To the Desk main page
Back to the Station Index Page
©05 The Media Desk
See Below for More Info
back to The Patrol Part 2
The dark ship pulled away from the station and vanished in its unusual warp field.
"Mission briefing in five minutes." The Colonel said to his crew.
Wan was standing in his pilot's bracket, "I not like meeting. I'm pilot."
"And a danged fine pilot you are too." The Colonel said.
"Just put the ship on its auto pilot, not yours." Kavel added.
The team gathered in the huge holodeck.
"Pantraisia." The Colonel said. Then the bare deck became a city.
They looked around. "I've been here a couple times." Aashth said.
"This is Farnond Weis Maiost Hupnoble Cotch." The Colonel said ignoring Aashth and making sure he pronounced the last name as 'Kootch'. He nodded to a rather striking alien that was walking by them. "He's a strong man in the local government, and has pull all the way into the Federation Council. The problem is, he's dying with no legal heir, his brother is corrupt, his opposition is worse, and when Cotch goes, the civil government is not going to be able to keep a lid on it. That's the brother. Farnond Dubnoble Meft." He nodded to a slightly nervous and uncomfortable hologram that peeked out of a nearby building and carefully scanned around with a small device before darting out of one doorway and into another.
"How old are these images?" Kavel asked.
"Cotch? A year. The rest. Three days."
The city shifted around some, he pointed across the street. "That's the office of Cotch's strongest rival, the Peist cartel. But they are almost wholly owned by off world interests and would end up bankrupting the planet in short order. That's Brosc, one of the heads of the cartel."
"How did things get this bad?" Rontel asked.
"A new breed of politician came in after the war. Interested solely in promoting themselves and their own comfort. Cotch used his position and influence to keep things moving and progressing. It's now to the point where the civilian authorities are incapable of running the government."
"Let military do it." Wan said.
"The military can't do it either. Since the planet joined the Federation all that is left of the military is a bunch of medal polishers. The old guard is dying off, like Cotch. Part of the problem is these people don't just reach out and take authority, they hate making decisions by nature, and they seldom miss an opportunity to squabble over the smallest detail.
"Wonderful." Rontel said with no emotion.
"So they want us to go in there and set up a government before Cotch dies." Aashth said.
"But what happens when we leave and the brother or the cartel or whoever else doesn't like it."
"We will see to it there is no meaningful opposition to the new coalition government."
Aashth smiled widely. "Now you're talking." He jerked his thumb back down the holographic street. "Starting with the brother."
"Probably. But not until he turns over his holdings and interests to Cotch's youngest child."
"Wait a minute, you said he doesn't have a legal heir." Marot said unable to read the Colonel at times.
"He doesn't... yet. He's about to gain a daughter however." He put his arm around Rontel.
"Am I not going to enjoy this." She said with a plain face.
The ship rocketed towards the Walie system undetected using its own brand of warp drive.
Rontel's appearance had been slightly altered to make her look a little bit like Cotch. There was no danger of anybody wanting to do a DNA scan to confirm her identity, if they did, their equipment would have some sort of fit and the Colonel could run his patter to do another test, using specially prepared instruments.
They all practiced the local custom of hand clasping in greeting. The younger/lower ranking person would put both their hands in front of them palms together, the older/higher ranking person would then press their hands to the others, fingers extended straight, making a sandwich of the younger persons hands. To not do this, to either not present your hands properly, or to refuse to clasp them, was a snub of first magnitude and had more than once resulted in a bloody feud. There were books on the etiquette of hand clasping, one of the favorite debates of the traditionalists was that the hands were supposed to angled toward the face of the other person so they were clasped at right angles.
"I just break their hands." Wan said flexing his mechanical hand.
"We have to fit in. I intend to use the angled approach." The Colonel said.
"Cotch presents his hands parallel to the ground." Rontel said. "I'll do it that way."
"The girl's done her homework." Aashth said making a face.
"Have you?" The Colonel asked him.
The security man pulled out a small device and strapped it to his wrist, he produced several more and passed them out. "Some of the more paranoid of the Wali carry small weapons, some of them even have them implanted in their bodies." He activated his device and aimed it at the Colonel, a red light blinked on. "This detects concealed weapons at close range, you probably can't carry a tricorder openly, this should serve just as well."
Marot looked at her device. "And what if they are?"
"Call me. It's also a communicator on a secure frequency."
He looked at the Colonel, "I Borg-encrypted a Dominion frequency using an old Vulcan prime number based algorithm."
"You scrambled it." Rontel said.
In a couple of hours they slowed to impulse and approached the system under 'silent running' conditions even though they were fully cloaked.
"OK, this is always the worst part." The Colonel said as they approached the system's defense perimeter. "What are we looking at?"
Wan didn't even move in his bracket. "Warp ban within the system. Active scans from infrared through subspace. Motion sensors in high orbit of the inner planets, fighter patrols, and regulated flight lanes in and out." When Wan was discussing piloting, he could talk a blue streak.
The Colonel nodded. "Suspects?"
"Already charted, two incoming ships, a private freighter and a Star Fleet supply ship."
"Planning on snuggling up to the freighter?"
"Negative. They're going to an asteroid mining center. The supply ship is our target."
The Colonel nodded. "Your call."
As the freighter glided past them Wan moved the now invisible ship into the space lane. Soon the old Star Fleet ship overtook them.
"This class of vessel has a blind spot amidships along their dorsal line." Wan said to nobody in particular.
The ship slid sideways in space as the supply ship approached, then Wan eased into the power and they were cruising through space as nicely as you pleased.
"They are completely unaware of our presence." Wan said.
"Very fine piloting." The Colonel said. "Let's get ready to go."
The dark ship stayed fully cloaked and assumed an orbit directly beneath an orbital ship maintenance facility. Once there, Wan cut all power to subsistence levels and put everything he could in standby mode. The others were readying everything they needed to beam down to the planet.
"Do we have to flash beam again?" Marot asked.
"They've got sensors everywhere." Kavel said, "We've measured a gap in the cycle we can flash into. Otherwise, they'll read the transporter signature."
"How scared are these people?" Rontel asked.
The Colonel, in his costume stepped into the chamber, "You really don't want to know. Planet one ready to beam."
"Stand by, cycle coming up." Kavel said.
The chamber filled with fuzzy energy, the Colonel ignored it. Kavel pushed a button, "Automated. See you later." He said to the Colonel, he nodded back and waited as the computer calculated when to do it.
Then he was on the planet.
Nobody was around. He reached for an icon of one of the local hero-demigods on a chain around his neck, "I'm here." He said. There could be no reply.
On the ship they sighed, the first was always the worst. One miscalculation and he could have beamed into a tree or, even worse, another person who happened to step into the landing zone. They had had some near mishaps.
The Colonel walked away from the site and looked around. He recognized the alley they were in. The housing unit they were going to use was nearby. Cotch's name was part of the name of the building. They had their own entrance to the building off a small street around the corner. A livery vehicle rumbled by on narrow tracks. He relaxed and watched the people to see how they actually carried themselves.
"Are we in the right place?" Rontel asked from behind him.
"Yes." He made sure he avoided eye contact. Something the Wali were very frantic about.
In a minute, Marot joined them. Then Aashth.
"Let's go, in couples as planned."
The Colonel and Rontel stepped into the street and acted like everybody else. In a minute they were in their room. They immediately scanned every inch of the room and put a small device on the communicator panel that prevented eavesdropping without it seeming like somebody was trying to block eavesdropping. Then the Colonel opened the small satchel he was carrying, a control panel and display lit up.
They were soon joined by the others.
"OK. Here we go." The Colonel touched the panel, "Two days from right now I want to be on my way out of here, I already hate this planet."
"Wait until you have lunch." Aashth said. "Their food is lousy."
"Later. You've got a meeting with the brother." The Colonel took Rontel's hand, "We've got a date with the Tribunal."
Events unfolded at a furious rate. The Tribunal called Cotch and asked if the young woman was really his off world daughter returned to live her life as his family. Cotch agreed with everything they said, although he had no idea what was going on, he recognized the Colonel's hand sign and his icon.
The Tribunal then called Meft, the brother, to see if there was a challenge.
"I've met her, fine young woman. A little quiet though. I myself was just planning an off world trip to see the Malorian Clouds. I have no challenge to her claim. In fact, I am assigning my affairs to Cort until I return."
The panel went dark. Aashth stepped out from behind the brother and removed a large metalic object from against the back of the man's neck. Meft slumped to the floor. As lifeless as he had been for the last hour as they waited on the call.
"His tickets are booked through Vhlattle. His baggage has already been sent aboard a shuttle to the station. He's about to make a bad deal with the Ferringi and wind up in an ion chamber someplace." Marot said.
Aashth nodded and stuck a silver disk to the body. "Go." He said into his icon. In couple of minutes the body vanished in a cloud of fuzzy energy.
The Colonel and Rontel, now named Farnond Weis Cotch Sheewei, found themselves the subject of intense scrutiny as they caught a vehicle to Cotch's compound. The Colonel watched for anything that seemed unusual. All the Wali he looked at avoided eye contact. His newly displayed badge of 'Protector' gave him some leeway to issue more of a challenging front than a regular citizen.
Aashth touched the call button on the front of a building. "I am here to see Brosc." He said when they answered.
"Brosc is busy."
"We have trouble."
"That's why Brosc is busy." Then a pause. "Who are you?"
"I am from the Liet cartel."
"We have no dealings with them."
Aashth didn't want to do a song and dance. He would much rather shoot his way in, gun down Brosc, blow up the building and beam out. But this had to look like an inside job. "Cotch has kept something behind a screen. We need to make plans. Dracca sent me to talk to Brosc."
"Tell Dracca to come himself."
"Dracca can't leave his room, he's sick." Aashth hoped that was believable.
The door vanished, "Up the passage." The voice said.
Marot was smiling charmingly to a trade representative in the Federation Mission. She was going to talk her way in, and plant some volatile information that would break the backs of two of the other cartels.
Not only did the young man admit her to the offices she wanted to go to, he walked her there himself. He couldn't tear his gaze away from her dark eyes until she smiled at him.
Later, alone for just a moment, she slipped several data crystals into several places in the offices. Then she just as charmingly talked her way back out.
Some time after she left the aid woke up feeling like he had just forgotten a dream.
That evening Aashth sat in their room and reported to the Colonel. "They should be finding our boys any time now."
"Which method did you use?"
"Fumes. There was no other way."
The Colonel nodded. "Collateral damage?"
"There were several others in the building. But they seemed to all be part of the cartel."
The Colonel sighed, "It was the only way. Marot?"
"No problem, it's with the stuff they sent out before they closed tonight."
"OK, we're moving in the morning. Meft's son is about to get a promotion." The Colonel checked his schedule. "You guys got your assignments?"
"Make sure the Peist cartel is hamstrung. Off any officers trying to put it back together." Aashth said.
"Get into the Tribunal and sew the seeds for the coalition."
The panel beeped and displayed a print message. "Ahhh, a messenger is calling for us to come to Cotch's quarters, there is news from the Peist cartel."
"Bad news I hope." Aashth said before the Colonel cut off the transmission.
The Colonel stood his post at the rear of the room, protecting Rontel.
Cotch was pushed in, he was in extremely bad shape. His breathing was assisted, his voice amplified. "Most of the leads in Peist have been killed, they blame the Liet. There is violence between them. Some have made statements that they blame us. The Tribunal has released a statement that three other cartels are being investigated for dealings off-world with unwholesome elements, part of this investigation leads to my brother and his businesses, but he is missing. He probably took his goods and is in hiding, or is deceased."
Cotch's protectors tried to get him to go back to his quarters, he gestured them away weakly. "I want Sheewei to make peace with Cort, join together, bring us back to peace."
The young heir stepped forward and presented her hands to him, he moved slowly but he clasped them.
"I will do as you wish." She said as his shaking hands enveloped hers.
"I know you will." He said to her, but he was looking at the Colonel. "Here, before this company. I subject all my interests and possessions and allies to Sheewei. She shall speak for me forever." He clasped her hands a little tighter. Then and only then did he permit his protectors to push him from the room.
"So we have heard." One of the two members of the Tribunal present said. "So shall it stand."
Rontel looked around at them. She did a very good job of convincing them she was a scarred young woman suddenly in command of about a third of the planet.
"I will go to Cort tomorrow. We will make the peace."
"What of the Murttisan? The Liet? They will not allow this to go smoothly." Somebody said.
"They have their own problems. If we present a united front once again, they will either become one with us, or they will fall." She had practiced the speech.
Several in the room shouted Cotch's name for a few minutes.
As the sun rose over the city there was more news.
Somebody had destroyed a compound where the Liet cartel's leads were planning their retaliation. The majority of the leaders of the cartel were either killed or seriously injured, the cartel's central database was a total loss.
Aashth smiled. "That's more like it." He wiped heavy dust off his boots and sleeves.
Marot shook her head. "Get cleaned up, we're going to see the Tribunal."
"Party killer." He sneered.
The Colonel decided that for security reasons Rontel shouldn't go to Cort, Cort should come to her, except their tradition of mourning dictated that Cort maintain a vigil in his father's chambers until burial. But since it wasn't known for sure if Meft was even dead, Cort broke his mourning and called together such of his father's assistants as he could find, many of them seemed to be missing as well, and they set off for Cotch's compound.
There was a brief, but expressive period of uncertainty as both Cort and Cotch's heir presented their hands in the submissive posture for clasping with downcast eyes. In a moment Cort, as the male, clasped her hands snuggly.
"We must confer in private." Rontel told Cort in a voice just above a whisper.
The Colonel subjected Cort to a personal search then nodded that he may proceed with the heir.
Inside Cotch's office Rontel turned to Cort and asked if he minded if she asked him some questions.
"You may ask if it pleases you. This is a most serious time." He answered quietly.
"How do you feel about off-world control of business?"
Cort did not made eye contact with her, "It is not in best interest of our people's future."
"Do you approve of the way your father handled his part of my father's business?"
"No. He cost us much of what we were. I believe his enemies finally called in their charges. If he is alive, I do not expect to see him again. But he knew the risk, just last Festival he said he was worried about..." He stopped talking and looked out the armored window.
"If you were suddenly in Cotch's chair, what would you do?"
He broke their taboo and looked into Rontel's eyes, she held his gaze firmly. "What do you mean?" He asked.
There was an odd haze in the room. Marot smiled at Cort. Rontel introduced her as one of her closest advisors. Cort looked at Marot and just for a brief second met her eyes. It was enough.
Cort blinked, "Was somebody else in here with us?"
Rontel nodded. "An assistant brought me a message, but she left immediately."
"I would be honored to sit in Cotch's chair for you, thusly for him."
"You will re-establish the peace between the cartels and the government?"
Cort stood tall and stared out the window at the great city beyond. "I will BE the peace."
"You understand I cannot stay here to assist you."
"Your commitment to the Federation's Interspecies Relations Office is most important. I will strive to be worthy of your and Cotch's trust."
Rontel smiled, she nodded to the far corner, the room was suddenly hazy again.
Cort looked around like he thought he had seen something.
Rontel covered it well, "The first thing you should do is have someone see to the lighting in this room, it seems to shimmer once in awhile."
Cort agreed, "Yes. It is most distracting."
They went out to the gathering. Cotch was wheeled back out. The news hit the room like a photon torpedo, only Cotch was aware of what had transpired throughout the last few days. In front of the entire room, and the entire planet over the comm system, he blessed the arrangement. Some of the others were skeptical. But some seemed to expect it, especially the few members of the Tribunal that were present, they all approved of the arrangement. Cotch, with great effort, clasped Cort's hands and smiled.
"Not bad." The Colonel said in his office on the black ship as they rode out of the system in the ionization wake of a robotic bulk hauler. He tapped his timer, then smiled, "Not bad at all. And with minimal casualties." He pulled off his gloves.
Aashth frowned into his cup of something with an unhealthy yellow tint to it, "Not for lack of trying though."
Rontel looked slightly confused, "Is there an Interspecies Relations Office?"
The Colonel shrugged, "I imagine there is something like that, somewhere in the Federation. If not, there should be."
Continued in: The Patrol Part 4
Back to the Index Page
Legal stuff below.
[NOTE:This Story Is FAN FICTION. This presentation carries the copyright The Media Desk, 2005. Author retains all rights, including the right of approval for publication. STAR TREK, and all images and situations affiliated with STAR TREK are originally owned and copyrighted by PARAMOUNT STUDIOS and other entities. They are used in this story without intent to harm or otherwise defame PARAMOUNT or the estate of Gene Roddenberry. If either of those parties object to it, the story will be pulled immediately. The Media Desk is not in any way affiliated with PARAMOUNT. For information contact Levite. Email- drleftover[~at-]themediadesk[~dot-]com (email scrambled to screw with spammer robots), or surface mail to: The Media Desk, PO Box 1276, Dover, DE 19903 ]