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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Posted on Thu Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:06am by Lieutenant Helen Shire
Edited on on Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 12:22pm

Mission: Into The Scorpion's Nest. Season 2, Episode 5
Location: Promenade
Timeline: Current

Alex had grown more distraught. His encounters with Romano and Ulonova had left with more questions than he desired and none of them the right ones. Certainly he could understand that he may have been merely chasing shadows. Seeing conspiracies where there were none. It wouldn't be the first time he had been accused of being paranoid. And yet, something didn't sit right within him. The way Romano's chess board had been meticulously reset. The way Ulonova offered trust and then took it away while still seeming to want to gain his trust. Then there was the the curious disappearance of Sara Lam. She had went out on a basic service repair and she and her team mysteriously never returned. The runabout she had taken remained floating outside the station. Along with a second runabout, from which he could devise was taken without authorization. By whom he still hadn't deduced, but the pieces of the puzzle were starting to fall into place. He had planned to work his way down the chain of command when he noticed Lam's disappearance in order to suss out whether Starfleet Intelligence had been toying with him once more or if there really was something more behind the recent transfers. He had a suspicion that there was more to sending him to DS7 than to merely confront Craig Munroe. An incident he once more failed to get any form of closure to. Now he was certain something was off. He just wasn't sure what it was. Yet. All in all, the situation reminded him of an incident he had studied years before. Or at least he had thought he had studied it. The implanted memories in his head made it nearly impossible to sort the real from the illusions. Regardless, he had no hard evidence. Only a theory to work from. Not even a positive theory with a happy ending. 'Scorch Earth' came to mind when he thought about the possible endings to this particular story. Then again there was always hope. He just needed to gather all of the information necessary so he could make his move. Assuming he even had a move to make. It was often difficult trying to work without falling into the trap of being pulled by the puppeteer's strings.

Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen... His mind began the final countdown even as he stood at a small kiosk admiring Bajoran jewelry. Perhaps he would return and get Brianna one of the pieces. It would definitely help to lift her spirits after the horrible ordeal she had been through recently. Thirteen. Twelve. Eleven... He glanced up at the passersby. The Promenade was a bustling center of activity. Not that he expected anything less, but to actually be there brought a new level of understanding to just how important this station truly was in the grand scheme of things. The merchants selling their wares. The travelers and traders making deals. All oblivious to the fact that before the day was done, they could find themselves wishing they could have just a little more time to set their affairs in order. To say goodbye to their loved ones. To leave a legacy behind. Six. Five. Four... Alex set down the ring he had been looking at. A sterling silver piece in which the bands criss-crossed over one another forming an intricate pattern. He smiled a friendly smile toward the Bajoran dealer and with a nod turned around to gaze down the large passageway immediately finding that which he had initially come here to search for. Three. Two. One. The game is afoot once more.

Alex set off upon his journey stepping nonchalantly as he rubbernecked at the passersby. Each had a story of their own to tell. Of that he was sure. But today, at that instant he was only interested in one story. That of new Chief of Security Helen Shire. Granted her position was only the result of Mason's reassignment, but that wasn't anything to hold against her. With his neck craned to the side he walked right into the gold collared female immediately turning toward her with a look of surprise. Granted he had planned out the entire mishap right down from the moment he had learned of her location and estimated time of arrival to the number of steps he had to take to run into her, but she didn't need to know that. People tended to run into one another all the time by accident whether on starships or on stations. Sometimes it seemed like it was some new way for people to break the ice and introduce themselves to others. Fortunately for him, that very cliche gave him the perfect excuse to approach the officer in question without the typical suspicion one got when he came a calling.

"Oh, excuse me! I didn't mean to... I was just... Well, this place is quite astounding," he said apologetically as he looked her over closely taking in every little detail of her person from her brown hair to her brown eyes to the way she stood to the way she wore her uniform to the way her hands were held and positioned. Every little detail was of the utmost importance whether it seemed apparent or not. Regardless of whether or not Alex's past was what he thought it was, he had been gifted with an amazing ability to profile people and that very gift had come in handy more often than he cared to admit. "Where are my manners? My name is Winters. Alex Winters. I have just transferred here from Starfleet Command. Well technically, Starfleet Intelligence, but I'm sure you had already deduced that from the moment you saw the color of my collar. Then again, it wouldn't be completely off base to say that you haven't had a chance to notice my collar yet and my mentioning it has now drawn your attention to it and brought about a certain level of hesitance and suspicion to me standing here. So I guess in a way we can dispense with the usual pleasantries of who are you and why are you here and move the important stuff. Am I right Ms. Shire?" Alex smiled a half cocked sly grin at the woman before adding, "Of course I am. I'm always right. By the way... What's you favorite color?"

Words were instantly lost on Shire. The entire introduction, clearly well rehearsed had successfully thrown her off balance, putting her in a spin, and all previous thoughts had been erased in an instant. She wanted to laugh to the unusual encounter, but the joy couldn't quite reach her eyes, instead she offered a wry smile and with an air of caution she responded to the rather cryptic question: "Pink, minster Winters. My favorite color is pink, but I fail to see how that matters right now since you clearly have a motive to stopping me. Why do I have a sudden urge to check your identity or to ensure my phaser is still in its holster?"

"Because you have good instincts, if a little on the paranoid side, said the pot to the kettle" Alex commented with a sly smile, "Of course pink is a bit of a surprise. Not a complete surprise mind you, but a surprise nonetheless. It denotes love and beauty. Two things you may or may not even be aware that you have deep within yourself. I do have to wonder how you can't see why that matters. It matters more than you can possibly imagine. It is a reflection upon the very core of your soul. Not to mention it gives me a great deal of information about you that I would never have discovered simply by doing my homework and reading your official profile. After all, those things can be forged. Much like that identity of mine you wish to see could be. You and I have never met. Therefore, why would you even consider taking me at my word? Of course, if I was not who I said I was then it would seem rather strange of me to take on a role of infiltration or terrorism or whatever my secret purpose here could possibly be to pretend that I am an Intelligence officer from Starfleet. Especially when a Security officer or an Ops officer or even Command would give me access to the critical areas or systems I may need to get access to in order to carry out whatever devious plan I or my employer may have dreamed up. Then again, maybe the Intelligence angle is a ruse to make you think one thing and have you look one way when really I am heading another. So when it comes down to it, your instinct to grab your phaser may very well be the correct one except for the fact that I may have a phaser as well and then it becomes a wild west showdown to see who can grab theirs first. A scenario in which I would prefer to avoid for the sake of our safety among other things. Not that I'm afraid to do so, but I can't be sure that I will win such an activity and to be honest it really wouldn't serve any purpose we would want. Unless you are the type who enjoys shooting people just for the sake of doing so. Not that I would blame you. The power to control another through force can be quite enticing and enjoyable if you like that sort of thing. So tell me Ms. Shire... where are we off to?"

"We?" Shire quized feeling unnerved by Winters thought tried not to show it. "Since when did you decide to tag along, without my permission my I add?"

"Permission? Permission?" Alex responded as if the word was foreign to him, "No, no, no. You have it all wrong. You see it is far easier to apologize later than it is to ask permission now. You see it is quite apparent that something interesting has taken place given the way that you seem to be moving with a purpose. Now given the fact that you are moving with a purpose that means that something either personal or professional has your attention. However, given your location and the direction you are heading I would gather this is more along the lines of professional than personal, especially considering the way you are dressed. Now it might not be something terribly important that you are heading toward, but then again, even the smallest of snowflakes can create an avalanche as the saying somewhat goes. So, it is therefore a foregone conclusion that someone accompany you in case things do become more than what they seem. Basically, the buddy system. Granted you could always call one of your own department members in to assist you and that would probably put your mind at ease more than traveling with someone you don't know anything about, but... that isn't exactly true. I have given you an incredible amount of information about myself in the past few minutes that should be more than sufficient enough to quell any form of mistrust you may or may not be feeling toward me. Plus there is the other reason we both know is why you are going to invite me to tag along...." Alex smiled broadly at her as he paused for a reaction and then said, "I'm good conversation."

That part was obvious since he could talk someone to sleep without much effort. Considering the situation Shire was about to enter and smooth talking individual would be useful. She, like Mason despised politicians.
"Fine," Helen snapped striding off, "Don't fall behind."

"I wouldn't dream of it," Alex responded with an acknowledging nod falling into step next to her. Perhaps even a little too close given his personal bubble was most likely far smaller than hers, "After all, if I fall behind I might never get to where we are going. Now granted staying behind you is tactically the safest place for me to be given your relative use as a human shield or for that matter getting the drop on you, but that discourages trust. And isn't trust exactly what we are attempting to build here? Exactly! Because without trust how can either of us do our jobs to our fullest capacity? We would find ourselves constantly looking over our shoulders and thus be giving ourselves far more headaches than needed. So, I will walk beside you and we will see how acting as equals works for the both of us... So where are we off to?"

"To the Klingon Embassy," Shire supressed a weary sigh. Luitenant Winters was already grating on her with his constant babble. "To investigate a missing persons report."

"Extraordinary! We haven't a moment to lose then have we?" Alex said with the thrill and excitement that only a mystery could invigorate. Missing persons, crew being moved off the station with no manpower being brought in to replace them. The Captain and the Commander both acting far more guarded and offensively defensive than would be expected of individuals in positions such as theirs. It all reminded him of the chess board so neatly set up in Romano's office. Like someone was placing pieces for a power move. But to what end? Most disconcerting was the seemingly lackadaisical attitude the command staff had to the entire situation. Perhaps Alex was reading more into the situation than was necessary. He had to admit, he was grasping at straws, but it was kind of like the curious incident of the dog in the night-time in which the dog did nothing. Which, of course, was why it was so curious.

Alex soon saw their destination ahead past the crowds of people going about their daily lives, unaware that under the surface of this seemingly utopic setting, something dark may be working just under the surface. Alex checked his pocket for the small phaser he always carried. If he was to deal with Klingons, he knew that force and bravado might be needed rather than just plain common sense, "Tell me Ms. Shire. How extensive is your experience with Klingons?"

"Not as brilliant as you're I would imagine." Helen couldn't help but retort. "I am still breathing, or least last time I checked"

"That's not necessarily a bad thing when you look back on it," Alex explained, "Dealing with Klingons, much like dealing with anyone is a matter of acting and reacting. Knowing what you are getting into before you get into it and then playing the role to your advantage in order to direct the outcome into your favor. Granted you cannot always do that without the proper amount of information, but there are a number of different techniques that are simple enough to use to get that information. The key then becomes knowing how to take that information and use it to your advantage while you still have the advantage. So this brings us to our Klingon friends and the intergalactic incident waiting to happen. Do you have a plan or are we just going to make it up as we go along?"

"With a little luck we should be in and out promptly with the minimal amount of trouble, though I doubt it will be that easy since all indications say this missing person is actually deceased." Shire heaved a sigh moving the pair smoothly around a corner toward the Embrassy. " It may fall to us to determine who this person died was once autopsy has been completed. First thing, we need to retrieve the body, or at least ask permission to do so."

"In my experience I have learned that it is far easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission," Alex commented lackadaisically. The idea of dealing with Klingons so far behind the notion of finding a body and then figuring out what happened to it, "Regardless... Don't forget to puff out your chest when you talk to the Klingons and if you make a threat, be sure it is one you can back up. The Klingons will not be afraid to call a bluff. Especially if it means getting into a fight to the death. Don't let them bait you. Swallow your pride, keep focused on the task at hand, and if worse comes to worse... pull a phaser and start shooting. That last one is important because if you want to survive you better shoot first." Alex stopped and a smile crossed his face as he swung his arms back with a rocking of his body and brought them forward in a clap, "Well, how about that? We're here." He smiled over at Helen with the kind of smile that gave the impression that there was a possibility no good could would come from this.

To Be Continued...


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