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Posted on Fri Nov 1st, 2013 @ 2:58am by Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog & Civilian Haqtaj Matlh

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Chief Security Officer's office

Haqtaj strode into her consulate office. It had been cleared out of her official stuff, but she still used it when she wanted to talk "Klingon" rather than "Starfleet" matters. Vartog had got word that she had returned to the station after discussing matters of the Romulan relocation with Klingon High Command.

"Report," She demanded in her normal perfunctory manner. She had been off station too long and needed to get back up to speed fast.

“Madame,” Vartog replied, surprised at her presence. “I did not expect to see you. I thought the station is in lockdown. Commander Delrisa has ordered quarantine. I believe that she suspects plague has broken out.”

"Indeed," Haqtaj responded. "Fortunately for me they needed the authorization of Station Security and I initiated the level 3 lock down after I had embarked."

“There are a number of things to report, Madame. While on the subject of the plague, the refugees are to be evacuated immediately. I do not know where to. I had a quick chat with Pardek after he spoke to Commander Harrison but even Pardek does not know so I suspect the captain does not know either.”

Haqtaj interjected, "That will no longer be possible. A level three containment means no physical transfer and no teleport of live material. We have locked down the refugees. I expect there to be some serious complaints. I do not think they will accept 'quarantine for their benefit' as a credible excuse. Carry on with your report."

“Starfleet has decided to downgrade this facility. I am not privy to their thinking but mess hall talk is that they have decided the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant does not present a threat and Cardassian activity along the border is not sufficient to warrant a full presence here.”

"They haven't been through to the other side," Haqtaj mused.

“There is another Nor class facility at the other end of the Federation/Cardassian border. With the Breen having moved into the corridor between Cardassian and Ferengi space, Starfleet apparently believes resources would be better placed there.”

"ToH! They would post me to the Delta Quadrent if they could. Get me as far away from the Empire as they can. When is this all to happen?"

“I have no definite time frame. This plague has thrown a lot of things into chaos. Commander Harrison is concerned to get the refugees off DS12 before they are infected. That has become his immediate priority. That means plans for our own relocation have been placed on hold.”

"Pah! Federation covert plans and strategies like Ferrengi love Latinum. I sometimes wonder how they fight in their starships without plans in triplicate before every maneuver. What else?"

“I can go into detail as necessary but, for now, may I ask how the meeting with the High Council went?”

Haqtaj gritted her teeth. "I was shown the plans of a Romulan station and the world it orbits. Dead, both of them. Irradiated, scourged and abandoned. Politics is as it has always been. DS12 is to remain my home for a while yet."

“Why?” Vartog asked.

"It seems that someone negotiating the deal has become agitated at the possible misuse of the proposed corridor, especially Ch'Areinnye station, and are putting delays in place. It seems we will not be relocating as soon as we felt we would."

“Typical Starfleet,” Vartog commented. “It wouldn’t happen in the KDF.”

Haqtaj snorted, "You are very fast to assume it was a Federation delegate."

“It’s because I’m Starfleet that I have the right to criticise. They don’t even have access rights yet but they’ve announced to the quadrant that they’re taking over. The mess hall is full of talk of it. And now you’re telling me it’s a lifeless hulk. I suppose we’ll be expected to help get it habitable!”

"Not us," Haqtaj said. "Part of the discussion was a ban on any direct Klingon habitation of the station. That is what caused most of the trouble. The Klingons wanted the right to appoint ambassadors and observers, but the Federation felt it would antagonize the Romulans too much and breach the 'Spirit' of the new accord. The closest we will be able to get is yuQDoq."

Vartog considered for a moment. “I wonder if that is why Harrison is being so cagey about where the refugees will end up. If I was a betting man, I would lay odds they will be the labour force. It was bad enough they had to build their own quarters here but at least the infrastructure was in place. They’ll be starting from scratch there.”

Haqtaj smiled for a moment at how astute Vartog was, "It is worse than you know. The planet, Xartos IV, was purged by the Romulans. THey used that... Petrinar weed extract. The planet is a death world. What areas are not irradiated, are poisoned. Any fertile land of any kind is chocked in Petrinar. I would rather live on a Tribble farm."

“Then it looks like your exile will continue, Madame. That only leaves one matter to discuss. A Federation Marshall has been appointed to this station. His remit is to stop the running of weapons to dissident Cardassian groups. In doing so, he has taken up with that private detective who set up shop on the Promenade.”

"I have spoken with both of them. They are of little consequence to Station Security. One is focused on a broader picture, the other on alternative strategies. I have warned them of consequences of challenging my authority. They seem compliant, for now."

“It seems pirates out of The Triangle have set up an operation somewhere near Ferengi space and are supplying arms all along the Cardassian border. It is another reason why Starfleet want DS12 moved. They think we will be better able to stop the smuggling if we are closer to the source. I mention this because the Marshall is throwing his weight around. I would not mind betting you will soon be replaced as Chief of Security.”

"That," Haqtaj said stabbing a finger in Vartog's direction, "is the first bit of good news I have had."

She seemed to sag suddenly, "What word on Annabella?"

“Annabella....” Vartog ran the name through his memory. “Ah, the child with the plague. All I have heard is that several students contracted the disease. I do not know their status. Would you like me to enquire?”

"Yes," Haqtaj said quietly. "She calls me 'Aunty'."

Vartog knew that this was now personal. While Annabella was not House Matlh, as far as Haqtaj was concerned she might as well have been. “Chief Jrez told me that all of the Science Department has been turned over to finding a vaccine,” he informed her. “They are working twenty four hours on the problem.”

Haqtaj nodded, finding herself unable to speak. Strange that after all the injuries and combat she had faced, it would be the sickness of a Federation child which injured her so deeply.


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