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Shakedown

Posted on 17 Mar 2016 @ 12:42am by Commander Kenneth Lawe

Mission: Drydock
Location: Sol System
Timeline: -4 Weeks

Reno, Nevada - MidTown

It was the fourth trip around the lake, the jogging path smoothed out since his last time back on Earth. He deliberately set it to be later in the day, because he liked the way the light fell like heavy gold during sunsets. It had to have something to do with the formation of the Sierra Nevada mountain range because it seemed that the light didn't turn as liquid gold anywhere else on the planet. At least nowhere he spent quite so much time. They also provided a natural weather break, for the most part, except for when good storms came in - then the greater area of the Nevada side received solid rains, or thick snow, just like the mountains.

But he loved this area, the Betazoid Enclave started on the eastern shore of the half mile diameter artificial lake.

The one thing Ken had to keep reminding himself of, however, was that this lake was home to the grouchiest swans anywhere on the planet. It wasn't uncommon for them to walk out of the lake for the purpose of picking fights with passing members of other species. Just like the one that was already spreading it's wings, puffing up its own size while it glared at him, hissing. But, this time around, Ken was saved by the beeping of his communicator.

Sighing, he stopped and fished the device out of the pocket of his shorts and pressed it between finger and thumb. "Lawe here, go ahead."

"Lieutenant Commander, you're required to report to Captain Brooks immediately," the voice said. Ken recognized the tone and cadence of someone sitting in a dispatching center. "Prepare for immediate transport."

Ken didn't even have time to mention that he wasn't dressed for duty before the silver curtain fell around him and his existence was torn apart at the quantum level.

Starfleet Detention Center - Boulder, Colorado

"Captain," Ken said as he stepped off the transporter pad and addressed the gold uniformed gentleman with captain pips.

"Lieutenant Commander," the man said, confirming he was Captain Brooks. Which probably meant he was in charge of this facility, which Ken recognized as a detention center only because of his long history of fugitive retrieval. "I was told by Pratchett that you and a team were immediately available to assist in a recovery." Brooks didn't waste time as he began leading Ken through the facility. The further they went, the more Ken was convinced they were heading toward solitary areas. He was surprised to find himself lead to a small room which contained one crewman and a transporter pad with four spots. Again, Brooks failed to hesitate as he stepped onto the pad, indicating Ken should join him.

Just before the second transport, Brooks handed over a PADD. Ken didn't have time to look at it before they were once again torn apart at the quantum level only to be reassembled...

Unknown Location - Sol System

Ken only knew that they were still somewhere in the Sol system and only then because he understood the limitations of transporter technology. Only, this transport seemed to take longer than normal, which meant they were probably shunted through a transporter relay system, indicating they could be on Earth, on Earth's Moon or...as far away as Jupiter, maybe even Eros. But certainly still within the Sol system.

Again, Brooks continued, speaking as he went. Hopefully, Ken thought, there would be the same information on the PADD.

"About an hour ago, we experienced the first escape from this facility since its inception. Due to operational security, I'm sure you'll understand that the exact location will not be divulged unless absolutely necessary. At the moment I don't judge that it is. The escapee is Morag Kirn, a known Syndicate lieutenant responsible for several murders, to include attempted murder of the prosecutor on Syndicate cases. He was tried and convicted. Due to his psychological profile and past acts, it was judged that he couldn't be sent to a rehabilitation colony, but had to be segregated."

Ken tried to get his bearings, but it was difficult since he didn't know where he was. "How did he manage to escape?"

"Due time," Brooks said as they came to a checkpoint. Here they put on jumpsuits, to include head covers and covers for their shoes.

They were given a genetic scan to verify their identities before they were allowed through. Ken noticed Brooks went through this process with grudging acceptance. He may be in charge of the facility, but there were rules that came down above him. That was good to know. It would give him something to work with if Brooks proved intractable.

A few yards down the corridor they came to a cell. The first thing Ken noticed were the bodies were not yet removed. The first brig officer lie slumped against the wall, the side of his head crushed. Blood splatter and embedded hair in the wall about six feet up the side of the wall suggested that was the mechanism of injury - his head smashed into the wall several times, until the skull fractured, sending shards into the brain. The second officer lie in the room, the pool of blood that he lie in already congealing into thick jelly. Spurts of it covered the cell, indicating a major artery had been severed. In this case, it appeared to be the carotid. This officer had a single, jagged slash across his throat.

The expression on the officer's face showed that he died realized what was happening to him. At this point Ken became much more careful, aware now of why there were precautions being taken. "I have a forensic specialist I'd like brought in to help process this scene," Ken said starting to take over, naturally. The other man may outrank him by several grades, but as of the moment Ken's evening jog was interrupted and he was shunted to only the Four knew where in the system, it became his assignment. Brooks had to know that - whether he liked it or not was the only question.

"I'll make arrangements, just give me the officer's name and we'll get them here to help process the scene. Though I'm not sure how that'll help you find him and bring him back." There was contained anger in Brooks's tone. Ken understood. He didn't know the dead men, but seeing them here, killed in such a brutal fashion that disregarded the importance of their lives, he too wanted this man captured and shoved into a deeper, darker hole.

But, Ken sighed. He didn't have his team any more. He could try to recall them, but they were out of the system and it would take days to return. But, he did have Phoenix and, in a pinch, Reynolds. It was time to start working with his crew and see where they were in regards of the mission they would be doing in the Delta Quadrant. If things needed to be tweaked, now was the time to find out, not when they were already out in the black.

"I'll need his files and copies of anything he left behind. I also want logs of who wanted to visit, all incoming communications and any correspondence whether it was denied or not," Ken said. He didn't move further into the cell - the less he moved about the better, since any trace of him would have to be identified and excluded, right down to his sloughed off epidermal cells. Well, Haral stated she wanted to engage in forensic science, here was her chance.

"Much of what you requested is already on the secured PADD," Brooks answered.

"How did he leave the facility?" Ken asked, worried about that.

"We're still working on that. The transporter trace was removed from the computer logs." Brooks gritted his teeth as he admitted that.

"Let me know when you find out how that happened," Ken said stepping back from the crime scene. "I'll need to get back to my offices to get started."

"Kawoski will show you back to the transporter," Brooks said. "And Commander," he said, turning to face Ken directly for the first time, his hard edged blue eyes blazing. "This is a secured facility, location confidential for reasons. I'm not going to let anyone turn this into a sightseeing expedition. I'll allow a forensic specialist, provided their qualifications match the title, but I'm not going to have you and your team tromping through here whenever you want. Access will be limited."

"Understood," Ken said, shrugging. "For the most part, and until we discover your traitor, we won't need to be here." Ken watched Brooks flinch at the directness of what Ken said. It was the truth, Morag Kirn couldn't have transported himself out of here, which indicated the possibility that a member of the prison staff assisted in his escape. For whatever reason that was, it wasn't Ken's job to determine who it was, or why. His job, now, was to discover where Morag Kirn was and how to bring him back to face all the consequences of his actions, to include the deaths of two security officers.

Within twenty minutes he was transported back to his office on Earth, where he ordered up the proper uniform from the replicator. He used the facilities shower to clean up and within an hour of being contacted, he was sending out communications of his own.

 

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