[USS Vanguard] RPG: Troubles Ahead

  • From: "Andy W. Ho" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: USS-Vanguard <ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2002 13:35:53 -0700 (PDT)

Fleet Captain Dominic Santos
Starbase Brigadoon
After Lela's recent post

Capt. Dominic Santos strolled into Sickbay, the doors sliding shut
behind him.

"Secure," he barked at the doors. Turning to Dr. Droin and Zena Quetan,
he asked: "What is it?"

The Vanguard's Chief Medical Officer moved closer to her patient on the

"Captain, you're looking at a Trill carrying an aritifical symbiote."
Droin let the words hang in the air.

Santos looked closely at Sachim Delta. After a brief pause, he turned
to Zena.

"What do you know about this man?"

Quetan replied, "I've never seen him before today. He arrived by
commercial transport. Doctor Droin tells me that he's carrying a
message for me."

"What does it say?" Santos asked.

"We don't know," Droin added. "We haven't been able to decrypt it."

"Then how do you know who it's for?" Santos frowned.

"The header was all we were able to get," Quetan replied.

Santos studied Delta silently.

"Contact the Commission on Trill. Describe this man to them. Try to
find out if he has any family, his background, when he went
missing--that sort of thing. If he comes to, call me right away. I want
to speak with him. In the meantime you may want Highwaij to look at the
message, and try to get Lieutenant Khan working on the symbiote. Find
out what's harming him, and we may have the key to the mystery."

"Aye, sir," Droin said.

"Thank you, sir," Quetan said.

"Keep me posted," Santos said, exiting sickbay.

Santos was halfway to his office when his comm badge pinged.

"Santos here."

"Captain, it's D'Angelo."

"Yes. Go ahead."

"I have two new additions to the starbase who would like to meet with

"Have them meet me in my office. Santos out."

A turbolift and minute later, Santos strolled into his office and
watched as a Benzite and Terran rose to their feet. Denville D'Angelo
stood behind Santos's desk, standing at what one might call "parade

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Santos told D'Angelo.

"Captain, it's a pleasure to meet you!" the Terran said. The Benzite
sat quietly and did (and said) nothing.

Santos walked behind his desk, as if to study its display. Something
about the Benzite made him nervous, and he didn't know what it was.
Perhaps it was the way his eyes kept following Santos's every move.

Santos shook off the cobwebs and looked squarely at both of the

"Ensign Chad Rea [non-playing character] and Lieutenant Commander Talik
[non-playing character]. I'm familiar with both of your service
records. I've looked forward to meeting with both of you."

The Terran, presumably Ensign Rea, beamed.

"It's Talik."

"Pardon me?"

"My name. You pronounced it 'TA-lik.'" The Benzite overemphasized the
first syllable. "It's 'ta-LEEK.'"

"Commander Ta-LEEK then," Santos smiled. The Benzite didn't return it.

"Well, then, we'll be having a banquet tonight. I'm hoping you
gentlemen will join us, of course."

"It would be my privilege," Rea said. Santos sensed he meant it.

"Thank you, no," Talik frowned. "HUMAN food doesn't agree with me. And
I've noticed these functions are geared toward HUMANS only. I think
it's rude. I choose not to participate."

"That's certainly your prerogative," Santos said, dropping all attempts
at diplomacy. Starfleet protocol didn't necessitate all officers be
courteous to ranking officers, but why did this one feel the need to
goad the lily?

"Unless there's anything else..." Before the words were out of his
mouth, Talik stood up, turned and left Santos's office.

Ensign Chad Rea lingered behind, and Santos sensed he needed to say
something else.

"Is there something else, Mister Rea?"

"Sir, I just wanted to say...I think it's a shame they reassigned the
Vanguard. I was looking forward to serving under your command aboard
that ship."

Santos studied Rea and noticed the young ensign didn't flinch under his
gaze. Bit of composure for a junior officer barely out of the Academy,
Santos thought.

"Thank you," Santos replied. "Hopefully, you'll find that Starbase
Brigadoon can be just as challenging and rewarding."

After lunch at the Klingon barbecue restaurant, Santos returned to his
office for his weekly conference with Counselor Jaav E'thexx. The two
discussed the morale of the crew.

Halfway through the list, Admiral Sayer burst into Santos's office.

"We have to talk," Sayer blurted out.

"I can see that, Thad. Why don't you have a seat. Get yourself a cup of
coffee." He nodded imperceptibly at E'thexx, asking the counselor for
privacy. E'thexx nodded back, but Sayer caught it, shaking his head and
motioning him back down.

"I can say this in front of the counselor. Nick, what do you know about
Mandrake's current whereabouts?"

"I know I'm not privy to them," Santos said without a trace of rancor.
"He's been sent on an assignment under a veil of super secrecy. At your
request, I'd like to remind the admiral."

"Stow the anger, Nick. Weeks ago, shortly after the Vanguard's return,
the admiralty decided to bust up the criminal organization, The Pitt
Contract. We debated how we would do it, but in the end we went with a
single operative, someone with the skills, attitude, and background to
pull off something like infiltration."

"You mean 'undercover,'" Santos said, cocking his head at Sayer.

"Precisely. We had worked out a way for Mandrake to contact us. He was
not to miss an opportunity. He would contact us every seven days to let
us know his status. He missed his last two check-ins."

"How is he supposed to contact you?"

"That's not important."

"It is to me."

Sayer sighed. "We had another operative tailing him. She was supposed
to be his eyes and ears in case anything happened. We have reason to
believe she's been incapacitated. Nick, I don't need to tell you what
we think."

The pause between the two men was heavy, like a wet wool blanket.

"I think you better," Santos remarked.

"We have reason to believe that Mandrake's gone native."


"We believe he's joined the Pitt Contract."

Faster than Sayer would believe, Santos was around his desk and face to
face with him.

"Get out."

"What...?" Sayer said, backing up a step.

"You hold me at this station and strip me of my ship, fine. But don't
you dare insult one of the finest, bravest, most dedicated officers I
have ever had the privilege to serve beside. Get out of this office.
We'll mount our own investigation. We'll bring him home. But don't ever
say a negative word about one of my crew to my face again."

There was a limit to what you could say, even to an officer who knew he
had misstepped.

"Don't you dare threaten me, Captain."

"Then don't make wild accusations. Mandrake will come home."


And at that moment, light years away, Kieran Darkwater was observing
the subject of Sayer's and Santos's conversation.

He had been watching and following for days, waiting for a chance to
get Mandrake alone.

He watched as the leader of Mandrake's "cell" met up with leaders from
another cell. Mandrake was dismissed to guard the front while the
meeting took place.

Darkwater ran, head low, toward Mandrake.

[To Be Continued]

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