Star Trek: Defiant

"Imperial Entanglements" - Part Four

Written by Kamiana Tyrrel


Kamiana stared blankly at the woman. She was sure she'd never seen her since coming onto this Defiant last night...who could she be? And a holotrip to Betazed?

"I have no idea what you are talking about," she replied firmly. "Or for that matter who you are." She reached out with her mind to find out who in all the Houses this woman thought she was, accosting her like this...

Catrin's eyes widened as she felt the touch against her mind. What the hell was Tyrrel doing? Catrin thought they'd come to an understanding, after her time at Area 51, Catrin had a general dislike for telepaths and people poking around in her mind. Using the techniques that the Briori had taught her, she pushed the Betazoid out, hopefully telling her in no uncertain terms to stay there.

"Never mind," Catrin said, her eyes flicking to Mak and then back to Tyrrel. "I don't think I'm feeling up for a visit to Betazed after all."

* * *

On the ISS Defiant...

Captain Jeffrey Bridges stepped out of the turbolift, heading for the brig. He'd gotten Mak's report about his session with the alternate Tyrrel, now to see if the woman needed any additional persuasion.

As he walked along, he saw a blonde haired woman rounding a corner and walking towards him. She wasn't a member of the crew, though, who... Oh, yes. Gitane, the wife of Counsellor Andersdottir.

Gitane blanched as she realized who was there. As was customary for civilian personnel on Imperial ships, she dropped to her knees, not daring to look up at him.

"Gitane." his voice was cold. "Go tell Jannik I want her down here yesterday, in fact, why is she not here now?"

Her grey eyes went wide, and she couldn't keep the trembling out of her voice. "I...I don't know Sir..." Though she was afraid she did. That new officer they'd picked up last night, Jannik's new assistant, Jannik had wanted to entertain him in their quarters and for some reason (one that didn't bear thinking too much about) in the middle of dinner she'd suddenly sent Gitane out of the room. And pushed her out of their mental link, why? A part of her kept asking.

"I...I'll go see... What's keeping her, Sir excuse me..."

Gitane scrambled to her feet and half-ran to the lift, just eager for any excuse to get away from the Captain's intimidating presence.

A few minutes later she reached the deck where their quarters were. She still couldn't get any sense of Jannik's mental presence and that made her even more fearful, even at Jannik's worst, her most angry, she'd never been totally silent like this.

Before she could activate the door sensor it opened and she stepped through slowly, uncertain of what reception she'd get, or of what she'd find.

The main room was empty.

She put a hand to her mouth, trying to stifle the feeling of foreboding that threatened to explode, but before she could think out what to do next, a voice filled her mind. A voice that was not Jannik's. A voice that did not just communicate, but commanded in a way she even with her own abilities couldnt resist.

"Gitane, come, now."

She found herself walking towards the bedroom door, her feet moving slowly, jerkily, as the puppet she now was, she reached the door and entered to see.

If she could have screamed she would have.

Counsellor Jannik Andersdottir lay on the bed, bound at the wrists and ankles, her long black hair streaming across the pillow. Her blue eyes stared sightlessly upwards, and Gitane realized she was dead, blood from who only knew how many cuts stained the sheets, there were slashes all along her bare body.

And a few feet away, the new assistant, Paulos Danorium, stood with a cold leer on his face, a knife in one hand. He brushed a few stray locks of white-blond hair out of his face as he spoke.

"Let's just say we had a little disagreement, about my exact duties." he chuckled, then looked Gitane over, letting his cold green eyes bore into her very soul. He reached out one hand and fingered her long blonde hair, then cupped her chin forcing her to look directly at him. His smile grew even colder and if Gitane hadn't known better she would have thought the environmental controls in here were malfunctioning, it was only his hold on her that kept her from breaking out in cold chills.

"You'll do, until I can send you to my sister's. She has a special taste for your type."

Gitane struggled against the dominance that held her. "Noooo..." Her mind cried out.

"Fight it all you like, you belong to me now." He laughed again, then walked over and wiped the knife off on her clothing.

He then tossed it aside and moved to where Jannik's discarded uniform lay across a chair. Removing the Commander's pips from it, he added them to his own uniform, discarding the Lt. Cmdr. pips he had been wearing.

"I see Captain Bridges has something for the Counsellor to do, I'd best be about my new duties, shouldn't I? As for you..." he waved a hand dismissively at Jannik's body. "Clean up this mess."

With that Danorium walked out, Gitane, suddenly finding his hold on her released, sank into a sobbing heap where she was.

* * *

A few minutes later, Danorium arrived at the brig.

"Lt. Cmdr. Danorium..." Bridges paused, noticing the three rank pips of a full Commander that Danorium was wearing. His ISF file had said he was only a Lt. Cmdr. Could that be it? Nevertheless he had to ask. Where is Counsellor Jannik?"

"She, had an accident," Paulos replied, silkily. "Quite tragic, really. Of course I'm quite willing to assume her position on this ship."

Bridges nodded. That was the way of things in the Empire. "Since you're new you haven't, likely, been briefed. There exists a universe, parallel to our own, which is similar to ours in some ways, but weaker in others. Until recently their Federation was nearly as strong as our Empire...I say nearly because they were crippled by a weakness we of the Empire have long since discarded, a, softness, when dealing with others. However, certain ones among them launched a conspiracy that got out of control, and it has nearly destroyed them. Our intention is to use this opportunity to seize control of what little remains. To that end, one of our crew was exchanged with her counterpart in that universe, what I need you to do is extract from her anything she knows about the nanites, that would ensure they do not become a threat to us."

Paulos nodded, his lips parting in a leer of anticipation. Interrogations were his stock in trade after all.

* * *

Inside the cell, Kamiana Tyrrel of the USS Defiant sat in a huddle, her arms around her knees trying to keep warm, they had taken her clothing, not that she could have borne anything on her back after the beating Mak had given her, and they had not sent a medic to help, either, simply left her there with the pain. What sort of twisted versions of the people she knew were these?

The pain was making it so hard to think, not to mention the anguish of this Mak's behavior towards her, that could not have been the Mak she knew, she had to keep telling herself that.

She tried to remember, hadn't there been something like this in the history lessons at Academy?

Oh, by all the Houses, was that where she was? It had to be, she'd picked up the references to the Empire in the thoughts of everyone who'd come near her here.

Wait a minute, though, she remembered something else, something more recently. Hadn't some of the Deep Space Nine personnel been to that world and found the Empire had ceased to exist?

She was sure she had heard something of that, so how was it here now unless, this was yet another alternate. That was it, had to be it.

* * *

On board the USS Defiant...

Mak stared at Catrin's retreating figure for a moment, then turned back to Kamiana. He'd already suspected there was something strange going on with her and this clinched it.

He grabbed her shoulder, turning her to face him. "You can start explaining what that was all about right here, Darlin', or I march you down to the Brig and we can do this the hard way. Your choice."

Damn it, he was getting more suspicious by the minute. She would have to tread very carefully now.

"I really don't understand this." She finally said, determined to keep up the facade of innocence. "A total stranger comes up acting like we're friends or something and you think I'm acting strangely? Maybe you ought to go talk to Dr. Rael."

He shook his head. This was wrong, totally wrong. Kamiana had met Catrin last night, he'd introduced them himself. Then later, in her quarters, she'd mentioned having talked to her. Now she was acting as if none of that had ever happened.

* * *

On the Bridge of the USS Defiant...

Captain Bridges, Lt. Cmdr. Mackowick, Cmdr. Kliemann, and the rest of the bridge crew looked up at the screen, where the glowing anomaly loomed larger and larger despite all their efforts to shift the ship's course away from it.

"What readings are we getting on that, whatever it is?" Bridges asked.

Myah turned from her station to face him, a worried look on her face. "It's showing as a breach in space/time, Sir. A dimensional gateway, would be my best guess."

"And someone's locked us into going into it." Bridges finished for her, shaking his head. Damn this, if he found out, no make that when he found out, who was responsible for this, that being would regret it.

"Sound red alert." He ordered. "If we're going into this I want everyone ready for anything."

The echoes of the klaxon began echoing through the ship, the bridge...

....and in the corridor where Takila Mak had just started to lead Kamiana Tyrrel towards the brig.

There wasn't time to take her there now, not if a Red Alert had been called, and he was not letting her out of his sight.

"You're coming with me." he snapped, dragging her along as he ran for the lift.

She decided not to resist for now, the right time to act would be later.

A few minutes later they emerged onto the Bridge.

Captain Bridges only spared a second's glance to see Mak enter, but why had he brought Tyrrel along? That seemed odd, but this wasn't the time for such questions.

Kamiana saw what was on the screen and while she managed to keep her features expressionless, she couldn't repress a slight internal smile. It wouldn't be long now before she'd be home, and with what she was bringing, the rewards would be, substantial.

* * *

On the Bridge of the ISS Defiant...

Captain Bridges, Rael beside him, stood watching the gateway. If Tyrrel, their Tyrrel, had completed her mission, very shortly the Federation's Defiant would be coming through.

"I want to know the minute there's even a hint of the gate becoming active."

At the science station, Myah Wolfrom tried to repress an impatient sigh. They'd dragged her out of her lab, away from her important experiments, to watch a console again? Who knew what was happening to her prize specimens, and the vital research that was being delayed while she sat here staring at a panel.

Well, she tried to console herself, if this worked out she'd have plenty of subjects for her and her staff to play with.

Maybe she'd even let her pet play with some of them, she smiled as she thought of the Klingon/Ferengi hybrid female now chained in the lab. Tagana could get so whiny when she thought she wasn't getting enough.

Suddenly there was a flurry of lights on her board, "Captain," she tried to keep the exasperation out of her voice. "There's been a surge in the indicators, we should be seeing something any minute now, coming through."

"Perfect." Bridges' cold smile grew even colder as he turned to Comm. "Send a message to the other ships, make certain they understand it is vital they hold position, the Federation ship must not be allowed to escape this sector. The box must remain intact as planned."

Lt. Cmdr. Lebin nodded and relayed the message.

* * *

In the ISS Defiant's brig, at that moment...

Kamiana looked up as someone entered her cell. A tall man with white blond hair, someone she didn't know. He was Betazoid, though, she realized that immediately.

"Hello, Kamiana." he said silkily. "Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Cmdr. Paulos Danorium, Ship's Counsellor."

She could only look up at him. She could feel the strength of his mind reaching for hers. With effort (she was still weakened by the earlier ordeals) she tried to summon her own mental abilities, tried to resist...

....to no avail.

"There will be none of that, my dear," came the insistent mindvoice. "I am master here, you will know this. When I ask a question you will reply as best as you are able. If you attempt to resist further."

A burst of psychic pain filled her mind, it was like fire racing through every nerve every synapse she was going to die he would burn her out he was.

Then it was gone as suddenly as it had come, she lay panting on the floor of the cell though her head ached it was now only a dull ache..

"If I ask aquestion, and you refuse, I will inflict pain. And it will get worse. But I will not kill you."

"No... Please..." She tried once more to hold out but it was too much she burst into tears, sobbing helplessly on the floor before him."

"Ah, yes. Do that, if it makes you feel better. It will make no difference in the end." His lips parted in an evil leer. This could actually be more entertaining than he'd thought.

* * *

On the USS Defiant Bridge...

As the ship entered the anomaly a shaking began, slight at first, then more intense. Some of the crew were thrown to the deck, others, luckier, managed to hold on to their consoles and thus keep their seats.

Kamiana held on tightly to the railing in front of her, barely able to contain her anticipation. This discomfort would only be temporary, she knew, a result of crossing through the gateway.

"Sensors are going crazy!" Myah called out. "The readings are all off the scales."

"Hull temperature rising," announced Lebin. "However, it is still within safety parameters."

"Engineering, report." Bridges managed to get out as a particularly violent tremor rocked the ship.

"Holding together Sir." Came Bedard's response over the commlink. "So far anyway."

Space continued to ripple iridescently around them, the coruscating patterns of the anomaly on the screen flashed in varying bright colors.

Then after what seemed an eternity it was gone, vanished, to be replaced by normal space.

As the tremors, the shaking, subsided and stopped, Bridges looked around.

"Is everyone all right?" he asked.

The Bridge crew looked at each other. "A bit shaken up Sir, but otherwise OK."

"Damage and casualty reports from all sections."

The reports came back. Minimal damage. No casualties.

Just then...

"Sir!" Myah exclaimed. "I'm showing several ships in our immediate area. All of them armed." She frowned at one set of decidedly odd readings, odd because they seemed familiar, too familiar, almost. She checked that set of readings again.

"I think you'd better look at this." was all she said to Bridges as she fed what she was getting to the screen.

Directly ahead a vessel appeared. A vessel that looked like, their own. It turned slightly and the call letters on its hull became visible.

ISS DEFIANT NCC-74205-A

Beneath this was a stylized representation of what everyone on the Bridge recognized as the Milky Way galaxy, with a dagger stabbing through it.

"What in the Hell!?!?!" Bridges exclaimed. He remembered reading about this alternate universe Empire, but he had also seen the reports from the Deep Space Nine crew that that Empire had fallen.

Lt. Cmdr. Matute looked up from her own board. "Sir, they're hailing us and," she looked uncertain, "well, look." She tapped a control and the screen image changed.

And Captain Jeffrey Scott Bridges of the USS Defiant looked at the screen and saw...

Himself.

Though there were slight differences, the Bridges on the screen had a thin scar along one cheek, and a thin, pointed mustache and beard as well.

"This is Captain Bridges of the ISS Defiant." The figure on the screen intoned. "Welcome to the Empire, from now on, you are our guests." The tone was polite yet icy as well, carrying with it whole levels of implications of the direst sort.

Kamiana smiled as she heard this. She could hardly wait to see these Federation upstarts in the booth, or in Mak's hands.


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