Star Trek: Defiant

"Imperial Entanglements" - Part Eight

Written by Kamiana Tyrrel

On the USS Defiant

Even as Security teams moved into positions throughout the ship, in the corridor leading to the shuttle bay Kamiana tightened her grip on the Pakled female. Killing this one would be no real loss, it wasn't as if she could know anything of real significance anyway, Pakleds were not among the most intelligent of races by any standard she'd ever heard of.

Mak continued to hold out his hands to her, showing he was unarmed.

"I mean it, Darlin'," again his tone made that word a sneer. "You want someone you take me. I could tell you a lot of things she can't even begin to imagine. Just think what your interrogators could get out of me, assuming I were inclined to let them that is."

Which he wasn't, no way in hell, but she didn't necessarily know that.

He could see the temptation on her face and smiled inwardly. If he could just keep her focused on him, she seemed to have forgotten all about Lebin, who was slowly very slowly edging to one side.

If luck was with them, if he could keep her concentrating on him for just a little bit longer, Lebin might be able to get behind her and they could end this. He'd much rather have done that himself but that'd be too obvious, if she knew his counterpart it was likely she'd expect that sort of sneak attack from him.

Kamiana's eyes narrowed suspiciously as she stared at him. He was offering himself as a hostage? The idea had merit, yes, but why? She held on to the Pakled (which the way the creature was struggling wasn't easy) but didn't take her eyes off him. She didn't dare.

"You're right about one thing. This one's lucky if she can read her own name. You on the other hand," she allowed herself a slight smile. "I might be interested in discussing your proposal."

That was as far as she got because at that moment a hand closed around the wrist of the hand holding the phaser, wrenching that hand well clear of the sobbing Pakled girl.

The phaser beam did go off but wildly, only hitting a nearby wall. Luckily that wall was not part of the outer hull or they'd all be decompressing right now.

"Nooo..." Kamiana moaned as she struggled in Lebin's grasp even as Mak rushed forward to seize her by both wrists. "You take care of her." He said to Lebin, barely glancing at the Pakled who now knelt sobbing in terror on the deck. "I'll deal with this one." His tone was the coldest she'd ever heard in her life.

Mak shoved her against a wall while Lebin moved to check on Liss. "Now, Darlin'" he snarled through clenched teeth, "your turn to start talking."

* * *

On the ISS Defiant, in the Cell

A rough slap jerked Kamiana back to consciousness, though every nerve every muscle in her body ached and her head was pounding and this made it hard to think or even move she tried to.

"That's the spirit, Darlin', open those eyes. I want you awake for this." He smiled.

"Oh really?" She gritted her teeth against the searing pain that lanced through her as she shifted her leg up to plant a well placed kick in a sensitive area sending Mak reeling backwards briefly with an outrush of breath clutching at the area.

But it didn't last long. He recovered quickly, too quickly, and looked at her for a long moment, then threw back his head and laughed.

"I should've known you'd play hard to get. Well go right ahead, it just adds a little spice to the game, if you know what I mean."

There was a wave of psychic pain again from Danorium, but this time it didn't seem to hurt as much as before, maybe she was getting used to it.

It still jabbed like a knife though, she had never met any of her race as strong as he was, but she couldn't give in she wouldn't.

Mak laughed and reached for her again, his fingernails raking against her arm as she dodged, right across a particularly livid bruise which sent another spasm of pain through her.

She spotted the door and tried to move towards it only to be seized by the hair and yanked backwards she couldn't suppress the shriek.

* * *

On the bridge of the USS Defiant, Captain Bridges looked up as Mak entered, and turned his hoverchair to face him.

Mak was dragging a rather mussed looking Tyrrel behind him, her wrists were bound with strips torn from her clothing and her hair was somewhat mussed. Her eyes still burned with rage and defiance though.

Bridges stared at the bound Kamiana for a long moment. She looked like the Tyrrel he knew, at least physically. But there was a dark edge to her, something that his crew's Kamiana lacked.

"You'll never get back!" she snarled. "It doesn't matter what you do to me, this is still our universe and you're trapped here. The portal was designed to allow one way travel only."

Bridges shook his head. "That's not possible. And why should we take your word for it anyway?" He snapped. "After what you've done, sabotaging this ship endangering my crew, and just where is Tyrrel?"

"She's in Interrogation!" she flung back. "IF she's even still alive. Which is where you're all going to be sooner or later so why not just surrender now and get it over with?"

Mak whirled to look at her, his eyes were icy daggers of the coldest blue imaginable and if they had been lethal weapons, Kamiana would have been dead several times over already. "She better be." He said through clenched teeth spacing out his words for emphasis in a tone which promised dire and unspeakable consequences should things prove otherwise.

Kamiana fell silent though her eyes still burned with rage. Damn it she'd been so close so close, she wasn't supposed to have gotten herself caught her Captain would not take kindly to this at all.

Bridges shook his head and turned to Mak. "At least Liss and Lebin weren't hurt." He glared at Kamiana. "Things would be a lot worse for you if they had been, understand? And if this little game of yours has cost your counterpart's life!" He shook his head again.

"Well, they can't beam her off," Mak replied, "Not without this." He held up what looked like a standard commbadge. "This isn't what it looks like. I took a few minutes to scan it, it's been modified. Not only did it let her beam herself and Adam back and forth, just like he said, but it's how she got aboard in the first place. A dimensional exchanger just strong enough to send one person across."

Bridges nodded in acknowledgement. "They managed that, but needed the gateway to bring the whole ship. So her job was to get us there."

Myah turned from her station to face them. "I think we can fix most of what she did to the computer, Captain, but the only way to really keep them from doing this again anytime soon is," she went pale but forced herself to continue. "we're going to have to wipe the information from their computer. Their security protocols are a lot stricter than ours. It can't be done from here."

Kliemann cut in. "Once that's done, we can go back through the gateway and blow it behind us so they can't use it."

Bridges shook his head. The idea of sending more of his officers to the other Defiant did not sit well, but if they were going to get Tyrrel and themselves back it was looking like their only option.

"All right people let's go time's running out. We need to get in there and out fast. Mak, Lebin, Myah, Matute and Friese you'll be going. Along with her." He jabbed a finger in Tyrrel's direction. "First priority is get our Tyrrel back then wipe and crash their systems."

* * *

In the cell on the ISS Defiant

Kamiana was running out of options she knew but she at least intended to go down trying God it hurt so much to even think and Danorium's telepathic torture didn't help part of her just wanted to curl up in a ball but she wouldn't do that she wouldn't give them that.

Could nothing hurt him was he as tough as her Mak? No matter how hard she hit or kicked it didn't slow him down and how long she could keep this up was debatable.

She grabbed a metal bar that lay against the wall behind her and tried to swing it at him, only to have him catch the bar mid-swing and use it to pull her towards him.

At least it would have if she had not immediately let go of it and tried again to reach the exit, but again he grabbed her this time pulling her close in as if to kiss her.

She dropped her head down and steeling herself bit his arm.

He grunted at the pain, but then pulled her away with his other arm and smiled even more lasciviously than before. "So you can play rough, maybe there's hope for you yet, Darlin'."

She had had the basic combat training in Academy, but she wasn't a fighter, really not the way he was. She was trying her best but it was only a matter of time before he got the better of her. She was tired, so tired, she struggled and with an effort pulled free once again she had to get away.

* * *

In the ISS Defiant's computer core, technicians and guards were at their stations in the usual fashion.

Behind a tall instrument bank in the corner there was a shower of golden light and then as it faded Myah, Matute, Lebin, and Friese stood there.

At that moment alert lights began flashing and a harsh klaxon sounding, the Imperial personnel in the room scrambled for secure positions even as the Security types began searching.

"Intruder alert computer core. Intruder alert computer core." Came the harsh male voice of this Defiant's computer.

Matute and Friese moved quickly to cover Myah and Lebin as the latter pair went to work introducing their reprogramming into the systems.

Fortunately the guards in here didn't dare risk firing their phasers lest a stray shot damage vital equipment, and this allowed Matute and Friese to make short work of the opposition, though not without knocking a few Imperial heads together.

Myah nodded to Lebin as she indicated a console screen. "If we reset the subroutines here, here and here we should trigger a dump into our computer. Another reset there and this system will shut down once the dump's completed."

Lebin nodded by way of acknowledgement and the pair set to work.

* * *

In the Cell

Kamiana shrank back trying to pull away from alternate Mak's attempt to caress her raw shoulders, her legs felt like rubber beneath her she struggled to get away one more time just one more.

Mak laughed that same evil laugh that was such a twisted mockery of her own Mak's and fingered his whip, though he did not unhook it from his belt.

With his other hand he seized her chin and cupping it pulled her close, forcing her into a harsh painful kiss.

Takila Mak materialized in a corridor not that different from the brig corridor on the Defiant he knew.

Beside him was this ship's Kamiana, still bound and looking angry though she had not put up any more overt resistance.

"You're home, now which cell is it?" He started to ask but was cut off by a scream.

He raced in that direction, dragging alternate Tyrrel along, though in the instant of that cry he'd almost forgotten she was there.

Turning a corner he saw a nightmare.

On the deck on her knees, a naked Kamiana covered with bruises and welts moand as she sought to free herself from the man holding on to her.

A black leather clad figure who looked familiar, somehow.

Too familiar.

"Pal I think you'd best let the lady go." He said icily.

The man turned, and Takila Mak of the USS Defiant found himself looking at himself.

But a himself so different. Not just the black leather, but the whip, the spiked belt and armbands, the long blonde hair spiked stiffly in a style Terrans had once called "Punk."

The other Mak smiled ironically. "So you're me."

"Bub, if I were you, I woulda chopped my own head off a thousand years ago."

He looked his counterpart over, then shook his head. "Naa. Not a thousand. More like a couple thousand at least." He tsk'd softly, shaking his head again. "I'd think about canceling my wardrobe designer's retainer if I were you too."

Mak-the-second stared back at him. "Oh really? You think you're such a prize?" He laughed ironically, then reached for his whip.

"Oh, you've got one, too?" Mak replied. "Nice....but mine's longer."

Mak-2 unfurled his whip and turned back towards Kamiana. "But I don't think you know quite what to do with it." He sneered. "Let me show you..."

Mak's hand shot out and grabbed his counterpart's wrist even as Mak-2 was drawing it back to lash out at Kamiana again. "Y'know, you really ought to think about where you put things. Might save yourself a lot of trouble later." His voice was steel and in the eyes was ice. "Like maybe think about taking on someone your own size? That's if you're up to it, of course." He raked a cold stare over his counterpart again. "You look the part but..." He paused, shook his head, then spoke slowly, drawing out his next words. "I really don't think you're cut out for this game, bub." He let go of Mak-2 but the look in his eyes was clear what would happen if Mak-2 continued.

Mak-2 laughed. "I'm not cut out for...?!?" He stepped back and tossed the whip aside, then drew his sword. "I think you're the one who needs to learn a few things."

The hand that was not holding the sword reached up briefly to touch a small black orb that was suspended from a gold chain around Mak-2's neck.

Mak saw that and wondered why that object struck a chord of familiarity, but there wasn't time to dwell on that now.

Mak-2 lunged, Mak parried and the fight was on, a dance of flashing gleaming blades and the ring of metal hitting metal as the pair seemed to effortlessly counter each other's moves.

Kamiana watched this and despite the fire that burned in her head, Paulos was still forcing himself into her mind sending waves of psychic pain, she fought to hold on she had to see what would happen now for herself she had to. Two Maks, so alike in form but in inner substance so utterly opposite, she found herself wondering how he could have become the twisted creature who had been torturing her.

Part of her wanted to do something, to grab something heavy and hurl it at Mak-2, but somehow she knew she couldn't interfere, that this was between the two of them, it had to be.

The duel was almost balletic the way the combatants moved. Now and again there would be a lucky blow but the cuts healed almost instantly this didn't surprise her, not after what she'd seen that night in her quarters.

But was there a way to stop Mak-2? There had to be, there just had to.

"Your Mak is dead." Came Paulos' mocking mindvoice. "If not now, then soon. As soon as ours grows weary of the dance."

She pressed her hands to her head in yet another vain attempt to shut out the mental equivalent of cold, sadistic laughter.

* * *

In the ISS Defiant's computer core Myah's and Lebin's reprogramming had begun to take effect. An information dump was even now being relayed to their own Defiant's computer, despite the efforts of the ISS Defiant's crew to override/cut the datalink from the Bridge, which efforts Lebin and Myah had so far been able to circumvent by redirecting the commands.

Matute and Friese meanwhile stood ready, the techs and guards in here were unconscious but there were more security outside and they could decide to burn through the hatch at any moment. At least the intruder control systems had been disabled right away so they didn't have to worry about being gassed.

"I think that should do it," Myah said after another three minutes had gone by. "We've got what they know about the gateway, enough to reset it to let us get home. I just hope Mak's found Kamiana."

* * *

In the ISS Defiant's Brig

"Clang" "Clash" went the swinging swords there seemed to be no end to this Kamiana thought desperately praying for just that, praying for her Mak to stop this so they could get away from here, she could sense this ship's Security closing around them, even through the pain that filled her mind as Paulos continued his telepathic torture. It had seemed for a while there that it wasn't hurting as much, but now she knew he had only been holding back for a while, she couldn't keep her hands from her head feeling like it was going to burst at any moment and over the pain came the terrible laughing he wouldn't stop.

As worn down as she was already it was only sheer determination that was letting her struggle at all and even that was becoming difficult, but she had to see what happened with Mak, she simply had to.

"You are fools to think you can stand against the Empire, particularly now when your Federation lies in ruins." Taunted Danorium in her mind.

The tears ran down her face she didn't have the strength to stop them she had to concentrate just to focus past the pain to see what was happening to Mak.

The two Maks continued their duel, they seemed almost to be moving in sync with each other they were so perfectly matched. She'd watched Mak fight before but those had never been like this, but then he hadn't been fighting himself, either.

The blades flashed, struck each other, then flashed again, and then a single flaw spoiled the hitherto perfect symmetry.

A slight misstep by Mak-2, quickly corrected, but it did cost a moment which Mak was equally quick to take full advantage of, his sharp blue eyes missing nothing that would tip the advantage in his favor.

His blade swung downward parting flesh and bone as easily as if it were paper, blood spurted like water from a fountain.

The head and body of Takila Mak of the ISS Defiant fell separately to the deck plates, amidst a spreading lake of redness.

Seeing this through Kamiana's eyes, Paulos howled in rage and sent a wave of mindpain through every nerve every fiber of her being a thousand times worse than what he'd given her before.

She screamed she couldn't stop screaming.

Mak whirled instantly and seizing her shoulders tried to make her look at him, but she was too far gone and there wasn't time. He administered a quick nerve pinch to put her out.

He had to get her back, where Rael could help her, but one thing first.

Reaching towards his fallen opponent, he fished out the gold chain, the black orb, feeling again the flash of familiarity. What was this, what did it mean, could it be something to do with the home he could not remember? Somehow he felt it did, unfortunately his other self was beyond telling anything he might have known. Not that he would've been too likely to do so well, whatever.

He picked up the other Mak's sword, too.

* * *

In the ISS Defiant's computer core

Lebin nodded. "I'm sure he will. Let's crash this thing and get home ourselves before the natives get any more restless."

His hands flew over the panels as did hers and mere moments later one system after another began shutting down.

Including the security systems at the Brig.

Mak scooped up the sobbing Kamiana, as gingerly as he could to spare her any additional pain, then tapped his commbadge.

This Defiant's Kamiana let out a howl of despair as they faded from view. She had failed. And she knew only too well what the Empire thought of failure.

* * *

The Bridge of the ISS Defiant

Captain Bridges smashed a fist against the console as the main lights went out and the emergencies came on.

"Damn them, where's Security? MATUTE!!!"

It was too bad the shapeshifter wasn't humanoid and therefore lacked a humanoid nervous system, so the Agony Booth would have no effect on her. But there were ways, if she wasn't dead he was going to make her wish she was for this.

How could this have happened, those weak peaceloving Federation types escaping an Imperial Starship crew?

"I want the systems back online NOW." He growled at Wolfrom, who was tapping frantically at her console.

"Weapons is offline too, Sir." Lebin reported his voice trembling. "We can't fire on them..."

That was the last thing the Trill said before a phaser shot burned him to the deck.

"Anyone else?" Bridges snarled, hand tensed on his phaser. Even Rael hung back, knowing better than to approach him like this.

The crew bent to their tasks trying desperately to bring their ship back to life before the Captain's rage struck down another of them.

* * *

Sickbay of the USS Defiant

A shower of golden light erupted in the middle of Main Sickbay, and Rael stepped forward, ready for whatever was coming. A transport directly into Sickbay was usually only done in medical emergencies so this was not a good sign.

When the effect faded Mak stood there, holding a naked and battered looking Kamiana Tyrrel.

He looked like he'd been through the wringer himself, she noted as she moved to scan Tyrrel, but Kamiana seemed in worse shape.

"They had her, over there." Mak said briefly, knowing Rael would take his meaning. While he didn't say more than that, the look in his eyes, on his face, was asking a silent question.

"Of course." Rael responded, motioning for Mak to place Tyrrel on a table. "Don't lay her down, yet, though. I need to do something about the welts first."

Mak nodded and eased the unresisting Kamiana into place.

"Got to report in," he replied, his brusque tone masking his concern. "Let me know, she says anything, ok?"

Rael nodded understandingly and placed a hand on Mak's arm. "Maybe you should let us take care of you, too?"

"Maybe later, Doc." He looked at Kamiana's empty eyes again and vowed somehow he'd bring the light back into them. "I'll be back."

With that Takila Mak walked slowly out of Sickbay, not turning away from Kamiana's motionless form until the last moment before the door closed behind him.

Rael sighed and set to work repairing the physical injuries, which fortunately seemed superficial, but she was more concerned with Kamiana's lack of reaction. The woman was conscious, she was sure of that, but not responding to being spoken to at all. Shock, most likely, was her guess, she tapped her commbadge.

* * *

In the bed, Paulos blinked awake as the communicator beeped.

"Counsellor, please report to the sickbay immediately." came Rael's voice.

"Understood," he replied.

A few minutes later, Paulos arrived in sickbay to see Rael running a dermal regenerator over a young looking blonde woman who had a haunted look in her dark eyes.

There were signs of bruises and welts over what he could see of her body, though she was holding a blanket in front of her. Rael seemed to be working mostly on the woman's back.

"Doctor, you sent for me?" Paulos said quietly.

Rael looked up at him and nodded. The woman she was caring for didn't look up as Rael whispered "I'll be right back okay?"

Rael then came over and drew Paulos aside.

"That's Ensign Tyrrel," she said softly. "Mak just brought her in, they, I mean the ISS Defiant's crew, had kidnapped her so that their version of her could hijack us into their universe. I'm taking care of the physical injuries but she's still in shock. They go in for torture over there it seems and not just physical torture." She tsk'd softly and looked into Paulos' eyes. "Can you help her?"

Paulos nodded. "I will do my best, Doctor." He could feel Tyrrel's pain already even without trying to contact her. The question was could he reach her before she went too far into herself?

He moved to stand in front of her. "Ensign Tyrrel," he said keeping his voice as soft and non threatening as possible, broadcasting only caring and concern.

"Her name is Kamiana." Rael supplied.

Paulos nodded. "Kamiana, hear me. You are safe now."

Kamiana did not at first look up, she continued to stare at the deck. As Paulos continued to speak softly, though, her eyes seemed to focus, then locked with his.

The dark eyes went wide with fear, no, terror, what? Paulos barely had time to wonder before the wave of sheer terror assaulted him.

Kamiana shrank away from him first one scream then another issued from her she scrambled off the table oh no not him not here get away she had to get away.

Rael and two orderlies were with them in an instant, Rael quickly administering a hypospray which sedated Tyrrel.

Once they'd gotten her into a biobed and the screams and sobs had ebbed into exhausted sleep, Paulos turned to Rael and sighed, "Doctor if she will react like that every time she sees me there will be nothing that I can do to help her. Has she reacted to any other male in that manner, or is it just me?"

Rael shook her head a little, Only to you Counselor, though she wasn't aware during most of time she was near other men." She paused, "If you can not help her, what are we going to do?"

Paulos frowned, "I think that you are the most qualified female on the ship in couseling, maybe Maren could help also. She does need treatment however. If you will be her counselor, I can offer advice if necessary. I think that she will do best if I were not in her presence, at least for now. If you can find out what happened to her, and why she is so terrified of me, then perhaps I can help her."

Rael nodded. "That would seem to be the best course for now. I can't at the moment guess why such a reaction to you, though, you two hadn't met, right?"

Paulos nodded at this. "I haven't met too many of the crew, yet. I will go to my office and see if there is anything in Ensign Tyrrel's file that might be of help, here."

"I'll let you know what we find out."

Paulos nodded and left Sickbay, while Rael turned back to the sleeping Kamiana and thought over what she'd do when Kamiana woke up.

* * *

On the USS Defiant's Bridge, the crew were busily working to use the information they'd taken from the ISS Defiant's computer to reverse the gateway and get them back to their own universe, and at the same time evade the attempts to stop them from the ISS escort ships (they had crippled the ISS Defiant's computer, but there hadn't been time to do a similar shutdown on the others).

The USS Defiant turned, just avoiding a torpedo burst, then raced for the gateway at full impulse (they were too close to it, using warp would actually cause them to overshoot their target).

There were several more salvos, luckily none did more than minor damage and then they were going through.

A short lightshow later they emerged, back in their own universe at last.

The Defiant turned again once it cleared the gateway. If anyone had been nearby observing, it would appear as though it intended to reenter.

However, it did not. It merely hung there for a few moments, then fired directly into it.

The portal flared up brightly, then winked out.

Captain Bridges breathed a sigh of relief. They were back in their own universe now, what remained of it, anyway. And with the gateway gone it'd be a long time before the Imperials could construct another to try this again. Hopefully enough time that the remnants of the Federation could rebuild enough to resist the threat.

He glanced at Mak, standing just inside the bridge entrance.

Mak gave a thumbs up gesture, "good," Bridges thought. That meant he'd gotten Tyrrel back. He'd have to check with Rael in sickbay, see how she had come through.

He turned to Lebin at helm. "Set course back to Deep Space Nine."

"Aye aye, Sir."

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