|Crew of Deep Space 26|
This SIM was written and presented on April 15, 2015, (corresponding to the IC stardate 239204.15).
((Midway Station, Jenatris Corridor - 6 years ago))
::Varaan stepped off the cargo transport ramp just in front of the freighter's captain and stopped. Turning, he shook the man's hand in traditional Terran fashion, readjusted his nondescript pack over his right shoulder, and walked away from the freighter as the captain stepped off the ramp to look for a stevedore. Varaan remembered the dirty grey metal surroundings from the last time he had been here, when Atlantis was leaving the Par'tha Expanse and returning to Federation space. That was four years ago. Since then Varaan had been reassigned to Utopia Planitia, working as a project manager on some proposed starship designs and system upgrades.::
::Then suddenly, a month ago, he receives orders that he had been transferred to Starfleet Intelligence, and was to immediately report to a covert contact back here, at Midway. Varaan exited the docking bay into the airlock corridor, and went through "customs," which simply meant informing the three guards there whether you were armed or not. He continued through, stating he was not (which was true), and attempted to casually "saunter" through the promenade area, on purpose "arbitrarily" making his way to the Nova Room, the most popular drinking and gambling establishment on the ramshackle station. He didn't think he did a very good job at being casual. It just wasn't...Vulcan.::
::The noise from within hit him long before he entered the bar, the dark ambiance and carcinogenic smoke floating in the air hitting him upon entering. Some game of chance near the back corner was blinking in multicoloured lights, patrons off to the left were engaged in a shouting match of some sort, and an alien of unknown origin (at least, unknown to Varaan) was crooning a song under the soft blue lights on the small stage that took up the whole back of the bar. Varaan slowly made his way to the bar on the right hand side, still looking around as if he was a tourist.::
::He dropped his pack on the floor beside a stool and sat down. His instructions were to order a Cardassian Fireball. That was the signal. No sane Vulcan would ever order such a drink, knowing what it would do to their insides. He ordered the drink from the large male bartender, who moved down the bar to complete the order. Varaan remembered when Atlantis had first arrived here at Midway. The Nova Room had been owned and operated by Mr. Bozar, a muscular Bolian who had turned out to be a Starfleet Intel operative. When Atlantis left Midway for the Expanse, Bozar accompanied them and Varaan placed him in command of Atlantis' Rapid Response Teams. The RRTs had served their purpose admirably more than once while Atlantis was in the Expanse.::
::Varaan was beginning to wonder where Mr. Bozar was now when the bartender returned, firmly setting the drink down in front of Varaan. The Vulcan placed a couple of cred chips on the bar, and the bartender scooped them up and left. Simultaneously, a woman slid onto the stool beside him. She was dressed in a trader's shirt and pants, with a suede jacket of soft green. Her dark hair fell to her shoulders, and she spoke in a dialect that Varaan somehow recognized as southern North American from Earth.::
GENTRY: Welcome back, commander.
::Her voice was low enough with all the other noises in the Nova Room that no one else would have heard her speak. Varaan's E.A.R.S. easily picked up her speech. Either she knew who he was, meaning there was at least a chance that she was his contact, or she was guessing. A very good guess. Too good. Varaan didn't respond, hoping she would continue.::
GENTRY: You might want to check out compartment DO-352 in storage. And, thanks.
::She took the drink from in front of him and left the stool for a table further in the bar. Varaan knew better than to turn around to see who she was or where she was going, and certainly not to follow her. He waited another minute, then slid off the stool, grabbed his pack, and walked out of the bar. He took another couple of minutes to walk around the promenade area, looking at displayed goods, going into and out of stores and other bars, wasting time on purpose in an attempt to throw off any possible surveillance.::
::After about 10 minutes he had somehow meandered his was into the storage compartment area. As he approached the named compartment, two "plain clothes" men appeared behind him, a phaser-sized bulge under each of their jackets. What was the Terran expression? "Stick out like a sore thumb"? They knew he knew they were there, and so he continued the five steps to the compartment, and accessed the door. He stepped inside.::
KRIEGER: Well, you took your sweet time getting here, commander.
::It was dark in the compartment, but Varaan recognized the voice. Admiral Jacob Russell Krieger, former CO of the USS Vandenburg, and currently the station administrator of Deep Space 26. He was not, however, Intelligence. So what was Varan doing here.::
KRIEGER: I want you to see something.
::The admiral approached out of the darkness, also dressed in civilian clothes, a PADD in his outstretched hand. He stopped, handing the PADD to Varaan, who took it. The Vulcan accessed the paused video clip. He recognized a news feed from the Expanse, specifically from the planet Illara Prime. A female news anchor was talking about an accident that had happened at one of the orbiting stations in the Illara system, destroying the station in a huge fireball, killing all 341 personnel aboard. Varaan watched with standard Vulcan distance, not "feeling" for the loved ones who had lost family members, until the anchor spoke about how the explosion happened. He looked up at the admiral, expecting a confirmation of his suspicions.::
KRIEGER: ::taking the PADD back.:: When I heard the details, I had an independent forensic engineering team go over the wreckage. Positive confirmation. The same modus operandi. He's back.
::The admiral was speaking of the Paaran, a Federation terrorist responsible for thousands of civilian deaths, who had fled into the Expanse to escape Federation authorities. Atlantis had been dispatched to try to catch him before he left Federation territory. When they failed to do that, they were to pursue him and try to flush him back into Federation territory so that he could be arrested and tried for his crimes. Unfortunately, Atlantis had lost him in the Expanse. They were sure he was responsible for the explosion at Urlista Station in the Aelann system that the Atlantis crew was blamed for, causing their expulsion from the Expanse. They just couldn't prove it.::
::Now, according to these findings, he had struck again. The explosion was not an accident. It was purposeful, and done in the same distinct manner that the Paaran worked in. If Varaan had been human, his sense of vengence would have peaked about now, his desire to hunt down the man responsible for senseless deaths, and who had so easily evaded capture by his crew. If he was human.::
VARAAN: My orders, admiral?
::Varaan knew the admiral, and he knew what his orders would be even before he asked.::
KRIEGER: Find him. I don't care what it takes. And, at this point, I'm not going to care even if you bring him in alive.
VARAAN: Admiral, I cannot...
KRIEGER: Don't finish that thought, commander. I know what you're going to say. Alright, so bring him in alive. Just find him and bring him in. Do it before anyone else dies because of him. I'm sanctioning this. I'll get it cleared with Intel later. You're to go deep cover. Create personnas, false ids, make contacts, whatever it takes.
VARAAN: Understood, admiral.
KRIEGER: You'll find an old battered courier vessel in the docking bays, the "Plasma Burn." We've put a couple of modifications in her, but not enough that you couldn't explain them away should you need to. She's yours. You'll find a coded frequency in the comm system. Keep me up to date as often as possible, just don't blow your cover. He's been here for years already. Now he's comfortable enough to start up again. Make him uncomfortable.
::Varaan simply nodded and walked out of the compartment, leaving the admiral and his "entourage" behind. He had a mission...and this time he would succeed.::
((Atlantis Brig - Present Day))
::That had been six years ago, and though Varaan had been close on numerous occasions, the Paaran had slipped through his fingers every time. For a non-Vuclan, the situation would have been incredibly frustrating. For Varaan...well, for a pure blood Vulcan, he was feeling pretty human right now.::
::Outpost Bravo had been a lead. Now it was gone, and he was in the brig while his targets were free. This was quickly turning into another dead end. He supposed Blueheart had spoken with Krieger by now, though what Krieger would have told him, Varaan could not guess. And being Vulcan, Varaan did not guess. He just had to wait until someone came to let him out...::