Star Trek: Defiant

"Power Play" - Part Eight

Written by Valas Maerret

Admiral Schell strolled out onto the causeway. It was quite chilly this morning on Bajor, and he pulled his coat tight. He glanced at the scenery of the city before heading for the shuttle landing bay.

Schell was leaving for a long diplomatic mission, which would take him to several worlds, lasting nearly two weeks. He wasn't fond of long trips, but the importance of this was great. More than anything else, it would strenghten his hold on several sectors, and provide him with a strong political backing. It was just another part of his most grand scheme.

He finally reached the waiting shuttle, and was greeted by the pilot, a rather loyal lieutenant to Starfleet.

After a few minutes, they were on their way out of the atmosphere. Bajor slowly began to get smaller as the shuttle moved farther away.

The pilot was about to bring the shuttle into warp, when an alert signaled from the console.

A ship decloaked directly in front of them. It was a starfleet ship, soverign class.

"What the devil is going on," Schell remarked, unhappy with the rather brash intrusion into his flight. The full scope of his situation did not hit him until he saw the call letters of the vessel.

And in that instant, his face lost all color.

A tractor beam settled around the shuttle. By this time, the pilot was furious at the audacity of this encounter, and began hailing the ship and Deep Space Nine. He thought Schell would be pleased with the way he was handling the situation, but when he turned to the Admiral, he saw him sitting with a most blank look.

"Is everything ok, sir?"

There was no response from the Admiral for a moment. Then suddenly he raced to the communications console. He began furiously punching commands.

The pilot was about to ask what was going on, when he received a communication of his own, sent from Bajor.

* * *

Captain Bridges looked evenly at the viewscreen, Mak beside him.

Lebin approached the two. "Sir, Starfleet Command says they're ready for us to beam the Admiral to a holding cell and bring him back to Bajor."

The captain nodded. "Very well. Is transporter room 1 ready?"

"Yes sir. They have a lock."

* * *

"You must help me now," Schell stated with more than a touch of desperation.

The nanites, listening to his plea, replied "No more help can be given now, Admiral Schell."

One. They didn't call him One, Schell thought. Indeed it was over. Schell felt the full affect of his situation now. There was no way out. He had no plan. He could recall few times in his life where he didn't have a plan. Today was one of those times, and now he would pay for it with his life.

The lieutenant pilot, who had trusted Schell so implicitly, now had a phasor pointed at the Admiral, and was patiently awaiting Schell's removal from his craft.

A moment later, the transporter field engulfed the Admiral.

* * *

"Sir, we have some faint subspace instability bearing..." Clark began, but was interrupted by the comm system.

"Transporter room 1 to bridge! The confinement beam is being redirected!"

Three Romulan warbirds decloaked between the Defaint and shuttle.

"Transport complete. The admiral did not arrive," came the call from the transporter room.

Lebin shouted "They're rescuing him!"

"I sincerely doubt it," Shuriik said.

"Open a channel to the warbirds," Bridges ordered. "Do we know which warbird his was beamed to?"

The transporter room replied "We can't tell for sure."

"This is captain Bridges of the U.S.S. Defiant. You have seized an admiral of the United Federation of Planets. Return him at once and surrender your vessels."

"The warbirds are moving away quickly and cloaking."

"Fire at will - lay in a pursuit. Can we track them?"

"They appear to be breaking formation, heading in different directions. I only have a good fix on one."

"Follow..." the captain began, but trailed off. "No, its trying to lead us away. Head away from that one. I want fully active sensor sweeps."

Several escort craft from Bajor began joining the pursuit. They deployed sensor probes and used advanced sensor nets to help find the warbirds. But in the end, they could only close in on one warbird.

It did put up a good fight. The admiral, however, was not aboard.

After looking at all the evidence against Schell, Starfleet decided not to put too much heart into their search.

* * *

"I don't know how many times we're going to have to go through this, Shuriik," Dr. Laine said wryly to Mak as she put the final touches on the Novachron's recent surgery.

He grinned. "Whatever it takes to come in and visit you more often, doc."

Lebin and the captain entered sickbay. "On your feet yet, old man?"

"It takes more than a little slug to thwart the plans of this Novachron," Mak replied.

Rael held a canister up for everyone to view. The Trill was inside, suspended in a liquid. "Here he is. Cute little guy, isn't he? Where do you want him?"

"Throw him in the brig," the captain stated jokingly.

Mak rubbed his stomach. "I don't know how you guys walk around with those things, Adam."

Lebin returned a sour look. "You forget that I am one of those things."

"Sorry, Adam. Sometimes its hard for us to perceive that mind and body are not always the same. A lesson I have been reminded of all too well these past few days."

Lebin grinned. "Come on, I'll walk you to eight-forward."

Mak got off the table and followed Lebin out of sickbay, leaving the captain with Rael.

Lebin was eager to get some of his questions cleared up. "When was it that you were able to get back control of your senses?"

"Four days ago. Right before the first meeting with the captain in his ready room. I must say I'm suprised our little ruse lasted as long as it did."

"Why didn't you just let us all know at that point?"

"Vex, and therefore I, knew that Schell had the internal sensors tapped. If I wouldn't have pretended to proceed with his plans, then Schell would have attempted to destroy the ship sooner. Our only hope was to play along like everything was going as planned, and wait until we reached a ship or starbase that we could inform directly. That meant bringing the senior officers into the ready room one at a time for their 'cerebral alterations'. The internal taps to the ready room were disabled as per the admiral's plans, so instead of doing the operation, I simply informed the crew one by one of the situation, and one by one, they started to play along."

"Why couldn't we just have informed Starfleet through subspace radio?"

"Starfleet still was't aware that Schell was a traitor," Mak began.

Lebin interrupted "How is that possible? We've sent all those communiques in the first days of the nanite invasion."

"Yes, we did. So that means that somehow our messages never reached Starfleet."

"But we received replies to those messages."

"Sent by Schell, no doubt."

"How is it that he intercepted those messages, and kept Starfleet from seeing them?"

"The only theory we can come up with is that he somehow rewired a large number of subspace relays. We know that the nanites, when first coming into Federation space, overran many of the relays in the alpha quadrant. The crews at those relays said they were able to drive them off, oddly enough, and reported that no damage was suffered. Apparently, though, the damage was very subtle and specific. They rewrote part of the internal computer core in the relays. Reprogramming the relays to reroute all messages pertaining to Schell's involvement as coded personal messages to Schell himself. He was then able to read the messages and send appropriate replies as needed."

"That means that Schell had this all planned from the beginning."

"Indeed. Originally, we had no real idea why Schell helped the Romulans create the nanites. We couldn't imagine how one could desire, or gain from, such rampant destruction. But in fact there was nothing rampant about it. It was a very specific tactic, aimed at delivering a massive change of power in the quadrant. One that would move him to near the top of the ladder. Not so coincidentally, all of his opposition seems to have been eliminated in the initial nanite attack. And most of his supporters remained unharmed."

"So why was the Romulan Empire hit so hard? He worked with them from the beginning."

"It seems clear that he never intended to share his exploits with the Romulans. He simply pretended to be their ally long enough to get the nanites produced and delivered. Once that was completed, he didn't need them any longer. One more enemy destroyed."

"I guess that came around and bit him on the ass."

The Novachron nodded. They finally arrived at eight-forward. The two paused as Mak looked to a table in the far corner. There sat Catrin and Kamiana.

Mak sighed. "You'd think after all these years that appologizing to the lady-folk would get easier."

The Novachron shook his head and headed off to their table.

Lebin chuckled as he sat down at the bar.

He thought of all that had happened these last few days. Never a dull one around here, he mused.

He grinned to himself and waved to a server. "A root beer, please."

* * *

Schell awoke.

He had drempt that the Federation had convicted him of treason and sentenced him to death. It was then that he started wondering what death was like. There had been many thoughts throughout time about the afterlife, if even such a thing existed. And he wondered now.

He was in a cold, dark room, lying on the floor. In the room, there was only a small table and two stools. A single, locked door was the only apparent exit.

The last thing he remembered was being transported off the shuttle. He suspected this was some kind of holding cell, but he couldn't imagine why Starfleet would keep him in such a place.

He waited.

After what seemed an eternity, the door opened, and a figure walked in. Schell squinted from the glare of the outside lighting.

The door closed. And with it, all thoughts of a peaceful death.

Indeed, he was in hell. And standing in front of him was the devil.

The Romulan sat at the table and poured himself a drink. He offered none to Schell. He just kept staring at the admiral. Those eyes could freeze a man stiff. Those terrible eyes.

The Romulan took a drink. A horrible, evil smile pervaded his face. More horrible than the eyes, if that could be possible.

And if Schell's blood wasn't frozen by then, it would be after the Romulan spoke.

"So, admiral. What do we want to talk about?"

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