Star Trek: Defiant

"Imperial Entanglements" - Part Three

Written by Kamiana Tyrrel

The USS Defiant, Eight-Forward...

Ensign Kamiana Tyrrel walked into the room and looked around, smiling as she saw that it wasn't that different from 8 forward on her Defiant, except for lacking the mural of the galaxy-with-sword-through-it that was the Imperial Emblem.

The color scheme in here wasn't quite as--intense, either.

Things had settled down, somewhat, and that was the only reason there were so many in here. They'd not detected, as far as she could tell, any of her alterations to the computer. Or rather, that she had made those alterations.

Still, she had to be careful. They'd be looking at everyone who had computer knowledge, and that included her.

She'd have to stay on guard, but that didn't mean she couldn't enjoy herself somewhat while she was here.

After all, she could sense that this crew was turning to each other a lot of late as they tried to deal with the loss of so much of the world they had known...and as far as they knew, she was in the same boat as they.

She took a seat at a table in the center, where she had a good view of the room and everyone in it--the better to observe and size up any potentially interesting ones.

Just then the door slid open, and two men walked in. Marinus and Mak. Marinus was far too perceptive--if his analogue here was anything like the one she knew, that is--and as for Mak...!

Mak smiled as he saw her and walked over, before she could react he'd taken her hand and kissed it. "How's about a table for two, darlin'?"

"What in the?" Kamiana thought in a panic, though she managed not to let that show on her face. "The Intelligence Chief wants me this some sort of trap? Do they suspect?"

She managed to keep her voice calm, though, as she disengaged her hand. "I..." she looked him over, shaking her head. "Sorry. I don't think you're my type."

With that she turned and walked to the bar....

"Huh?" Mak watched her as she left. He was totally puzzled. He joined Marinus who was at the far end of the bar ordering a fizzy papalo juice. Mak just looked at him, still confused.

"What's up?"

"I dunno, Mathew, I think Kami's ticked at me for something." He tried to think of what he had done lately that could have set her off. He figured after their recent dinner and...dessert that all was basically back to normal.

"Is she still bothered about Catrin?" Marinus asked.

"I don't know. I don't think so. Well, not too much at least." Marinus was amazed at hearing his friend express such uncertainty. Usually Mak was a rock, one of the closest things hed ever seen to a universal constant when it came to assessing things. Mak took a straight synthehol Manhattan and they sat down at the table that had the 3 level chess game on it.

"What did she say?"

"She said something about me not being 'her type.'" Mak recounted. "Is this some kind of a Betazoid female mood swing thing?"

Marinus chuckled. "Not that I know of. But they're a mysterious race, my friend." Mak just looked at him blankly. "Women, I mean." Mak smiled. "Don't worry, it'll pass."

"Yeah, probably," Mak agreed. "Still, something seemed weird. She looked as if she'd never seen me before, like she didn't even know me."

"Get her some flowers or candy. She'll be fine." Marinus suggested.

Mak grinned slightly. It wasn't his usual Ain't a thing in the universe gonna touch me' grin. It was laced with an apparent concern that Marinus found particularly interesting.

"Somehow, Mathew, I have a strange feeling it may be more complicated than that. It was as if...." Mak's last word hung in the air.

"As if what?" Marinus wondered.

"As if her whole chi aura, her...personal energy field had somehow changed."

Marinus shook his head. "That's impossible, even I know that, and I've not been around as long as you have. I'm telling you it's just a woman thing, she'll be all right."

The two men continued to chat and sip their drinks.

Meanwhile, at the bar...

Kamiana took a deep swallow of her drink, then looked around the room again. Who would be entertaining enough? she wondered. Mak and Marinus were out of the question, but who...

Her searching gaze fell on Lt. Cmdr. Lebin, who had just entered the room. there was an interesting possibility.

She watched as Lebin seated himself at a booth, then slowly walked over to him, moving as seductively as she could. The Operations Manager would make a perfect candidate for those special techniques they'd taught her back home. There were times when being naturally telepathic did have its advantages, and this was one of them.

"Mind if I join you, Sir?" she cooed.

Adam Lebin looked up at her, and his eyes narrowed in surprise. "Ensign Tyrrel."

"Oh, please, let's not be so formal," she went on, placing a hand on his arm and caressing it. "After all...I did get you out of a pretty bad fix that time, I think we should be on a, a slightly more personal footing here, don't you?"

"Tyrrel..." This wasn't like her at all, from the little he'd seen of the woman--but she did have a point. However he hadn't thought she'd bring it back up this way...and then he realized something else.

She had sat down next to him and was even now rubbing his shoulders. "I think we should get to know each other, I mean really," she whispered, her voice soft, suggestive, she would do things he'd never heard of, even with the years of experience of his Trill half.

Adam was finding it harder and harder to resist, even more, he didn't want to, despite himself.

"Tyrrel..." he tried one last time, only to be cut off as she kissed him, full on the lips. "My Kamiana..." she whispered.

Unable to hold out any longer, he rose to his feet and let her lead him out of Eight-Forward.

She slipped an arm around his waist as they went. "This definitely would be enjoyable as well as profitable," she thought, contemplating just what reward she would be granted by her Empire for pulling this off.

Mak caught a glance of her as she and Lebin exited the lounge and he looked as if he'd just been hit by a phaser rifle set on maximum stun. What was she trying to prove?

"Now I know she's not in Phase..." Mak said to Marinus who also gaped, wide-eyed.

"You got me on this one, Mak, I'm no counselor either. Maybe you should ask Jannik?"

"Nah. I think the fewer folks involved in this one the better," Mak replied.

"Aren't you going to go after her?"

"And play into her weird little game? Hell no."

"So you're just going to stay away?" Marinus asked.

"For now, but not for long," Mak said.

"Is Lebin seeing anyone?"

"I thought he was seeing Myah, but then, I've been kinda out of touch with the Defiant Soap Opera as you can imagine lately," Mak announced. "If he is, I hope they don' t run into her. I'd hate to think young Adam would get into trouble over a silly mind game. I'll have a talk with her tomorrow, maybe she'll get some of her senses back."

* * *

The ISS Defiant, the brig...

Kamiana Tyrrel woke up, every nerve and muscle in her body ached, but, she realized as she looked around, she wasn't in that pain, inducer booth anymore. This brig didn't look that different from the one she remembered, and yet it did not in an obvious way, but there were a lot of little things.

She had to figure out what had happened, trying to push aside the memories of pain and stomach-turning vileness, she forced her mind back to the last clear memory she had.

She'd been in her quarters, wondering if Mak would make it back tonight...then the chime had rung, she'd answered it...then things had gone dark, there was something more, she was sure of it, but what?

Whatever it was, it had to be important, it was somehow why she was here, the way Bridges and Rael had been themselves and yet had not, the ship was the Defiant and yet it wasn't, this was likely a different universe.

The question was, how was she to get back, and keep these here from entering her own, as it seemed they were out to do.

She was distracted by something familiar close by, she looked up to see something that almost took her breath away.

"Mak?!?" she whispered, hardly daring to hope. Had he found her, was he here to help her get back?

It looked like him, but she'd never seen Mak dressed like this. A tight leather suit with spikes, daggers of varying shapes and sizes hanging from his belt, he looked like someone you'd be likely to meet in some rough backplanet dive.

"That's the name, my dear." he sneered, in a voice she'd never heard him use, and she'd heard him cold, angry, before (that time with Michael) Even that hadn't been like this, though.

Her hopes sank. This couldn't be the Mak she knew, the one she had shared the imzadi bond with. He'd told her he'd done questionable things, but something told her this went way beyond that.

"Please...please, let me out of here." she whispered, still praying she was wrong about this and this was her Mak.

"I'd be only too happy too, Darlin'." He replied. "When you tell us what we have to know."

He smiled, evilly. Reaching up for the security panel, he deactivated the field and stepped into the cell.

Before she could try and leap out, he grabbed her and shoved her against the wall, then thrust his face against hers and kissed her hard, so much it hurt.

She struggled against him but his grip was too tight. He was trying to hurt her, she could feel that he enjoyed this.

Her eyes burned from the tears she was trying not to shed. "P-please, let me go..."

"Consider yourself back in school, m'dear, and I'm the teacher." With that he pulled her into yet another painful kiss.

She could feel her body trying to respond to his touch, rough and painful though it was, even as her soul rebelled. She'd known Mak, her Mak, he'd been so gentle with her.

"That's being nice, m'dear." Other-Mak said quietly. "You don't even want to see what'll happen when I get nasty."

Kamiana caught the tone in his voice and shuddered inwardly. This, after what she and Mak had shared, this was blasphemy, sacrilege, she gritted her teeth and tried not to moan as he reached out and ripped the back of her uniform, then uncoiled a length of cord from his belt.

He stepped back, still with that horrible smile, his hand tensed on the cord, drew back, even as she tried to move away, it cracked the air and pain lanced through her bare back.

The tears of shock and pain wouldn't be held back any more, they ran down her face even as the blood did on her back as the whip cracked again and again.

She lost count of how many times the whip cracked, how many times fire raced along her back, she lost all sense of time as the world narrowed into a narrow tunnel of pain.

Then, somehow, she became aware that it was over, she lay sobbing on the floor of the cell, with him standing over her.

"Consider that your first lesson in cooperation, Darlin'." he sneered. "I'll be back, and take it from me, I know things that'll make the Booth and even this look like nothing."

With that he left, she didn't have the energy to get up, it just hurt too much...that Mak could ever be like this...this wasn't the Mak she knew, she had to hang on to that. She...she had to...hold on, find a way out...

Then the last few hours, between the Booth and this beating, caught up to her and she sank into unconsciousness...

* * *

The next morning, in the Captain's Ready Room, the USS Defiant...

As Captain Bridges walked in, he noticed most of the senior staff was already here, though Lt. Cmdr. Lebin was, oddly enough, not among them.

"I don't believe it Commander." Friese was saying. "We've gone over every inch of this ship and not found a hint of any sabotage. Except for the override program's being activated, there's nothing on the tapes, no indication of illegal access, nothing."

"I know," Jen replied. "Whoever's done this is really good at covering their tracks, but we're still heading away from where we're supposed to be. We're still getting calls from Deep Space Nine demanding to know what in the hell is going on, and this program's locked out communications so we can't respond. This just couldn't have happened on its own, without the Captain knowing ahead of time, so it has to be sabotage, the only question is by whom and why?"

"This doesn't make sense," interjected Mackowick. "The nanites hit Cardassia, the Romulans, even the Klingons, as hard as they hit us. Stealing one Federation ship just wouldn't make up for their losses, even if they were out for some sort of revenge."

"He's right," added Myah. "They don't have the manpower or resources to duplicate this ship right now, even once, let alone what they'd need to build up to even a quarter of what they had before."

"Which means," added Bedard, "that it's likely not one of them, maybe not all of the conspirators are dead. Is it possible there's one or more we don't know about, who could be hiding on board, and would have the technical expertise to bollix our computer this way?"

Bridges shook his head. "These are all interesting theories, people, but damn it we need to start finding some real answers. The computer says we'll reach the programmed destination, whatever that is, in four hours. I don't propose to just let ourselves be dragged to who knows what without some idea of what we'll be in for. Myah, if you haven't already, get a list of everyone on board who would be able to pull off something like this. Jen, once she's done that go over that list with a fine tooth comb. I want to know where every single person on it was every minute of yesterday, got that?"

Myah and Matute nodded. "We'll get right on it, Captain." Matute said for the both of them, and they left the room, just as Lebin entered.

"Sorry to be late," Lebin began, apologetically. He looked uncharacteristically rushed, as if he'd barely had time to get himself together before coming here. "The computer alarm in my quarters didn't work this morning."

Bridges looked Adam over. Something seemed odd, but this wasn't the time to discuss it. They had bigger problems right now.

"Myah and Matute have their assignments, I want the rest of you to get cracking on finding some way to deactivate this program. I know it's asking a lot, that program was designed not to be stoppable until fully carried out, but we've got to manage it."

With that, the meeting broke up as everyone went to their duty stations.

* * *

The USS Defiant, Science Lab...

Kamiana Tyrrel smiled, laying back in her chair and letting herself relax for just a moment. Everything was going according to plan, and she'd learned so much from Lt. Cmdr. Lebin last night. The poor man had no idea that she'd picked his mind while they'd been together, even his Trill side hadn't caught on to what was happening.

That run in with Mak still nagged at her, though. She thought she'd gotten out of it all right, but there'd been the way he looked at her... As if he'd expected something more. He'd seemed almost shocked that she hadn't accepted his dinner invitation.

That reaction made no sense. If he suspected her, had been trying to trap her, why would he be surprised that she wouldn't walk right into it? Why, for that matter, had he not tried to force the issue?

If this had been the Mak she knew, he'd have had her in the Brig for one of his special sessions before she knew what had hit her. She'd been lucky to escape his attentions, but she'd heard enough about those who had not been so lucky... Some of them had not made it out, either.

No, staying well clear of this universe's Mak was best, there were some risks not worth taking, and one of them definitely was finding out if this Mak was as inventive when it came to interrogation as her own.

She checked her terminal again, she had to at least look like she was trying to find some way around the program, her cover demanded it. She was not supposed to reveal herself unless absolutely necessary.

Then the sound of whooshing doors distracted her, she turned to look and saw... Damn it, no.

Takila Mak. What was he doing here, especially after last night?

"Sir." She nodded in acknowledgement, determined to put the best face on this she could.

"Don't give me that, Kami. Something's wrong here and I want to know what that little show with Lebin last night isn't you. What's this all about... Catrin?"

Kamiana looked at him for a moment, though her face remained impassive she tried to think of who "Catrin" might be...oh, yes. The Novachron woman that this version of Mak had just found somewhere, she'd seen a reference to her in the computer records of this ship when she'd scanned them last night.

"Why would she have anything to do with this?" Kamiana shook her head. "I haven't even met her yet. It's like I said last night, you aren't my type. Now, unless this is something to do with work, though I can't imagine what you'd need me for and not Lt. Cmdr. Wolfrom, I'm on duty."

With that she turned back to her console, silently hoping that that would be enough to dissuade him.

Now he knew there was something wrong. Why would Kamiana say she hadn't met Catrin, when he'd introduced them himself only last night? Plus there was still the fact that her whole aura had changed, and Marinus had been right, that just wasn't possible, by everything he'd ever heard of.

"Fine. Ensign Tyrrel, since you want to play it that way, you've just been reassigned to Intelligence for the duration of this emergency. Which means, darlin', that you're under my direct orders from here on out."

Kamiana closed her eyes. How in the name of all the Great Houses was she to get out of this one? If she refused, he'd get even more suspicious than it seemed he already was. If she didn't, though, what had been going on between Mak and her counterpart that he would be so persistent?

She took a deep breath, then turned slowly in her seat to regard Mak. "If you insist, Sir," she said in as coolly polite a voice as she could muster. "What would you like me to do?"

Maybe this could be turned to her advantage. He might be watching her, but this way she would also be watching him.

* * *

On the bridge of the USS Defiant, Mackowick slammed a fist in frustration against the still, uncooperative helm console. "We've tried every routine in the book, even written some new ones, and it's not doing a thing. We're still locked on course for..."

He broke off as a flicker registered on his instruments.

"Captain, there's something registering..."

"On screen!" Bridges ordered tersely.

A moment later Chad had brought up the image.

Directly ahead of them lay, something. A large, glowing something.

And whatever it was, they were locked on a course straight for it.

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