* * *
Security checkpoint, Docking Port 2, Deck 6
Chan Yu scoffed at his mate and security colleague Brad Hanlon. "You wish Brad. Harris might rub up against you, she might give you long leering looks, but she is never going to do anything more than that."
Brad punched Chan jokingly on his shoulder as they stood in the recess just off of the main gangway, that acted as the security office. "Yeah and how do you know that for sure?"
"Because you are not the only one she gives those looks to or the only one she teases. She flashes those eyes and what nots to all the guys. To be honest, I think there might be some truth to the rumour she has some Orion blood in her."
"Yeah right. I'm not the only one with wet dreams about her then if you believe that hogwash."
With a degree of bravado, Brad commented as if to prove his point. "Yeah well she's definitely managed to trick her way in to the Captain's bed."
Chan scornfully met that hypothesis with a derisive look. "That proves nothing. The Captain is no boy scout and if I were a Captain, I'd make Harris my steward too."
"Yeah you wish. Never going to happen, my friend. You'll be an NCO all your life unless you want to pick up a padd and stylus and do the entrance exam for the Academy."
Shrugging his shoulders as if contemplating such a course, Chan replied, "Never know Brad. That'll sicken you proper when as an officer I can order you about."
"Now you really do wish. Like we take anything those jumped up ensigns say to heart. Heh heh, and anyway I doubt you're quite the material to be an officer and a gentleman."
Defensively Chan retorted. "Hey I could do those exams with my eyes closed if I wanted."
"That is not were I think you fall down. More I doubt you can be a gentleman, you dog."
"Me a dog? You're the dog!"
The two NCO security specialists jostled with one another but then quickly came to attention, as they heard the approach of some service personnel from the starbase.
They stood to a casual attention, Chan shouldering his phaser rifle whilst Brad moved forward to follow the routine security procedures. He held a hand out to check the security passes. Three men in coveralls approached. The lead figure reaching into his overall to retrieve his pass, as Brad moved forward with a bored and genial expression plastered to his face. That expression quickly changed to surprise, then horror and finally anger, as he took in the firearm removed from the overalls instead.
The carbine was pointed straight at his face and he reacted by reaching for his firearm. But, the flash of the muzzle erupted in his face and then his face disappeared in bloody miasma of red.
Chan blinked and then baulked, as the blood covered him. His friend's headless body, toppled over to one side. The shock and horror of the scene in such a normalised and mundane setting, paralysed Chan from reacting. He might only have stood stock still for a total of five seconds but it was a fatal delay.
The second of the intruders had quickly stepped up to him and deftly slid a knife into Chan's ribs. With a twist of the knife the last lungful of air was squeezed out of Chan, his weapon dropped from his hands and blood frothed at his lips. The eyes glazed over and then Chan dropped to his knees as the knife came out.
The third figure tapped the hidden communicator implanted in his ear. "This is Vardros. Gangway secure." As he spoke, the other two men dragged the dead NCO bodies and dumped them in a small storage compartment. They then proceeded to strip off the coveralls to reveal the uniforms of security specialists.
Vardros meantime, keyed in commands into the security console and the entrance to the gangway hissed closed and locked. He then walked up to the door's manual controls and exposing the inner controls, he pressed a surge pulse unit into it. The pulse activation caused the controls to overload with a burst of sparks, leaving a burning plastic smell behind. He pulled over one of the neighbouring toolkits and emptied some of the tools onto the floor.
"That should make it look like a technician is working on the problem, if anyone queries it, just blame the ineptitude of the engineering department."
"What if they are from engineering themselves?"
He fixed him with a stare. "Ask them to fix it then, but do not allow them to finish the work." Vardros gave a simple warning. "Do not allow anyone to get onboard. On the signal, feel free to kill any and all you see. You might well spare them the agony that awaits them otherwise. Not before we secure the main systems. I'm on my way to environmental controls. Do not raise any suspicions and do not fail in your task. For as you can see the price of crossing our employer is high."
* * *
On the bridge, Cutler moaned as he started to come to and winced as he felt the binds cutting into his wrists and ankles. His eyes, rimmed in red, stung from the flash bang concussive device transported aboard. Sprawled at his feet, lay the unconscious erogenous form of Yeoman Harris.
Obviously, the trio of men prowling about the bridge systems had beamed on afterwards. The quiet of the bridge and the calm exterior of the interlopers signalled to Noah that their entrance had gone unnoticed.
Noah had to get some sort of warning out to the rest of the crew but he could not see how he could trussed up like a turkey for Thanksgiving. Panic threatened to overwhelm him and with the gag in his mouth, he started to hyperventilate. One of the men turned and approached Noah propped under the viewscreen.
"Well, well, looky here. The novice ensign is awake. Not quite the glorious start to your career you imagined I dare say, ensign. I do pity you. You personally have not crossed me but you stepped aboard this vessel and so that makes you culpable."
The man removed the gag from Cutler's mouth, but pushed the muzzle of his carbine into the mouth hard against his teeth in its stead. "Before you think to yell and shout for help, consider this, at the moment you and your pretty friend here are alive. One loud decibel and I will cause you terrible pain. You still can be of service to me and so you can continue to live."
"And as I say, I don't have any personal enmity towards you, so I might allow you to live simply that you can go back to your superiors and tell them of the price repaid on McGregor for the pains he has inflicted upon me. Let it serve as a warning to any other Federation vessels to not tangle with my operations."
Gasping for breath Noah managed to ask. "Who are you? What do you want?"
Spreading his arms in a triumphant stance the man proclaimed as he shut off the micro holographic projector that portrayed him as a human. As the image flickered out, Noah saw before him a fierce and scarred Orion. A brutish towering green menace whose grim expression only heightened by the scar that cut across his missing left eye.
"You can tell them that I am T'Hos Likk. And you can tell them that a Fien never let's go of a grudge and will avenge the murder of their family. McGregor thinks he can kill one of my ilk and get away with it!"
Anger seethed through the brute and losing his self-control, he punched Cutler hard to the side of his skull. Then just as quickly, he returned with a slick smile and slimy charm. "My apologies, I intended that bitch slap for someone else. Terrol! Has Vardros reached the environmental systems yet?"
"He reports that he is almost there."
"Wh ... wh ... what are you doing with the environmental controls?"
"My servant Vardros, is similarly disguised but dressed in a technician's uniform. The plan is quite simple. In his tool kit, he carries a rather small cylinder that he will attach to the air ventilation systems. It will disperse into the air that you breathe a truly horrible toxin that burns you from the inside out, eating each one of your crewmates up through their lungs and blood veins."
"Just a little thing I stole from a Romulan laboratory with the aim of mass-producing and selling to various terrorists cells throughout the Quadrant. Alas, my own scientists could not replicate the formula, so I had to save it for special occasions when I want to cause an enemy a particularly horrible and gruesome death. You mightn't agree, but killing McGregor and his crew counts as just such an occasion."
* * *