Flaw in the Plan
Location: CO's Office
Timeline: MD9 2200
After their trip to sickbay, Liam tracked down Soran and was surprised to find she was still in her office working. He and Tera made their way to Ops and he asked her assistant if he could see the captain as a matter of urgency.
Soran glanced at the clock when her comm chimed. Twenty-two hundred hours. If there was one thing she was grateful for over that blasted parasite incident, for all it had caused havok and destroyed people, it had cleaned the stimulants out of her system. On the down side, she'd not got much sleep since DS5 had been dropped in her lap, and a nice dose of cordafin right now would be just the thing. She answered the duty yeoman, and was surprised to hear it was Mr. Reynolds. "Send him in, Mr Sweitzer."
Liam allowed Tera to enter first, and then walked in and stood to attention. "Ma’am, I apologise for bothering you at this late hour, but may I present Thereen Tera, my girlfriend. She has been both drugged and threatened, I fear in retaliation of me doing my job, and having to press the Cardassians at present. Tera, please will you tell the Commander what happened? What we talked about earlier this evening?"
Reynolds was giving orders in her office? It was too late for this. "Belay that." She held up a hand to forestall the woman. "To understand your statement, your girlfriend has been threatened and assaulted by Cardassians?"
"Tera told me this evening that she was visited by some men yesterday evening. They paralysed her with a drug." He handed her a padd of the sickbay report proving what had been in her system from their visit prior to coming to her.
"They made demands that she is supposed to convince me to back off of the Cardassians. Tera thinks they were Cardassians, as they knew some personal history about her father, but it was dark and she couldn't see much. It might be the Cardassians, it could be an ally of theirs with a personal interest in their agenda, or it could be someone else entirely doing it for their own agenda. We don't know for sure. All I can tell you is someone has drugged and threatened her, trying to use her to keep me in check in the diplomatic arena. My job role is compromised. I don't know how to carry out your most recent orders in light of this development, and I need to keep my girlfriend safe. Please advise what you want me to do, ma'am," Liam answered.
Tera had started to talk, but quickly shut her mouth when the commander snapped at her. The Bajoran woman seemed to shrink back into herself, her dark hair falling in front of her large, blue eyes. It was her reaction to all authority figures, drilled into her by the numerous Cardassians that bullied her father and her family. She avoided Soren’s gaze, keeping her eyes downcast, awaiting orders to speak and really just wishing she could go back home. But home wasn’t safe anymore.
Maritza took the padd and scanned the contents with increasing anger, confusion, and alarm. If the Cardassians had done this, it was...totally in character, especially for the poisonous reptile of a previous ambassador. It was more than likely that the pompous toad of a current one would keep similar methods.
But there was no proof it was them. Should she treat this as common assault, or something even more sinister? She reached to her comm badge. "Mr Sweitzer, please would you ask Mr. Ryan to come to my office? Wake him up if you need to."
She turned back to the the visitors, "I think we need to hear Miss Thereen's account from her," Soran said to Reynolds. "But let's wait for My Ryan, rather than have you repeat yourself ad nauseum," she told the Bajoran, not unkindly. "When did this assault take place?"
Thereen nodded, swallowing. “Yes, ma’am,” she murmured. “It...It was last night.” She tried to recall through the hazy memory of fear. Some things, the littlest, most mundane, like the drip of water from the bathroom, were clear and vivid. Others, like the men’s voices, were hazier, though the words were clear. Had they had Cardassian accents?
“It was shortly after 0100,” Thereen said. “I remember, when I could finally move again, it was after 0200.” She dropped her gaze again after speaking, a good Bajoran girl when faced with an officer. Recent events had her reverting to the young girl she had been when under the heel of the Cardassians.
“Commander Ryan is on his way,” came Sweitzer’s voice.
"Send him straight in," Soran replied, sitting back in her chair. Midnight. Only an evening after she'd told Liam to press the ambassador. Reynolds must have gone off all guns blazing after he had left her office.
Caleb strode into the office, running a hand through his bedhead hair. He was an early to bed, early to rise man. It came with life on a ranch. So he’d been awakened from a sound sleep. He gave Liam a tired smile and then nodded to Soran, more professional. He eyed the Bajoran. He only knew her by sight and reputation from a few mischievous conduct and criminal damage to property reports where she was the victim, but had never met her. Her shop was next door Was this another one of those? It couldn’t have been handled at a more decent hour?
"Thank you for coming, Mr Ryan. Miss Thereen, please tell Mr Ryan about what happened last night. In your own words."
Caleb raised an eyebrow and glanced at the Bajoran.
Tera took another breath. “I was...in bed, asleep,” she said. “A little after 0100. Some men came into my room. Cardassians, I think, but it was dark, and they had...distorted their voices somehow. They held me down and gave me a sedative hypospray. They...They told me I had to convince Liam...Lieutenant Reynolds to let up on the Cardassians, stop getting in their way. I...don’t know what the Cardies--Cardassians are doing. But apparently Lt. Reynolds is causing them problems.”
Caleb frowned. “Cardassians?”
“Yes, sir,” Tera said, dropping her gaze.
“This have anything ta do with the Sixth Fleet parked on our doorstep?”
Probably. I hope not. They're making an unusually stupid mistake, if they are. Even for them. "It’s a bit early to come to a conclusion, I think," Soran said. "Miss Thereen, you didn't see any Cardassians? Why do you think it was them?"
Tera took a breath. “Whom else would it be?” she asked. “I...don’t know how much you know of me or my past, ma’am,” she said, looking away guiltily. “My father...was a collaborator with the Cardassian occupation. When the Cardassians left, we...were forced to leave, as well. We were settled with some other Bajorans on a world in the demilitarized zone. It was barely habitable, and the Cardassians kept a garrison there to keep an eye on us, but we got by as best we could. When the war started, they made it a forward operating base. More Cardassians and Jem’Hadar. My father had died, and I was...put to work for the war effort.”
Her cheeks flushed, and Liam got a jolt of shame from her. Her hand went instinctively to her wrist where Liam knew she had a line of tiny Cardassian tattoos, her body language pulling inward.
“Who else would want to use me against Liam? It is not like they didn’t use me against my father,” she pointed out.
Caleb glanced over at Soran. “It does seem the most logical.”
"Seeming logical doesn't stand up in a court of law. I can't just go making accusations." Maritza resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose. She definitely wanted a tweak. But she had to be strong. "Mr. Ryan, go over Miss Thereen's apartment with everything you have. Tell me who was in her apartment. No assumptions, just evidence."
“Yes, ma’am,” Caleb said. “Ah’ll get an evidence team on it right away.” He glanced over at Tera. “Ya have a place ta stay for a few days, ma’am?” he asked. “If not, ya can stay at mah place. Ah can crash in mah office. If ya don’t mind sharin’ quarters with mah daughter Zandy.”
“Ehm...thank you, Commander.” Tera glanced at Liam. She didn’t want to presume anything. “I’m sure I can find a place. Miss Tianys might have a room I could use.”
Maritza looked at Liam. Someone didn't like him in position. Presumably they wanted him out of the way for something. But what? "I'm wondering the best route to proceed. I don't like being threatened. I like the citizens of this station being threatened even less, and I refuse to give in to bullies." She sat back in her chair. "There must be a way we can turn this to our advantage, without further danger to Miss Thereen."
Liam nodded, having not said much. He hated that his job had put Tera in this position. "You must come stay with me, Tera," he said simply. "I insist. I need to know you’re safer, and if they try something again, at least I will be there and might stand a chance to fight them off."
He turned back to Soran. "The only way to potentially use this to our advantage would be to have Tera deliberately feed these people what we want them to know and trying to control the checkerboard, so to speak, to our advantage. Play them at their own game, perhaps. Make her a double agent, so to speak, to get them out of the shadows and show their true colours. But that's not a position I am comfortable asking her to consider being in, ma’am. It’s putting her in more danger."
"I agree," Maritza replied. She drummed her fingers on the table. "We'll just have to try another way. Perhaps letting them think they've won will draw them out." She considered how. "You have counselling experience, yes?"
"Yes, ma'am," Liam replied back.
"Dr. Bennet has been recalled. I'm reassigning you to Counselling. Let’s see what happens if they have to attack me to get pressure taken off the Cardassians."
"Yes, ma'am," Liam repeated, surprised and a little nervous at the idea of going back into his original field.
Commander Soran turned her attention to her Chief of Security. "Mr Ryan, arrange some subtle observation of them both, see if anyone takes the bait."
Caleb nodded. “Ah’ll do that,” he said. He looked over at Liam and grinned. “Ya think she’d be safer with you than with the Chief a Security?” he teased the counselor.
Tera blushed. “Liam will be a perfect gentleman.”
Caleb chuckled. “Ah’m sure he will.”
"Very well." Soran decided it was time to draw things to a close before she needed an insulin injection against the saccharine floating around her office. "Mr Ryan, I expect a report on your findings as soon as humanly possible. I want hard evidence before I confront Turvan. Mr. Reynolds, your reassignment is effective 1200 hours tomorrow. Please make sure the diplomatic staff are briefed to report to me in the interim. Miss Thereen, I apologise in behalf of Starfleet for the situation. I assure you we will take all possible steps to put an end to this and see those responsible held to account. Carry on, gentlemen."
Commander Maritza Soran
Lieutenant Liam Reynolds
Commander Caleb Ryan
Chief of Security/Tactical
NPC Caleb Ryan