anje suggested, "They need to know if their guys might be dirty."
"Let's find them first, please?" Estelle asked. "We can tell them later. That's not that important."
Turak asked in a cautious tone, “Have Captain Anderson and Colonel vel-Cro been vetted yet?”
"They're Dominion war veterans, and have been busting a gut for this colony for years", Estelle said. "I think they're fine."
“Understood Doctor, however, I will keep a watchful eye on everyone.” Turning to Anje, Turak asked, “Where shall we start, Commander?”
"I would just mill around and blend in at first." Anje suggested, she wasn't revealing it, but she'd done this sort of thing before, "I'd go for supplies, they're critical right now so nobody would think anything of a nurse having a security escort while she's getting medications or blood. Also means you can pass through the compound, through triage, post-op, wherever." She turned to Sara next, affixing a single pip to her collar, "As for you, your name is Ensign Morgan, you've just graduated from the onboard Academy, you're from Forcas III. Got that?"
"Right. Morgan, I'm new, from Forcas III." Sara nodded, "And what if someone recognizes me?"
"That's where Mr. Turak comes in." Anje informed her, "Get behind him and out of the way, start screaming for help."
"Not really my style." Sara shrugged taking a sharp piece of debris from the ground alongside the tent, "This is a lovely shank though!"
"No." Anje shook her head, "You're playing a Starfleet officer, you wouldn't have a shank. Besides, until we know you're going to come through loyal nobody here is going to trust you with a weapon. Sorry." She turned back to her fellow officer, speaking loudly enough now that anyone listening outside might here her, "Ensign Morgan, Doctor Hertz needs a couple cases of anesthetic delivered to the main surgical tent. Go with Mr. Turak and get it."
"Alrigh..." Sara began, then changed her tone when Anje shot her a look that said 'you're about to blow it already.' "Yes, Commander." She then turned to walk out with Mr. Turak at her side, though she would've still felt better with the shank.
With his rifle in hand, Turak said, "I'll lead the way." Turak escorted Ensign Morgan throughout the compound in a snaking pattern until they came to a supplies tent, along the way he whispered to the Ensign, "See anyone interesting?"
"That Corporal over there, the 'andsome one with the buzzcut." She pointed surreptitiously to her left, "He looks familiar, if I could get a closer look. Or you. Can ya see if he's got a tattoo on 'is neck on the left?"
Looking over, Turak spotted the man that Sara was talking about and saw the tattoo, he said, "I do see a tattoo on the left side of his neck, it appears to be a shark, I can just make out a dorsal fin. Do you know him?"
"His name is Charlie." Sara replied, "He's a dangerous sort. Quin outsources some of his dirty work to him because he likes it. I know he brings weapons and stolen things to the hideaway all the time. So 'e's probably packin' a weapon."
"Understood." Quickly and quietly, Turak contacts Anje, =^="Commander Brett, we have eyes on a man who might be a hitman for Quin. He is near the supplies tent and is likely armed and dangerous. Please send backup at once."=^=
=^= Right, on the way. =^= She didn't know where anyone else was, but she was available. Checking her phaser, she moved out towards the supply tent.
"Umm, 'ey, Mister Turak." Sara began, getting his attention, "Looks like Charlie's got his 'ands right full there." That was probably an understatement, as Charlie was going through the property tent and filling his hands, pockets, and a nearby crate with the belongings of the dead and wounded.
Still in a silent tone, Turak responded, “Just because his hands are full doesn’t mean precautions shouldn’t still be taken. We’ll wait for other security to show up to take him into custody.”
"Oh, bugger..." Sara swore, slamming herself against the wall of the supply tent, "There's trouble. The one that just walked by the medical tent, they call 'im Snake. He used to live at the hideaway before I got brought there, he's the one fed poor Nancy to the pigs after Quin killed her. He's here for a reason, he doesn't just do snatch an' grab jobs, Mr. Turak..."
Anje had almost reached the medical tent when she bumped into a Home Guard Sergeant hard enough to land on her butt, she let out a small yelp as she fell, then looked up embarrassed and said, "I'm sorry, Sergeant, I didn't see you there..."
"Oh, that's alright, ma'am." He replied, offering his hand to assist her to her feet, "You okay?"
"Yes, thank you." She nodded gratefully as he got her vertical again. She noticed his skin was rough, which probably wasn't uncommon all things considered, but it was the tattoos on his wrist that set off bells, they were prison tattoos, "Uh, so, are you here with Captain vel-Cro?" She asked, it was one sure way to find out if he was on the up and up.
"Right, yeah, he's my Captain." He replied, "Good man, Capt. vel-Cro, real credit to Cortic."
"He is." Anje nodded, "I'll be sure to tell him how helpful you've been to me when we speak next." She slipped by him then, en route to the supply tent, hoping Turak was ready because this was going to get bad in a hurry.
"If you're needin' supplies, ma'am, I'd be happy to help you carry them." The fraudulent Sergeant offered, staying close because he thought she might have made him and if she had, she was going to be a beautiful corpse.
"Umm, actually, I am not really looking for supplies." Anje replied, she needed a story and needed it now, "Look, Sergeant, just between us, I'm meeting my boyfriend in the supply tent..."
"Right, I understand." He laughed, seemed she was just another horny little bit of tail like so many others; that meant she wouldn't be any trouble at all and he could focus on seeing who all was in that medical tent, too many of Quin's people were missing and he was losing it, that wasn't going to be good for anyone, "Enjoy yourself then."
"Thanks. Good night." She said sheepishly, playing the naughty girl role to a tee before hustling off towards supply.
"Good night, miss." He nodded, though he kept a very close eye on her until he saw her enter the supply tent.
Anje knew she was being watched, so as soon as she saw Turak in the door of the supply tent, she kissed him deeply, whispering, "We're being watched..."
Being taken by surprise - but understanding what type of show Anje was trying to put on, Turak said, “I’m glad you could make it!” He escorted her in and closed the flap of the tent, but not before getting a good look at the Sergeant. Once inside, Turak told Anje, “Sara thinks that the fake that you just ran into is also one of Quin’s men - a particularly bad guy. My suggestion is set weapons to stun and I’ll take him and you take the Guard who's walking around with a bunch of stolen property in his hands, I’ll point him out.”
"Right." Anje nodded, "I'm good with that."
"Knowin' Snake the way I do he's goin' in that medical tent lookin' for our people, probably on Quin's orders." Sara informed them, "Chances are he's got some sorta automatic weapon, or grenades, or somethin' else nasty. If any of the gang are in there, Quin thinks they betrayed 'im and Snake's gonna go in shootin', Mr. Turak."
"Damn it." Anje lowered her head, "We've got two of them in there. A guy called Bug and another called Jonesy."
"Then ya got no time to waste!" Sara prodded, "If you let him get through that flap he's gonna start killin' people."
"Okay, which one is my guy?" Anje asked, "Maybe if I blast him we can get Snake to turn his attention here and we can drop him before anyone dies."
Without wasting time, Turak opened the flap and pointed out the low-level thief to Anje and then aimed his own rifle towards Snake, who was about to enter the medical tent. With a bright blue flash from his rifle, he saw that the now stunned Snake dropped to the ground, almost lifeless. Instead of running up immediately to restrain his new prisoner, Turak waits out of sight and listens for any other retribution that might come his way with his rifle at the ready.
Charlie, hearing a shot fired, took off running. He wasn't there for anything but a snatch and run job and he'd snatched plenty.
"Would you look at this idiot?" Anje shook her head in exasperated disgust, snapping off a shot at the fleeing thief that sent him skidding into the dirt instantly, "Poor quality of criminals around here."
"Don' look at me, love." Sara interjected, "I'm reformed."
With an older type II phaser in his hand, Captain Anderson peeked around the tent, to see who was shooting at his people. But when he saw the face of the man in the dirt, he immediately know this wasn't one of his lot, an impostor. He knew all his people. He picked the man up with his free hand and pushed him against a wall. He showed then that all his bulk wasn't fat, that it and being so short were the results of originating on a high-gravity world. He was strong, and then some. And he was angry. "Who are you?!" he demanded, shaking the man awake on an outstretched arm.
"This isn't one of your people, Captain?" Anje asked, equally confused and thankful to know that these scumbags weren't actually Home Guardsmen.
"I've never seen him before", Anderson bellowed, his deep and booming voice more pronounced now that he was irate, though there was no aggression towards Anje in his tone. He slapped the man across the face, which incidentally broke his nose. "Speak!"
"His name is Snake." Sara offered, "And that one over there is Charlie. They both work for Quin Dunphy from time to time."
He couldn't recognize her by looking at her, but that voice was unmistakable, "GOLDIE!!! YOU'RE DEAD, YOU SNITCHING LITTLE WHORE!!!" He screamed, "You're goin' to the pigs, bitch!"
"Better the pigs than with you lot!" She fired back, rushing him with ill intent before Anje was able to grab her.
"Whoa, whoa, calm down." Anje instructed, holding her in a grip that was somewhere between a restraint and a supportive embrace, "It's okay, we got them. It's all okay now."
"He fed poor Nancy to the pigs." Sara said through tears, "Others, too. Them what he di'n't kill he raped. You shoulda kilt me, you bastard!"
"Come on, Sara." Anje said, stroking the younger woman's hair, "It's over now. He's going to jail for a very long time, so is Quin. You're safe..."
"That son of a bitch..." Sara muttered, "Murdered my mum 'e did. So he could bring me to Quin. Killed my mum, sold me into slavery..."
"With all due respect, Captain Anderson, can you get this piece of garbage out of here?" Anje asked, "Not sure how much more I can hear without deciding to turn her loose or just kill him myself."
"I have no problem with either option", Anderson replied drily.
Snake started to chuckle, "You know what? You're all DEAD! You don't think Quin's got people comin' behind us? Idiots..."
"Come on, Sara." Anje said, guiding the young woman towards the other fallen criminal, Charlie, "Let's tie this one up before he comes to. Capt. Anderson and his men can decide what to do with him then."
"For now, I'm placing them both in a cell. And once we've got some time to spend about this, we'll get to the bottom of just how much they've infiltrated my people. I'm sure Colonel vel-Cro will wish to interrogate these two personally." And with martial law declared, there was no telling what course of action she'd come up with.
Turak interrupted, "Pardon me Captain," he turned to Snake, "are you willing to talk now? It might look good to a judge that you cooperated. All we want to know is how many more of Quin's men are here and whether our kidnapped people are safe? It would also be nice to know if Quin is already expecting us or has any traps set."
"Snake won't say a word." Charlie piped up, "But I will."
"Shut your hole. Charlie!" Snake ordered, "Or I'll skin you myself."
"You know what? Fuck you and Quin both." Charlie snapped back, "You two morons got me into this, I'm gettin' myself out. Look, there's nobody else here except for the two you got in the medical tent. As for traps, Quin's paranoid as holy Hell, so, yeah, there's traps and ambushes set even when he's not expecting trouble. I don't know anything about any kidnapped people, though. Sorry."
Anje turned her attention from Charlie to the Captain, "Can we arrange some sort of deal for him?" She asked, "Send him somewhere else under an assumed name..."
"No." Charlie interjected, "I know you're trying to help, Miss, but Cortic is my home. My father was a Starfleet marine during the Dominion War, joined the Home Guard when he came back, born here and died here. I was born here, I'll die here. In front of a firing squad or in Dunphy's pig pen. Don't care either way..."
Turak added, "That is your prerogative Charlie, but if I were you, I'd get as far way from here as possible. Start a new life and new traditions." He turned to Anje and said, "I guess we have our work cut out for us and we are going to need more than you, Queenie, and myself. We ought to enlist the help of the Guard." He looked back at Captain Anderson, "Would you and your men be willing to assist with our rescue, Sir?"
"Me, yes", Anderson said. "The Colonel, too, I'm sure. But these aren't soldiers, Lieutenant. They're civil defence volunteers. All but a handful have no combat experience at all."
"We'll buttress them with our own people." Anje pledged, "We've got plenty of combat experience floating around."
"Bring a stacked house." Charlie said, "You'll need it. By this point Quin's got everybody there and ready for war."
"You'll 'ave to kill 'em all." Sara nodded sadly, "Charlie's right."
"The question is, how to take them out without endangering the hostage any further?" Anderson said. "I think your pretty doctor would tear me a new one if something happened to her girlfriend. I was a soldier, before I came here. I can fight, but I'm not subtle."
"We should discuss it with Cdr. Taylor." Anje offered, "I've got it on good authority he's a master of subtlety."
"I shall meet you in the surgical tent once I've put these away and under heavy guard by people I trust", Anderson said. He holstered his phaser, then picked up the other guy with his now free hand, effortlessly hauling both off towards where he had holding facilities already occupied by some looters.
"Very good." Anje nodded, "Lieutenant, we should put our informant somewhere safe, then meet with the Commander. Time to get our people back and end this nightmare."
Turak responded, "Yes, Ma'am, I will have her beamed back to the brig on the Elysium." Using his comm badge, =^="Elysium, this is Lieutenant Turak, please lock onto our prisoner and beam her back to the brig."=^=