USS Bajor NCC-97238 Department of Security, Case #2401, Classified Lambda-5 RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO
File Reference RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO DC-4: Investigating Officer's Personal Log
I am Dul'krah, son of Var'takh, Home-Clan Korekh, Blood-Clan Rustra, Ship-Clan Bajor.
My people have a saying. Tuivakh ver eshalakh. The truth is mighty. It is this saying that gives the name to the service that keeps the peace among the Clans. The Ver Eshalakh are a Clan unto themselves. It was my pleasure to serve them actively for nineteen standard years, and though I am part of the Federation Starfleet now, I still serve them in a passive role. Once part of a Clan, you leave only by doing dishonor to the Clan's name.
My people have no name for themselves as a whole. Even the name by which the greater galaxy knows us, "Pe'khdar", was given to us through a misunderstanding. The Ferengi who rescued us from our ruined homeworld asked us who we were, and we replied, "The last Clans." This in our tongue is 'pe'khdar', and so were we named. It suffices. The Federation calls our state the Pe'khdar Nation for Council representation purposes, but we ourselves hold allegiance to only the Clans with which we are affiliated. It is the Assembly of Clans that gives the Federation allegiance, not individual members of our people.
At present the most relevant of my affiliations is my Ship-Clan, where I am the elder in charge of ship's security. It also means I am responsible for all criminal investigations undertaken in the purview of the USS Bajor. On occasion we are tasked to investigate outside the ship. One such occasion is today.
I am in my quarters, researching chord conversions for my latest effort on the vodchakh. I am told by Great Elder Kanril the instrument resembles a small seven-stringed lute that one plays like a violin. The description is apt: I am familiar with both instruments and once successfully translated for the vodchakh a short violin piece by a human named Lindsey Stirling. Such conversions are a hobby of mine and my project of the moment is a tlngDagh piece by Korbak, son of J'mpok. I hear that the twelve-times-damned war criminal's only son is somewhat of an embarrassment to his father for having no interest in becoming a warrior or politician, either of which would be a waste of a great talent in my opinion.
I raise the vodchakh to my chin and bring up the bow, intent on attempting the first movement, when I am interrupted by the chime of the ship's intercom, indicating I have a page waiting. Annoyed, I strike the key with the bow. "This is Lieutenant Korekh," I answer in Federation Standard English.
"Dul'krah, it's Eleya. I've got a job for you. Report to my ready room ASAP, please."
"I am en route." I lay aside the instrument and mutter a short prayer to Vo'tak, the night god who watches what must be set aside, before opening my door and stepping into the corridor. I step around two Bajoran crewmen traveling in the direction of the shrine Kanril had installed in compartment 0847 on this deck, and continue to the bridge turbolift. "Bridge."
Elder Phohl is there to greet me. "Lieutenant."
"Sir." I duck under the doorframe, as usual—the Galaxy-class interior designers did not have beings of my people's typical height in mind—and follow the Andorian to the starboard door, taking a glance at the viewscreen. Our course must have changed while I was off-duty: The plot shows us headed for the Ayala system.
The door slides open and I come to attention for Kanril Eleya, Great Elder of Ship-Clan Bajor, who is talking to someone over subspace. When I received my assignment to the Bajor before her launch I considered it odd to serve under one so much younger than I. My people tend to favor leaders with greater length of experience. But she has proven her worth abundantly in my opinion: her decisions are practical and she is fiercely loyal to the Clan. "Commander Desdin, with all due respect to the PR department, Nicodemo Basurto's holodramas are pointless, asinine exercises in navel-gazing, and I am not disrupting the lives of my crew so he can make a couple million credits at some self-indulgent film festival nobody off Earth has ever heard of! Go find some other schmuck!" She hammers the disconnect key and turns in her chair to face me, shaking her head in annoyance. "At ease, Dul'krah." Elder Ehrob, in charge of engineering, steps away from the wall.
"Captain. Commander. If I may ask, what was all that about?"
"Some nonsense about using the Bajor as the set for a holodrama, and unless I get a direct order from Starfleet Command it's not happening so ignore it."
"Very well. I note we are headed for the Ayala system. What has transpired to require our diversion from Jouret?"
"How's your security clearance?"
Odd question. "Sigma-9 all, Chi-4 by code word."
"Good. As you saw, we've been diverted to Facility 4028. They've had a break-in."
For a supposedly utterly secure prison, 4028 has had remarkable difficulties of late. First there was the incident with Kar'ukan and the female Founder last year, and then a group of rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession broke in to retrieve an ally. "What details can you share, Captain?"
"I don't know much right now; they weren't sure the channel was secure. But we'll be there in four hours. There weren't any escapes this time, though, if that's what you're wondering."
"That, among other things. Casualties?"
"ISIS' main core is offline and one of their live staffers was badly injured," Ehrob answers. "She's been medevac'd to the USS Brisbane."
"Danger of further escapes?"
"Minimal, if the report we've got is any indication," Phohl replies. "Fortunately the Brisbane was in the area, but they're not set up for the kind of investigation this calls for, so Commander Chennapragada deployed her security forces to hold the fort and called for backup."
"That's us," Kanril finishes. "Nearest available big ship."
"Do we know anything else, Captain?" She shakes her head. "Then if you will excuse me. I need to inform my team. Commander Ehrob, I will likely require the services of Master Chief Kinlo again."
The bearded Andorian male nods. "I'll let her know."
"Thank you, sir. Captain."
Kanril nods. "Right, you're dismissed, Lieutenant. I'll get the relevant files cleared and sent to your office. ETA, three hours, twenty minutes."
I stop by my quarters before proceeding to my office and light the brazier. Or rather what I am allowed to use in place of a brazier on a starship, a bowl with an electrical heating element at the bottom. I retrieve a small canvas pouch from my desk drawers, remove a pinch of dried fashkh leaf, and drop it into the brazier. It is an offering to Chul'teth, goddess of the sun, she whose fire illuminates all mysteries. I stay there for a full five minutes, surrounded by the fragrant incense, meditating.
My religious obligations met, I proceed to my office, located on deck 5 adjacent to the main brig, distribute the files to Lieutenants McMillan and K'lak and Senior Chief Darrod, and bury myself in them until the Bajor comes out of warp. I glance over the dossier on the USS Brisbane NCC-26240, Lieutenant Commander Sumati Chennapragada commanding, a 130-year-old Miranda-class somehow still in one piece, before moving on to the file on one Commander Imara Stadi, the staffer injured during the attack, a file which proves far more intriguing. Stadi is a specialist in xenopsychology who assists with some of the more … exotic inmates, and an author or co-author of over two dozen highly regarded papers in the field, including one on my people. She is also a MACO, though not a currently active one, and earned two Purple Hearts for combat injuries and the Karagite Order of Heroism for service against Nausicaan pirates during the Klingon-Gorn War. A MACO-trained psychologist, and a Betazoid at that, is a novel prospect for questioning, but what interests me most is how whomever undertook the attack overcame one with such abilities.
"They were augments, that's how," Stadi answers. She lies in the Brisbane's sickbay with one arm in a sling and the other with an IV. She is in her mid-thirties, has red-gold hair cropped military-short, and a face that I understand most near-humans would consider classically beautiful is marred by a jagged scar that runs from the corner of her left eye across her lips, and ends underneath her chin.
"And what?" She gives me a confused look.
"I do not see the issue, sir."
"For starters, they were stronger and faster than me, and that's saying something—I'm a heavyworlder."
"1.65 gravities and I work to keep it." Impressive. That's even heavier than my people's homeworld Dar Klatus. I ask her to continue. "Other thing is, I got a brush with their minds. They knew they had a strength advantage over me."
She coughs a bit and I hand her the bottle of water on the desk next to her. She sips some and continues. "They beamed in firing, and when I didn't go down from the phaser blast and tried to take them hand-to-hand they broke my arm in two places and then smashed my foot for good measure. Then they took off towards Isolation Zone A. All I saw."
"Wait, they attempted to stun you and it failed?"
She shrugs her good shoulder. "Some sort of weird virus I picked up in my commando days. Aftereffects left me basically immune to low-power phaser fire. They didn't have the gun set high enough."
"Curious. That suggests they were trying not to leave a trail of bodies behind." She gives a noncommittal murmur in response. "Describe them for me, please."
"Didn't get a particularly good look; happened too fast. Two meters or less in height. One was Cardassian, female, the other a human or Betazoid male. The human had … dark blond or brown hair, about shoulder-length, and dark eyes."
"Just emotional impressions, Lieutenant, nothing really clear. I did get a sense that they were after something in particular."
"Or someone?" I suggest.
"No, definitely a 'thing', I got that much."
My combadge chirps. "Lieutenant, this is Chief Kinlo. I know how they got in and I've got a pretty good idea who they were, too. Meet me in the Primary ISIS Core when you get a chance, please."
"I am on my way." I look back to the commander. "Unless you can tell me anything else?" She shakes her head. "Very well. Be well, sir."
I beam down to the airless planetoid into which the prison is built and follow the indicators towards the core. I stride past a group of orange-jumpsuited inmates standing against a wall, guarded by a pair of Starfleet Security officers from the Brisbane in full riot gear, and make a right turn. Kinlo is standing at the console, typing furiously. Elder Phohl is there, too, and I snap to attention. "Sir."
"As you were. Chief, tell him what you told me."
"La Famiglia Motta, sir," the Klingon answers without preamble.
"I beg your pardon?" I ask.
"You familiar at all with Earth-based organized crime, Dul'krah?" Phohl asks.
"Somewhat," I say in a non-committal tone. The answer depends greatly on exactly which group one asks me about. The Ver Eshalakh have had … encounters with le Milieu, which did not end in their favor, but my people tend to keep to themselves.
"Well, some of the old Sicilian mafia families that managed to survive the humans' World War III branched out into space after Earth went warp-capable, set up shop on the fringeworlds. The Mottas were particularly successful, made alliances with the Orion Syndicate among others. On occasion they've even had the balls to go up against Starfleet directly. Remember that clusterfrak at Torgo VII a few years back?"
"Master Chief, how do you know they are responsible?"
"The attackers used a Trojan to knock ISIS offline so they could board. I recognized some of the code when I decompiled it. Classic piece by the Mottas' pet cracker Ron Harper. Goes by Erasmus Omega on the extranet."
"Commander Stadi believes the two who attacked her were genetic augments."
"That tracks with what I know of the Mottas," Phohl agrees. "They've been known to have their enforcers augged on some of the independent planets like Adigeon Prime."
"Are they also known to specifically avoid killing people, even if it leaves witnesses behind?" Phohl gives me a confused look. "Stadi has a physiological oddity that renders her immune to low-power phaser fire. They overpowered her hand-to-hand only after she failed to fall unconscious."
"No, you've got me on that one. Maybe they were in a hurry to get in and out before the Brisbane arrived."
"Sir," Kinlo says, "I just got the Warden online."
A hologram of a riot-armored white-haired human with a somewhat large nose materializes next to us. "That hurt," he says. Then he looks down. "There seems to be a problem here." I hear Phohl stifle a bout of laughter, and Kinlo quickly hammers out a few lines of code and the Warden's lower half rotates 180 degrees. "Ah, much better."
"Warden," I order, "Starfleet Security override, authorization Mike-Foxtrot-34844-Theta-3. Perform self-diagnostic and report status of all facility regions."
The Warden freezes in place and flickers for a moment, then resumes in a distorted monotone. "Reading severe security breach in Secure Storage Four."
"What is stored there?"
The Warden returns to his normal voice, with a worried look on his face. "Not what, sir, whom. I need confirmation of all of your security clearance levels before I continue." Phohl asks for the code word. "Material is classified Lambda-5, code word ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO."
After glancing at Kinlo and I to see if we leave, Phohl says, "Confirm security clearance through Lambda-5, ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO."
"The head of Lore is missing."
We stare at the Warden blankly. Finally Kinlo asks, "Who in the name of qeylIS batlh is Lore, and why would anyone want his head?"
END OF PART ONE
Author's Notes: The Lindsey Stirling Dul'krah refers to is a real life indie artist I like, a hip-hop violinist who also does the odd cover of soundtrack tunes such as "Dragonborn". Look her up on YouTube if you get a chance.
The reference to J'mpok as a war criminal refers to the attack on Korvat in 2405, which meets the definition of ethnic cleansing and is therefore a war crime, and yet another reason I wish Cryptic would just have Worf chop his damn fool warmongering head off already.
Eleya's rant about not wanting to let the Bajor be used as a holodrama set is meant to poke fun at one of the other prompts for this LC. I commented in the discussion thread that I really couldn't see Eleya, or Morgan t'Thavrau for that matter, letting it happen, because as front-line combat officers they have this irrational dislike for being interfered with by unqualified civilians. As for Brokosh? Meromi'd probably end up using their equipment for martial arts practice.
The "rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession" bit refers to the Foundry mission series Star Trek: Allegiance, one which I highly recommend. Sumati Chennapragada, the CO of the USS Brisbane, refers to a rather good piece of Star Trek fan erotica I read once called "A Bad Day for Shore Leave".
As far as I know there is no actual Motta crime family among la Cosa Nostra. As for why there are still mafia in Star Trek, just because Earth is supposedly a paradise doesn't mean the rest of the galaxy is.