Part Three: The Real Masterminds
Worf entered the holding room uncertain as to why Captain Klag had summoned him there. Kur'Tok was seated behind a rectangular table with the same cold stare on his face. Worf flashed a smirk of pleasant surprise that Kur'Tok was still alive. A Klingon would rather die than be taken prisoner, especially if he truly believed in the Ku-Vok-leth’s cause. Otherwise, this was the point where the prisoner would try to make a deal with the justice system.
"He said he would only speak to you," Klag explained.
"Why?" Worf asked with a contemptuous glare directed at the prisoner.
"You have served both the Empire and the Federation honorably," Kur'Tok said with a wry grin. "I have information you might find useful."
"What kind of 'information'?" Worf skeptically asked.
"The Ku'Vok'leth were not responsible for today's events."
“You will say anything to save your own life,” Worf sneered, needing all his mental energy to restrain himself from assaulting the prisoner.
“I would not lie to avoid death,” Kur’Tok insisted. “You know that would not be honorable.”
Worf effortlessly flipped the table on its side, coaxed Kur’Tok upright, and shoved him against the wall squeezing his neck. “You speak of following traditions of honor,” the ambassador snarled, “yet you still use dishonorable means to achieve your goals. Tell me the truth. How did you obtain enough boronite to synthesize an Omega molecule? And who are your co-conspirators in the Romulan Empire?”
“What will you do if I told you?” Kur’Tok wheezed. “Lodge a formal protest? The Senate and the Tal Shiar would just deny everything.”
Worf shoved Kur’Tok’s head against the wall with his hand squeezing his neck, and then forced him back in the chair. Worf then whipped out his d’k’tag and held it to Kur’Tok’s neck. “Tell me what you know,” he demanded with a murderous rage in his eyes. “If the Ku-Vok-leth was not planning on using Omega explosives against the Federation, then who was?”
“This data chip will contains all the information you need,” Sloan told Kur’Tok, handing the Klingon a circular optical data reader. “Once the first field tests are underway in the Narendra system, you will have successfully infiltrated the Ku-Vok-leth.”
“I understand,” Kur’Tok responded plainly. He took the chip from Sloan’s hand and placed it in a side pocket.
“Remember our agreed upon pass code. When we meet again, I will not be the person you are seeing now. You understand that this is not just about combating Klingon separatists still following to the old ways. We are looking to protect certain secrets, which if exposed, would give the Ku-Vok-leth and the political enemies of Chancellor Martok an excuse to stage a coup and declare war on the Federation. Such an outcome would be disastrous to both our peoples. According a Vulcan axiom, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ Your people believe that a warrior’s honor is more important than his life. And sometimes we need to sacrifice a few lives for the benefit of the greater whole, even though they are your own countrymen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Perfectly,” Kur’Tok sneered. He then quietly walked out of the room.
“What kind of secrets?” Worf demanded, pressing his dagger against Kur’Tok’s neck.
“He would not say,” Kur’Tok replied, trying to give no signs that he was afraid for his life. “We were to synthesize an Omega molecule and then ship the explosive device to the Tezwan system.”
“Does Martok know of this?” Worf asked, remembering that the chancellor sought out Kur’Tok as a “person of interest.” And Klag was sent to apprehend this agent. In all likelihood, Kur’Tok was an operative of Imperial Intelligence who was recruited into the Section 31, although the accuracy of that assertion was classified.
“As far as he’s concerned, I’m just another enemy agent,” said Kur’Tok. “He had to be out of the loop so he could have plausible deniability.”
Worf opened his mouth to speak, but then held his tongue. He simply placed the knife in his holster and looked back at Klag. Condemning the actions of Section 31 would not have done any good. As much as Worf insisted that he was acting as a brother of the House of Martok in seeking to bring the chancellor’s would-be assassins to justice, he knew now that he had the same aspirations as Section 31--to assure the continuation of a regime that was an ally of the Federation. That was the result when he murdered Duras in order to avenge the death of Alexander’s mother. And then when Gowron was a threat to Federation interests, Worf killed him giving Martok the chancellorship.
“Do you have proof of this?” Worf asked, pulling the dagger away from Kur’Tok’s neck.
“Do you think these people leave behind proof that can be easily found?” Kur’Tok retorted.
Worf placed the knife back in its holster and motioned for Klag to accompany him out of the holding room. Worf sauntered down the corridor while Klag had to jog just to keep up with the ambassador. Worf gave a quick visual survey of the general vicinity to make sure no one was around to listen in on them. “What is the status of repairs?” he asked in a hushed tone.
“Warp drive will be up and running within the hour,” Klag answered plainly, while still curious about Worf’s need for secrecy.
“I want you to make long-range communications a priority as well,” said Worf. “We have to warn Deep Space Nine. I believe everything that has taken place in the last few weeks was engineered by a secret organization working on behalf of the Federation that calls itself Section 31. They may have been seeking a reason to declare war on Tezwa.”
“The Tezwan are no threat to either of us,” Klag replied. “They have been a major source of dilithium since the end of the war.”
“True, but the fact that an explosive device containing Omega was being delivered to Tezwa cannot be mere happenstance.”
“Then we should inform Starfleet Command or even the Federation Council.”
“No. They have neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such an organization in the past. Whatever the motives are, they are not honorable. We will have to take more… covert action.”
Commander Donatra entered Subcommander Murot’s quarters accompanied by her personal guards. Her second-in-command just rolled his eyes as if she had tried many times before to arrest him on trumped up charges and returned his gaze to the desk monitor. He had on previous occasions been accused of trying to usurp her position only to be swiftly exonerated. This arrest seemed like more of the same.
“Subcommander Murot,” Donatra announced sternly as a guard removed Murot’s personal sidearm, “you are under arrest on charges of mutiny.”
“I don’t understand,” Murot replied with feigned ignorance.
Donatra removed a padd from a holster presenting evidence of his latest transgression. The Romulan justice system was not required to disclose all the evidence against a criminal defendant. In this case, however, Donatra felt she needed to demonstrate she had an airtight case against her executive officer. “You have been in constant contact with the Tiralihaan. In fact, Suran followed us all the way to Nimbus Three.”
“Then I guess I’m guilty,” Murot taunted, rising from his seat and handing Donatra back the padd. Knowing that betraying a commander was a crime punishable by public execution, he added, “I await execution.”
That was probably what he was hoping for, Donatra mused, so that other moles aboard the Valdore could continue trying to undermine me. “Put him in the brig,” she ordered her guards. “High security priority.”
The guards immediately complied, leaving Donatra to consider how she would weed out the rest of Suran’s informants on the Valdore.
Subcommander Bralek triumphantly entered Commander Suran’s private chamber without even bothering to ring the doorbell. Fortunately for the commander, he was not reviewing classified Tal Shiar reports. It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust his own executive officer, but Bralek seemed rather determined to find something incriminating against Donatra. That kind of ambition meant that he might consider Suran an impediment to certain career goals. “We’ve got her,” the subcommander proclaimed, holding up a cylindrical data storage device. “She came to the aid of the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire and a team from one of the attack cruisers orbiting the planet. These are the sensor logs taken from our passive scans as well as from the surveillance drones.”
Bralek placed the device in a slot on Suran’s desk monitor. A holographic display of Donatra’s conversation with Worf appeared just above the desk.
“You are the Federation ambassador to Qo’Nos,” Donatra said in the recording. “I know of your distrust of my people since the Khitomer Massacre. But I do not ask anything in return. I am here as a gesture of good will.”
“But at great risk to yourself, “ Worf replied,“Your superiors may be displeased with what you have done here.”
“You needn’t worry. I have friends in ‘high places’ to quote a human expression. Do you or your ships require further assistance?”
“No, but thank you. You have acted… honorably here today, Commander.”
Bralek quickly removed the data storage device from the disk monitor, and the display instantly disappeared. “We have enough evidence to charge her with treason.”
Suran quietly considered the contents of the recording. He then turned off the desk monitor’s screen and slowly rose from his seat. “No,” he said plainly.
“But, sir, it’s something you’ve been waiting for five years.”
“If we were to accuse a Supreme Commander in the Star Navy of treason, there would be a full military tribunal. And our involvement will be revealed. Too many people will know that we informed the assassins of the arrival of the two Klingon vessels. That is a risk the Tal Shiar would not be willing to take.”
“Then why did we bother following Donatra to Nimbus?”
“It was simply a cover in order to keep the minor details of the mission itinerary on a need-to-know basis. I only tell you now because everything has already happened.”
Bralek held his mouth open in disbelief.
“Now, should Valdore fail to return to ch’Rihan intact,” Suran continued, “or if Donatra should be injured or killed, I will know you were responsible. Guards!”
The two personal guards quickly marched into the room awaiting orders from their charge.
“Escort the subcommander to his quarters and confine him there.”
Bralek remained at a loss for words as the guards grabbed him by the arms and escorted him out of the room.
Suran then returned to his desk monitor, preparing to have the rest of his informants on the Valdore transferred off in the guise of orders from the khre'Riov.
Deep Space Nine
Doctor Simon Tarses ordered a mug of tea from a replicator at Deep Space Nine’s Replimat during his noon break from the Infirmary. He saw Ezri Dax sitting at a table by herself while slowly working a padd and sipping her beverage. Simon grinned and quietly tiptoed over to her table. “Hello, Lieutenant,” he said cheerfully, while seating himself in the empty chair.
“Doctor,” Ezri replied with a grin. “Is that a Vulcan blend?” she asked of the familiar minty aroma of his tea.
“Not sure,” Simon replied. “It’s definitely not Romulan though.”
Ezri squinted her eyes, not sure how to react to Simon having a sense of humor about the lie that could have ruined his Starfleet career when he claimed to be one-quarter Vulcan as opposed to one-quarter Romulan on his Starfleet application. “At least you’re finally out of the Infirmary,” she said, “If only for a while.”
“Today’s a slow day, fortunately. So what’s happening with Captain Sisko?”
“Bajoran Freight and Shipping is still deliberating whether or not to press charges. But not if Kasidy has anything to say about it. The Vedek Assembly will also be giving them an earful. It’s all just formality, really. He was trying to protect his wife and kids.”
“Who’s to say you or I wouldn’t do the same under those circumstances?”
“Audrid might have. Tobin definitely would have. Of course…”
The banter was interrupted with a comm chime. “Infirmary to Doctor Tarses,” came a feminine voice.
“Go ahead,” Tarses said, after taking a sip of tea.
“The Defiant has entered the Bajoran system. Doctor Bashir has wounded on the way.”
“On my way, Standard triage protocol.” Looking back at Dax, Simon added, “Duty calls, Skipper.”
“Please don’t call me that, kid,” Ezri snapped back. Why she called him that when he was older than her, she was not exactly sure. Maybe it was a habit she picked up from one of the Dax symbiont’s previous hosts. The Curzon in her was often annoyed at young men who seemed too eager to please.
She looked back at her padd when the comm chimed yet again. “Ops to Lieutenant Dax,” Thelev called.
“Go ahead, Mister Thelev,” Dax answered with a tap of her combadge.
“The Defiant will be docking in five minutes. Captain Kira wants to see you in her office as soon as she’s disembarked.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Ezri retorted, knowing the trip to Ops wasn’t that long. She had five minutes to spare plus another five usually devoted to the de-embarkation process. “Duty calls,” she muttered to herself taking another look at the padd she was studying.