Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 11: Assassins
“Lieutenant Dolphin - good first ride - a fifteen meter wave,” came a voice inside Dolphin’s chest. It was Justice Minerva Irons, coming through the communicator embedded in his chest. Dolphin had not gotten used to this device - it was not in general use by Star Fleet - only by some special forces units. Justice Irons had insisted on using it for her entire crew.
“Come to the investigations office, Mr. Dolphin. I’m afraid I’m about to spoil the rest of your day..” Dolphin looked and could see Justice Irons standing on the balcony. He patted Pep on the chest. “Got to run,” he said and took off toward the main building at a jog, stopping only briefly to put up his board.
It wasn’t until he reached the resort that Dolphin thought it might be a good idea for him to get a shower and exchange his swim trunks for a uniform. Fortunately, someone else had thought about that too and an appropriate uniform was waiting for him.
Justice Irons, Lt. T’Lok Smith, 2nd Lt. Tauk and Investigator Lynhart Shran were waiting for him in the investigations room. Tauk gave a full briefing and brought everyone up to speed.
Irons was the first to comment. “Great work Tauk.” Irons turned toward her director of flight operations. “Dr. Dolphin, I wanted you to hear this from me first. Look at the date stamp of the incident in the initial group listed as incident #1.”
Dolphin had been paying attention throughout the briefing, but his blood was still singing from riding a 50’ wave. He looked at the date stamp, then looked at it again, and felt all the exultation draining out of him. “Six months to the day after my dissertation was republished by the Harvard press.” Dolphin let out a slow sigh and rolled his head to release tension in his neck. “Another of my intellectual step-children,” he continued grimly.
Tauk spoke up. “It isn’t like that, sir. You didn’t make anyone do these awful things. And I’ve done the math - and I’m not the only one. You’re right by the numbers.”
Justice Irons interrupted. “Be that as it may, this is no longer just philosophy. We have a killer to catch. Tauk, I want you to sit on the initial set and focus on the Challenger. They have been under quarantine for nearly three full days now. I am also concerned that our current killer might use news of the initial set of killings to sow confusion. Enough confusion to cover an escape.”
Tauk looked at his captain, perplexed. “You don’t want to notify Star Fleet about them?”
“Not just yet,” Irons responded. “Leave that to me. It is to our advantage to not tip our hand. I will notify the top of the chain - they need to keep that investigation top secret. To that end, I want you to curtail your inquiries into it. Let’s leave killer #1 up to Star Fleet Intelligence and focus on killer #2.”
Dolphin looked up from his dark thoughts, “Killer… No, we’re not dealing with killers.”
Everyone looked at him blankly. Lynhart Shran’s antennae twitched and went up. T’Lok opened her mouth. She couldn’t read Kenny’s mind, but she could tell he was convinced he was on to something. Irons winked at her.
“Not killers,” Dolphin said. “Assassins.”
“What’s the difference?” Tauk asked.
Shran let his fist fall to the table with a thump. “Motive.”
“Right,” Dolphin continued. “When it was just one, we could posit a sociopath. But two, using the same signature and the first one secret for all this time… #2 is not a copycat. They’re not doing this for political reasons or because they have something against trills in particular. They’re getting paid or they’re getting extorted.”
“And just where did you get your investigative chops, Director?” T’Lok asked lightly.
Shran spoke up. “You didn’t know that Mr. Dolphin’s first career was with the District Attorney’s office in New York?”
Everyone looked at Shran.
“Tiny universe,” he continued with his gravelly voice. “I was a detective for the New York City police department for six years. I worked for Lieutenant Dolphin… Lieutenant Linda Dolphin - this fellow’s ex-wife.” Shran turned toward Dolphin. “She said you were the worst assistant district attorney in the history of the office. Low conviction rate. Too damn interested in the truth,” Shran concluded.
“They fired me,” Dolphin said. “So I went back to school and got my Ph.D. in philosophy.”
“And wrote yourself into the history books,” Shran continued, “They should have left well enough alone and put up with your conviction rate.”
“No,” Dolphin replied, “I was miserable in the job. I was about to quit anyway. Anyway - there is a political motive to these killings. But it isn’t the killers - it’s the person, or persons, paying them or extorting them.”
“Which means you can throw out a bundle of assumptions about these killers,” Shran concluded. “Like the idea they have to be trills, or psychopaths - they might be, but they don’t have to be.”
“And the breakfast signature…” T’Lok followed. “A way to communicate to their employer? To let them know who did the deed so they get paid, or rewarded, or the threat held at bay?”
“So how does all this help us with killer #2?” Tauk asked.
“Killer #2 has to be a powerful telepath,” Irons concluded. “Either a vulcan or a betazoid of unusual ability. A vulcan could use a series of mind-melds to implant instructions - but it would have to be someone with far greater ability than I have ever encountered. And they’re attacking the human partner. Humans have far greater resistance to telepathy than trills. Even T’Lon wouldn’t be able to make a human murder their spouse. Or commit suicide. Unless they already wanted to.”
Irons continued, “A betazoid of sufficient power and training could manipulate someone’s mind from long distance in real time - they could be in a cloaked ship or even posted on a nearby planet or asteroid. But the same problem applies. It would take someone of far greater ability than I have ever encountered.”
Dolphin took a sudden breath - hissing between his teeth. “Your honor, we’re not looking for a vulcan. Or a betazoid… We’re looking for a hybrid.”
Tauk picked up on the thought. “A genetically enhanced hybrid - vulcan and betazoid - with all of the telepathic abilities of both species genetically enhanced - the dials turned up as far as they can go. It would take all of those things - multiple mind melds, contact from a distance. Behaviors implanted and then triggered. The victim tries to fight against the implanted behaviors, but there is the telepath, working from afar. Let’s say they’re on Deep Space 9 or Bajor - right in the middle of this pattern. Able to reach to both ends,” the little ferengi continued, “Your honor, I think the Challenger can come out of quarantine. Our killer is not on board. And now we have someone to look for - and a place to start looking.”