Imperial Intelligence Headquarters, First City: Qo'noS
There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes…
By the time Elessa and Laria had returned to the First City, it was nearly midnight. Laria bypassed the security protocols to help herself to a deserted room in the Imperial Intelligence decryption laboratory. She figured that the Chancellor would want an update on the contents of the Romulan data chip as soon as possible. She also took the liberty of uploading her own music playlist into the computer. It would take her mind off the earlier bloodshed and the fact she was still away from Daniel. She danced around the empty computer stations as she prepared to extract Drusilla's secrets.
And there's a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin' whiskey down
They say, Brandy, fetch another round
She serves them whiskey and wine…
"How did you get in here and what is that noise?" an angry voice screamed from behind her. She spun around to see a very perturbed Dokath staring at her.
"Oh it's you," she said looking at him before going back to her work. "For a second, I thought it was someone important."
"You are a Federation officer and the decryption lab is one of the most secure areas of Imperial Intelligence Headquarters!"
"If that's the case," Laria said making a few adjustments to a computer screen. "Then you should probably update your door access panels to something above Class III Security Protocols. It's kinda the equivalent of making your password, 'password,'" she said feigning a smile.
"I should have you arrested for espionage!" he shouted again.
"That would be a poor idea, Agent Dokath," a booming voice echoed from the doorway. It was Chancellor Martok with Torlek and Lady Elessa in tow. "Right now, she's doing your job better than you are."
"My Lord," he said desperately, "the equipment in this room is highly sensitive. She is a foreign agent and doesn't have the access to be in here…"
"Please," Laria said inserting the captured data chip into a reader attached to her station. "I built computers more complicated than this in grammar school…"
The sailors say: "Brandy, you're a fine girl"
"What a good wife you would be"
"Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea!"
"Interesting choice of soundtrack…" Martok muttered as he stepped towards Dokath and Laria.
"Yes, Chancellor," Laria said entering a few codes into her computer. "It's Agent Dokath's personal playlist…"
Martok turned and glared at the Klingon agent with his one good eye. Dokath frantically waved his arms as Torlek and Elessa held back laughter.
"If you would just tell her to refrain from attempting to access the data chip until our analysts have a chance to examine it," Dokath pleaded. "We don't know what kind of security protocols it has. If she makes a mistake, it could wipe the entire chip or worse. If you give us just one or two weeks, we can safely…"
"I just cracked the encryption on the chip," Laria said interrupting him. "I'm bringing up the data on the main screen."
"That's impossible!" Dokath replied. "It would take our best agents days to do that."
"You mean the same ones that couldn't figure out how to fool a tribble?" Laria said with more than a bit of side eye cast in his direction.
On the room's central holoscreen, a huge list of numbers and information appeared.
"It's in Klingon," Laria said shaking her head. She turned to Torlek and Elessa. "What does it say?"
Torlek blinked twice and took a step forward.
"Everything…" he replied in amazement. Martok, Elessa, and Dokath were also shocked. "This is far more than just a bank ledger. This has their bases of operation, their business partners, the locations of all their secret off-world accounts. It's a running backup of their private computer network!"
"With this, we can finally bring down the worst group of traitors in the Empire's history," Dokath said.
"First things first," Martok said trying to bring focus back to the matter at hand. "Did the Duras try to kill me, and if so, who paid them to do it?"
"Agent Dokath," Laria said turning to her new best friend, "I believe you can take it from here." She relinquished control of her monitor to him. He quickly scanned the chip's contents.
"Here it is," he said after a few seconds of searching. "The Ferengi account did belong to the Duras family. The last deposit reads as 10,000 Bars of Gold Pressed Latinum from the Zupindi Mining Consortium. It was five days before the assassination attempt."
"Mining Consortium?" Elessa said confused.
"I've heard that name once before," Torlek said. "During the war, I conducted a joint operation with the Romulans to retake a system near the Badlands. They asked for the assistance of a Klingon squadron. We wondered why the Romulans would be expending so much effort to retake a group of minor planetoids, until we landed and realized it was a Tal Shiar listening post. It was in the Zupindi Cluster and camouflaged to look like a venderite mine."
"The Tal Shiar," Martok said. "So it was the Romulans…"
"It appears a data packet was sent along with the deposit," Dokath added. "I'm bringing it up on the screen."
Everyone in the room gritted their teeth when they saw it. It was surveillance footage taken of the Chancellory. Martok's daily schedule, his locations at various times a day, even the composition of his security detail was prepared in a neat little package and given straight to the assassins.
"And yet they still failed…" Torlek said.
"The Romulans believe that information is power," Martok said. "I tend to believe that power comes from the strength of your people's spirit. In that regard, they will never be stronger than we can be."
"Who in the House of Duras ordered the mission?" Laria asked. "And where are they? The sooner we kill them, the sooner I can get back to my ship and Agent Dokath can be rid of me."
Martok chuckled as Dokath continued to search the chip.
"The assassins were already on Qo'nos, but they received their orders from a Duras compound in the Subik System on the outskirts of the Empire," Dokath said. When he read the transcript of the transmission, he turned to his companions. "It is signed, Toral, Lord of the House of Duras."
"So, he does live…" Elessa said. "It looks like we must fulfill a promise made to his recently departed mother."
"Lord Torlek," Martok said turning to his Chief of Staff, "Take a strike team to the Subik System. Find the lair of the traitors. Capture them if possible. If not, I want his corpse in my office so I can eat his heart."
"jIyaj joHwI," Torlek said with a bow. "May I recommend a smaller strike team on a bird of prey? Their signature will be smaller and less likely to signal our arrival."
Martok nodded his ascent before departing. Dokath continued to copy data from the chip into the Imperial Intelligence mainframe. In one day, Laria had accomplished more than his entire organization had in ten years.
"Laria, you will accompany me to the traitor's base," Torlek said. "Lady Elessa, you will remain here on Qo'nos. We leave in three hours."
"Qapla', My Love," Elessa said touching her husband's crest to her own. "Go to victory with honor."
"Once again," Torlek said grinning at Elessa, "you have brought great honor to us and our house."
Laria sat on a stool watching the old couple express their love before battle. She just wished she could do the same with her own husband right now. She reached out with her heart:
"I hope you can hear me right now, Daniel. There's more blood on my hands, and I'm not sure I like it. But, I love you, and there's one more I have to kill to get home. Don't worry, I'll see you soon."
As she stood up to go change back into armor, the music still played on the lab's speakers…
He said, "Brandy, you're a fine girl"
"What a good wife you would be"
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"