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ACT TWO

 

FADE IN:

 

11 INT. ANDORIAN ICE TUNNEL

 

Shar, Tenmei, Nog and zh’Yemre take cover around the corner of the tunnel, as more PHASER BEAMS screech and ricochet...

 

TENMEI
Is that the only way out of here?

ZH’YEMRE
I’m afraid so.

NOG
We’ll have to fight our way out.

 

Nog reaches into his coat, pulls out his own PHASER. Shar immediately moves to stop him...

 

SHAR
No, Nog. Remember what Minister
ch’Lhren said - if we hurt them,
even in self-defence, they’ll just
use it as propaganda against us.

TENMEI
We need to get to the runabout.
But how? We can’t beam straight
to it without a comm connection.

SHAR
Prynn - give me your tricorder.

 

Tenmei wrestles out her tricorder, hands it to Shar. He rips off his gloves so his hands can move more quickly.

 

SHAR
Raise your hoods and goggles, and
be ready to run. Don’t stop until
you reach the runabout.

ZH’YEMRE
Leave me, I’ll only slow you down.

SHAR
This tunnel will be no safer soon.

 

Shar sees that the other three have done as he instructed. He feels no need to do it himself - he can handle it.

He works the tricorder, and like in 12x05 “Trial and Error” an ear-piercing SQUEAL is emitted, echoing and amplifying off the icy walls. They cringe and shudder from the noise.

The tunnel SHAKES, ice cracking and crumbling, flakes falling to the ground. The phaser bolts stop...

 

SHAR
Now!

 

All four run for their lives... around the corner, towards the dark EXIT, the tunnel collapsing in on itself...

 

12 EXT. ANDOR - NORTHERN WASTES - NIGHT (CONTINUOUS)

 

...and out into the open night air, past two of the FIGURES on their knees, struggling to function through the horrific NOISE coming from the tricorder still in Shar’s hand...

TENMEI in the lead along the terrifyingly narrow path...

SNOW and stinging ICE shards making visibility near-zero...

NOG in the middle, unable to not look at the terrifyingly steep cliff to one side even as he runs after Tenmei...

SHAR in the rear, helping zh’Yemre along with one hand, the other holding out the tricorder like a warding charm...

The environment SHAKING at the vomit-inducing SQUEAL, the path disintegrating, getting narrower all the time...

The RUNABOUT appearing through the snow, home safe...

But the third FIGURE is holding position next to it. He raises his big heavy weapon, ready to fire...

Tenmei DROPS to the snowy ground, using her extreme sports skills to SKID along the ice on the edge of her boots...

...and KICKS the figure’s legs out from under him, his shot going wild into the snowstorm...

...and he goes TUMBLING over the edge of the cliff, YELLING in horror as he falls, all sight of him lost in the snow...

Tenmei watches him go, appalled...

Nog reaches the runabout hatch, works the controls...

And Shar and zh’Yemre are the first ones through. Nog helps Tenmei up off the ground, and they enter too...

 

13 INT. RUNABOUT - COCKPIT

 

Inside, Tenmei finds Shar already working feverishly on the emergency transporter controls at the rear of the cockpit.

 

TENMEI
Shar... one of them fell...

SHAR
I know. Just get us in the air.
Nog, the cargo hold - I need a
makeshift brig, quickly.

 

Tenmei runs to the helm, starts work. Nog runs off-screen to the rear. zh’Yemre staggers to a seat, out of the way...

...and Shar is still working with pinpoint focus...

 

14 EXT. ANDOR - NORTHERN WASTES - NIGHT

 

The runabout LIFTS AWAY from the cracking ground-ice, now supporting itself on thrusters and in no danger...

The two FIGURES by the tunnel entrance, one unconscious from a fallen ice chunk, the other looking up at the rising runabout in disgust, their mission failed...

...and they both DEMATERIALISE in a transporter beam...

The third FIGURE, free-falling down the side of the sheer mountainside, SCREAMING all the way...

...and he too DEMATERIALISES in mid-fall...

 

15 SHAR

 

...working the transporter controls. He shouts urgently...

 

SHAR
Nog! Are you ready? I can only
hold three people in transporter
suspension for a few moments...

 

16 NOG

 

...quickly swapping isolinear chips and shunting machinery. He steps out the way, presses a control - a FORCEFIELD pops into place covering a small cubicle area...

 

NOG
Yes! Do it!

 

17 SHAR

 

...hits one last control victoriously...

 

18 NOG

 

...watches as the three FIGURES rematerialise into his makeshift brig in various undignified poses. The one who was falling THUDS to the deck with an audible OOF.

 

NOG
They’re safe. Prynn, get us back
to the capital.

 

19 BACK TO SCENE

 

Tenmei PULLS the runabout up through the storm, and they are on their way. Shar finally turns to zh’Yemre...

 

SHAR
Doctor zh’Yemre, I must apologise.
It seems we might have destroyed
the entrance to your expedition.

 

But the civilian scientist is just looking at the Starfleet officers with amazement and stunned admiration.

 

ZH’YEMRE
We dug it once, we can dig it again.
The city itself is safe. But you, all
of you...
(no words)
...I have never seen anything like
it. Starfleet is truly remarkable.

TENMEI
I only wish more of your people
felt the same way, Doctor.

 

20 EXT. ANDOR - NORTHERN WASTES - NIGHT

 

The runabout flies UP, trying to escape the snowstorm...

 

21 EXT. SPACE - ANDOR ORBIT

 

The Galaxy-class Robinson in standard orbit over Andor...

 

22 INT. ROBINSON - MAIN ENGINEERING

 

SISKO guides CH’LHREN, the Presider’s security minister, on a tour of the ship - and he would just as soon be anywhere else. As they pore over the Master Systems Display...

 

CH’LHREN
Starfleet computer technology has
always been very impressive.
(off Sisko’s look)
I was not always the Presider’s
minister of security, Captain -
in fact I was once a Starfleet
computer specialist myself.

SISKO
Ah yes, aboard the Trinculo during
the Dominion War. My security
chief provided me with your file.

CH’LHREN
Correct - although I would stress
that my role in that conflict was
nothing memorable. Certainly not
compared to your illustrious self.

SISKO
Every member of Starfleet plays
a vital role, Minister ch’Lhren -
especially computer specialists.
(gestures around)
Most of this wouldn’t work without
the right computers, much less the
people who take care of them.

CH’LHREN
Regardless, that part of my life is
behind me. I serve the people of
Andor now. It seemed the thing
to do after all that’s happened.

SISKO
Yes... Starfleet has seen a lot of
resignations, lots of people going
home to help with rebuilding.

CH’LHREN
But not yourself?

 

Sisko darkens, turns inside with thoughts of Kasidy...

 

SISKO
No. I’m better off here.

CH’LHREN
In the interests of preparing you
for the conference, I must inform
you that there are many Andorians
who feel the Federation failed us
during the Borg attacks.

 

On Sisko as he remembers...

 

FLASHBACK - 12x21 “FRIENDLY FIRE”

 

Mid-battle over Andor...

 

SISKO
All hands, brace for impact!

 

Sisko is thrown to the deck as a fragment of Borg cube IMPACTS the New York right on the bridge dome...

 

FLASHBACK - 12x21 “FRIENDLY FIRE”

 

He sees Vaughn’s ship heading straight for the Borg ship...

 

SISKO
Elias... no! Pull up!

 

FLASHBACK - 13x01 “THE RECOVERY POSITION”

 

Sisko stands over Vaughn’s brain-dead body in sickbay...

 

SISKO
It’s started, Elias.

 

BACK TO SCENE

 

The Andorian seems honest, guileless. But under a mask of perfect calm, Sisko is a roiling mass of guilt and anger.

 

SISKO
(haunted whisper)
Starfleet did everything we could.
You know what the Borg were like.

CH’LHREN
Indeed I do, Captain. But there are
those among my people who feel
that Starfleet gave up on certain
planets because it believed they
were beyond saving.

SISKO
(colder and colder)
More than a dozen ships sacrificed
themselves over this world. I’m not
sure how anyone could view that
as giving up on Andor.

CH’LHREN
(helpless shrug)
I’m afraid that chaos breeds all
manner of perspectives.

 

Does this guy want to get punched? Sisko is on the edge...

 

SISKO
I’m sorry, Minister. I need to check
in with the bridge.

CH’LHREN
If I’ve given offence -

SISKO
It’s nothing like that. I simply lost
track of time. Excuse me...

CH’LHREN
Of course, Captain. There is much
here to hold my interest.

 

Sisko half-bows, and gets the hell out of there.

 

 

23 EXT. PARLIAMENT ANDORIA BUILDING - EVENING

 

Returning us to the new Andorian capital building...

 

 

24 INT. PARLIAMENT ANDORIA - CH’LHREN’S OFFICE

 

Later that day, ch’Lhren ENTERS his office, a small window-less box without the frippery of the Presider’s rooms. He locks the door behind him, moves smoothly to his desk, and enters the keypad combination to unlock the first drawer.

Inside the drawer is another box, another keypad. ch’Lhren types in a code, then leans over and lets the box SCAN his eye. It beeps affirmatively and pops open.

Inside the box is a small portable computer, non-Starfleet, deliberately generic and untraceable. He types entries into it, waits as it performs a sensor sweep...

 

SCANNING... SCANNING... 
NO COVERT DEVICES DETECTED

 

Satisfied, ch’Lhren types more entries into the computer.

 

CONNECTING... 
CONNECTING...

 

25 FLASHBACK - EARLIER

 

ch’Lhren watches Sisko walk out of Main Engineering, eager to escape... exactly as ch’Lhren intended.

Covering a sly smile, ch’Lhren turns back to gaze upon the Master Systems Display, now without any Starfleet officer to make sure he doesn’t touch anything he shouldn’t.

In the guise of reading the panels, he slips a HAND under the console, reaches into a shadowed corner where passing eyes will never spot it, and attaches a tiny round DEVICE.

ch’Lhren strolls away quite calmly. But beneath the master console, a RED LIGHT blinks three times and then goes dead.

 

26 BACK TO SCENE

 

ch’Lhren’s computer displays...

 

CONNECTION ESTABLISHED... 
ACCESS GRANTED

 

The small screen becomes a standard Starfleet LCARS display and quickly floods with information, reams and reams of computer data, all under the label USS ROBINSON NCC 71842.

ch’Lhren sits back, reads the data, and smiles...

 

BLACK OUT

 

END OF ACT TWO



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