“Saanik? No way,” Salek gasped.
Salek was getting quite good at his 'fake shock' routine. One would almost think he had been practicing.
Vora nodded. “His name was on the deployment order. Plus, it's quite hard to believe that many soldiers could go rogue.”
“That would not be logical,” Salek agreed.
Vora walked over to the window, looking out over the Vulcan capital. “At any rate, we've arrested him.”
“Starfleet has requested we extradite him to face charges in their courts.”
“Ludicrous,” Salek groused.
“Actually...” Vora groaned. “I think it's the right thing to do.”
Salek's head slowly turned towards Vora. “You must be kidding,” Salek said, his shock not so fake this time.
“He should be executed, post-haste.”
“Weren't you the one who got all upset when a certain Captain couldn't be tried in Vulcan courts for a 'crime' committed against Vulcans?”
“That's different,” Salek stammered. “They weren't going to properly punish him for his murders.”
“I'll note your objection with the magistrate in the extradition hearings. They aren't for a few weeks though, so you have plenty of time to come up with legal precedent. You know how much those magistrates love that.”
Salek allowed himself some time to fume quietly before continuing with his morning questioning.
“So is Starfleet doing anything different at the rest of their bases?”
Vora nodded. “Yes.”
“Abandoning them?” Salek smiled.
“No. They're stationing an additional 250,000 at Vash and 300,000 at Uzhau.”
Salek slammed his hands on the table, startling Vora. “Who gave them that authority?”
Vora eyed Salek for a moment. “Vulcan is a Federation planet. The Federation has the authorization to place soldiers on any planet they want, so long as they don't interfere with the civilian government.”
Salek didn't say a word as he grabbed his belongings and walked, leaving Vora rather surprised. Salek stomped out the door and huffed his way towards his office. Once there he secured the lock and called Young.
“What's up?” Young asked, distressed.
“Of course I know,” Young snapped. “The Federation Council had to approve it.”
“I hope you voted against it.”
“I did. Sole dissension. So much for reelection.”
“Would you stop thinking about your political career for a minute?”
“I'm a politician, you idiot,” Young glared.
Salek sighed. “So, what do we do now?”
“There is only one thing left to do,” Young said, sitting up. “You have to convince the Vulcan High Command that the increased Starfleet presence is an invasion. You have to get Vulcan to secede.”
“The Federation will never allow a core planet to secede, and they will use force to stop it.” Young explained.
Salek gritted his teeth while rubbing his forehead. “Vora has veto authority. He will never go for secession.”
Young shook his head and leaned back in his chair. “No, I don't suppose Vora would allow that. So long as Vora is in charge, that kind of thing wouldn't be allowed.”
Salek felt his subspace bond with Young connecting. “But if something were to happen to him...”
“If I recall correctly, the Vice-Chairman is someone who supports greater Vulcan independence?”
Salek half shrugged. “He would like to see more Vulcan seats on the Federation Council. But he is more concerned with domestic issues than he is with Federate issues.”
“Would he support a secession?”
Salek nodded. “At the least, I don't think he would veto it.”
Young looked down at some PADDs. “LDF forces will begin mobilizing in about 72 hours. The entire contingent is expected to be in place on your planet within two weeks. So, unless you want to have to dislodge a million soldiers, I suggest you move before then.”
Salek nodded, did the Vulcan hand gesture, and closed the channel as someone began to knock on his door.
“Who is it?”
“It's T'kal,” a woman called from the other side.
Salek got up and walked to his door, unsecuring it. The door slid open, and his formally dressed assistant walked in.
“I have a message for you.”
The assistant handed Salek a green PADD and turned to walk out.
“T'kal,” Salek called.
“Yes sir?” she replied, turning back.
“Thank you,” Salek grinned.
T'kal nodded in his direction for heading back to her office area. Salek stood and walked to his replicator and ordered himself some tea before walking back to his desk. The middle-aged Vulcan then sat down in his oversized faux leather chair and leaned back, taking a couple of sips of his tea before beginning to read the report on the PADD.
It took only a few seconds before his melancholy mood changed to pure, blood-boiling rage.
Salek flung the PADD as hard as he could against the farthest wall; the fiberglass and silicon device shattering into dozens of pieces – sparking as the parts fell to the floor.
Salek then shifted his rage to his teacup, slamming it to his desk, boiling tea scalding his hand.
This of course only angered him more, causing him to flip his chair over, then to take his anger out on his computer, his scalded fist smashing through the screen like it was paper mâché.
Salek's tantrum went on for about five minutes before two Ministry of Intelligence security officers, who were summoned by T'kal, arrived to see what the commotion was about. They arrived to find Salek smashing one of the paintings he had pulled off his wall; his left hand covered in blood.
“Minister,” one said.
Salek snapped out of his rage-induced tunnel vision and noticed the security officers. He slowly put down the painting and looked around.
“Are you okay?” the other officer asked.
Salek nodded. “Yes. Thank you. I guess I have just been terribly busy working and not been meditating. And I have just received some very unfortunate news regarding three of our ships being destroyed by some Romulan ships, and I guess I lost control of my emotions.”
Salek uprighted his chair and sat down, shaking his head. “I'm sorry for the commotion I caused.”
The first security guard nodded. “Understandable. However, I think it would be best if we had someone look at your hand.”
Salek looked at his hand, which was still bleeding quite badly. Green blood was dripping onto his pants and the floor.
Within a couple of moments, a medic was working on Salek’s hand, pulling glass out it and attempting to fix the cuts. However, Salek’s mind was elsewhere, thinking about how there was nothing he could do to stop the Sisko from being recovered.
Stardate 60960.4: Operation Safe Haven.
Rei looked at the bombs they were going to be attaching to the Eastern ICBMs. She wasn't that impressed with their size. Each one was about the size of a tricorder, but she had been assured by Makoto that they would be powerful enough to destroy the bunker, trapping the missile, but not actually detonating the nuclear reaction.
That, of course, was what they were going for, as they were not interested in nuking the population of the Eastern cities, even if they did seem to not care about the civilian population of the Westerns.
“Pretty small,” Kio noted, seemingly reading Rei’s mind, as she walked up.
Rei turned to her protege. “Yeah. But I guess considering they come from a device that was made to destroy starships, not buildings, they should work.”
Makoto, who was also in the room, groaned at the pair questioning her handy work.
“If you place them properly, they will detonate, igniting tons of rocket fuel as well, causing a pretty awesome explosion in a pretty confined area.”
Rei and Kio nodded. “And you're sure the nukes won't detonate?”
“Yeah,” J.C. replied, as he walked into the room. “It takes a specific chain of events to get the nuclear reaction to go off. There might be some radiation issues from the uranium, but I don't think it will affect the cities too much because there will be a lot of rubble on top of what's left of the silos.”
Rei's communicator chirped as she smiled at J.C. “Hino here.”
“Rei, the relay ship is in position,” Minako informed her.
Rei looked to Kio. “You guys ready?”
Kio nodded. “You know it.”
“Okay. Remember, only shoot if you must. We don't want them to reinforce the other silos, or worse yet, launch,” Rei ordered.
“Yes ma'am,” the NEO troops replied.
Rei grabbed one of the bombs, then she, Commander Shelton, and Lt. Parker got onto the transport pad. “NEO to Nighthawk, transport to Alpha One.”
“Roger,” Kaii said from the cloaked shuttle overhead.
A couple of seconds later, Rei and her team were gone.
Kio gingerly grabbed a bomb, attached it to her belt and she, Anthony, and Michael all got onto the transport pad.
“NEO two to Nighthawk. Transport to Bravo One.”
The trio soon vanished.
The Eastern ICBM silo was dimly lit, most of the lighting coming from track lighting against the walls. Rei's team materialized near the actual missile, causing a bright blue glow, that may have given away their position, had anyone been looking.
Quickly, Shelton and Parker took up defensive stances. Rei pulled out her tricorder, nervously checking to make sure she had not actually grabbed the bomb by accident and then scanned for bio signs.
“There are four in the control room,” She whispered. “I am having trouble scanning outside of the walls. NEO One to Nighthawk, do you still have a lock on us?”
“Negative,” Kaii replied. “You're going to have to use transport enhancers to get out.”
“They'll be destroyed in the blast,” Parker stated.
Rei sighed. “Yeah. Still though...”
The group slowly made their way down to the fuel port on the missile. Rei scanned the missile and shook her head. “It's fueled.”
Shelton bit his lip. “I guess they want to be able to murder millions on a moment’s notice.”
Rei nodded but did not say anything. She quickly went to work affixing the bomb to the side of the missile, then activated it. After about twenty seconds, the display showed green, indicating that it had established a link to the Sisko.
“Rei to Sisko. Alpha One tagged.”
Kio's team, for what seemed like the first time in a long time, had some luck. They did not beam down in the middle of a group of hostiles. In fact, the entire place seemed empty.
Kio only scanned two people in the control room, and what may have been a couple of more outside of the silo, but the scan was inconclusive.
While she didn't want to admit that she was a blood-thirsty killing machine, she couldn't help but think to herself that she was a little disappointed that there was no one for her to shoot.
It wasn't because she just wanted someone to shoot, but because she really thought she was doing something right in stopping these people from slaughtering the Western people.
Kio was thoroughly confused by this 'race war.' She found it difficult to comprehend how circumstances of birth were enough of a reason to kill people over. It was especially hard to understand having come from the Federation, where you cannot turn around without seeing someone who looks different than you do.
In her own team, there were people different from her. She was of Asian descent. Anthony was of African descent, and Michael was of European descent. The only thing the three of them had in common, race-wise, was the fact that they were all from Earth.
And that was not even a full truth. Anthony was born on Titan.
Regardless, Kio still was appalled by this, and would happily shoot any Eastern military officer she saw and was looking forward to blowing these instruments of mass-murder, as she described them, to hell.
“Looks like we'll need to use enhancers to get out, Chief,” Anthony said, as they received a transmission from Nighthawk.
“You brought some, right?” Mike asked.
“Me? That was your job,” Anthony whimpered.
Kio turned and glared at Mike as he pulled out the transport enhancers.
“I really hate you, dude,” Anthony growled as Kio shook her head and turned her attention back to attaching the bomb.
ONE HOUR, EIGHTEEN MINUTES LATER
Rei and company materialized inside of their final silo. However, instead of finding the normal, darkened silo, they found this one brightly lit, with quite a bit of activity going on inside of it.
“Shit, take cover,” Rei ordered.
The group ducked into a small storage area. Rei pulled out her tricorder and ran a scan. “Fifty-eight people in this silo. Nine in the control room.”
“What do you think they are doing?” Shelton whispered.
Rei shook her head. “We're never going to make it down to the fuel port undetected though.”
Parker raised his phaser rifle. “Maybe we need to just do it the normal way then? How many of them are actual military and how many are technicians?”
As Parker finished speaking, two soldiers walked by with two men in lab coats behind them. They stopped at a computer terminal.
“I think the yield has doubled now,” the first lab coat said.
“Good. We should let the war council know. They will probably want to get it airborne in the next hour as a test,” the second replied.
The four began to walk away.
“Alpha to Bravo, are you guys done?” Rei radioed.
“Just got back to the Sisko,” Kio replied.
“We're going to need your help. Bring guns.”
“Yes ma'am,” Kio responded, her smile obvious over the COMM.
“Go,” Rei ordered.
The group popped out of their hiding spot and shot the two guards and two scientists in the back. They quickly dragged them into their hiding place as Kio's team materialized next to them.
“About 53 left. We need to get down to the fuel valve. You guys go left, we'll go right,” Rei ordered.
Kio nodded as she, Mike, and Anthony moved out and slowly began to meander their way down the catwalk that surrounded the fifteen-story tall missile.
Rei grabbed one of the incapacitated guard’s radios before she and her group slowly began to walk in the opposite direction, doing their best to avoid being seen by the people in the oversized windows overhead.
“Seventy-four, respond,” the stolen radio demanded.
After there was no response, Rei realized that there was not going to be much time left for them, as the soldiers here would soon start looking for their missing comrades.
“Double time, folks,” Rei quietly ordered.
The group quietly, but quickly maneuvered down a ladder, their boots making a slight noise when they hit the catwalk below. They moved around, through some water vapor that was coming from what appeared to be a cooling fan, to where the fuel valve would be.
It was at that point they found themselves face to face with about ten people in lab coats and about fifteen soldiers.
The group stared at each other for a moment before the soldiers, caught completely off-guard by the intruders, began to attempt, and raise their weapons.
Rei and company quickly started to take cover positions while firing their phaser rifles at them.
“Under fire!” Both Rei and the Eastern soldiers called out.
Rei's group's fire was very methodical, firing very specifically, even though they were in extremely poor positions. The Eastern military's group was wild and random but seemed to get more directed as the guards seemed to get their wits about themselves.
The scientists were running in every which direction, trying to avoid being shot by either the enemy or by friendlies.
Kio's group had disregarded any concept of stealth to get down to Rei and assist her. Because of that, they had run into a group coming to reinforce the Eastern soldiers.
“Three more intruders!” the Eastern radio squawked, shortly before Kio's group had disabled the small squad of five guards.
Shortly thereafter, though, Kio's group had arrived and began shooting everyone, regardless of whether they were wearing a lab coat or camouflage. The Eastern group that had engaged Alpha team was not protecting its flank well and was an easy target for Kio’s group.
Once everyone was down, Rei began installing the bomb as the radios began announcing that more reinforcements were on the way. As well, alarm klaxons began to blare, and the roof of the silo began to open.
“I think they might be getting ready to launch this thing,” Parker said, looking up.
“Get the enhancers set up,” Rei ordered as she continued to arm the bomb. “We have to get the fuck out of here.”
Shelton complied and once the modified tricorder alerted the group that it had established a link with the ship, the group got inside of them.
“NEO One to Nighthawk, six to transport,” Rei ordered.
In a couple of seconds, the group was gone.
Aboard the Sisko, Ranma looked to the main viewer which showed him thirty-seven blinking, green lights on the Eastern continent. He looked to Shampoo who then turned to Minako.
“Status?” she asked.
Minako nodded. “I have a solid connection to all bombs.”
“NEO teams back?” Ranma asked.
“Yes,” Minako replied.
The rear turbolift opened and Rei nearly sprinted onto the bridge, still in her full gear.
“We were confronted in the last silo, and they are preparing to launch it. They also talked about 'increased yield.'”
Shampoo shuddered a little bit as Ranma nodded. “Good work.” He turned to Makoto. “Begin detonation sequence.”
Makoto nodded. “Beginning.”
As each tricorder was signaled from the Sisko, a countdown began, as the tricorder began to overload its circuitry.
Inside the tricorder was a directional charge with explosives in it built from one of the Sisko's quantum torpedoes. Once the tricorder overheated, the charge ignited, firing the charge. First, the small explosion on the warhead ruptured the ICBM's fuel tank, then the ICBM's fuel ignited, engulfing the silo.
“Nighthawk to Sisko. Confirming... Holy crap...” Kaii mumbled.
“What?” everyone on the bridge asked at once.
“I can see these explosions out the window.”
Everyone started to applaud, except for Ranma. “Can you confirm that all thirty-seven are destroyed?”
“Scanning and running aerial photography.”
“Ranma worry to much,” Shampoo grinned, playfully bumping into Ranma.
“Uh...” Kaii's voice came across.
The bridge fell deathly silent.
“Number three seven... It is down... But the missile exploded outside of its silo.”
Rei put her head in her hands. “Transport enhancers.”
Ranma bit his lip.
“Captain, I have an incoming transmission from both governments,” Minako called out.
“Yeah, I bet,” Ranma sighed. “Get Lt. Fuchs up here.”
“Kaii, how many people are at that silo?” Rei asked.
“Looks like about three hundred now.”
“Dammit,” Rei hissed.
“It will take them years just to build the technology to begin to reverse engineer those things, Rei,” Minako said.
Rei nodded, despite Minako's assurances not really helping her at all.
“You saved millions of people,” Shampoo smiled, patting Rei on the back.
Rei nodded again as the rear turbolift opened and Lt. Fuchs, Akane, and one of her doctors came onto the bridge.
“Ranma, do you have a minute?” Akane asked, her facial expression far more serious than Ranma has seen it in a long time.
“Oh my, can anyone else need me right now?” Ranma joked.
No one laughed.
Ranma chuckled nervously, then turned to Akane. “Akane, if you guys want to go to the conference room, I will be with you as soon as I can. Lieutenant, Rei, Makoto, my ready room, please. Minako, please transfer the Eastern call into there.”
Everyone complied. As Ranma approached the door to his ready room, he turned to Jeff.
“Just to let you know, I am going to be doing a lot of lying. Please don't confuse my lying for his.”
ONE HOUR LATER
Ranma and his entourage walked into the conference room as nightfall began to settle in on their continent.
“How'd it go?” Akane asked.
“He's pretty pissed,” Ranma smirked.
“He swears up and down that he's not the one who bombed us,” Makoto stated.
“He might be right,” the unnamed doctor said.
Jeff blinked. “I couldn't tell if he was lying. He was just so mad, that was overriding everything.”
“Well, we don't need your services to prove this. No offense,” the doctor continued.
Jeff smiled with one of those 'it's all good' smiles that only a gay Betazoid can give you.
“With the help of some of the operations people, we've actually managed to push deeper into the Western computer network.
“What we've discovered is a covert operation known as Ban Kajsa, or Operation Holy Deception.”
Akane stood up and pointed to a DNA string on the main viewer. “Apparently the Westerns are really good at genetics and genetic engineering. It appears that they may have been able to alter the DNA of some of their people so that they could go undercover inside of the Eastern government and military.”
The unnamed doctor continued. “The spots are a genetic mutation. So, the only way to get rid of them would be to alter the DNA.”
“So can you confirm where the pilots come from?” Ranma asked.
“Well, because we can test DNA better than they can, we can see whether or not these pilots had their spots removed by genetic altering, since their doctors wouldn't have been able to do a complete job at it.”
“The issue is...” Akane sighed. “Is that we need both Eastern and Western DNA for a sample.”
Rei pulled the radio she stole from the Eastern soldier from her pocket. “Any DNA on this?”
The doctor gingerly took it and looked. On it, he found a blonde hair. “You don't have a blonde boyfriend, do you?”
Rei blushed. “NO!”
The room laughed at Rei's embarrassment. “Perfect then.” the doctor smiled.
“Now we just need a Western sample.”
“We'll get you one,” Rei smiled.
On the outer perimeter, two Western soldiers were walking along their assigned patrol paths.
“Hey!” a female voice called.
The two began to draw their weapons, but before they could, two black-clad men, jumped them from behind and shot them full of a tranquilizer.
The two men dragged them into the bushes.
“Do men usually pull their guns when you hit on them?” Mike asked Kio who was pulling out her hypospray.
Mike found himself smacked by Anthony before Kio could do it.
“Thank you, Sargent.”
Kio quickly took DNA samples from both men, checked for helicopters, then called for transport back to the ship.
SEVENTEEN HOURS LATER
“RED ALERT,” Shampoo called out as Ranma came stomping out of his ready room.
The klaxons sounded as Amanda began to read off the situation report.
“Aerial surveillance is reporting two submarines moving close to the coast, near our crash zone.”
“Still scanning,” Minako replied as Makoto came onto the bridge and took her position.
“Everyone back inside?” Shampoo asked.
“Yes,” Amanda replied.
“The ships are still too deep to get a detailed scan, but their dimensions match both the Eastern and Western versions of nuclear-powered submarines capable of launching intermediate-range missiles,” Minako reported.
“This is getting old,” Ranma sighed.
“Polarize the hull,” Shampoo ordered.
“Visual?” Ranma asked.
The screen chirped and showed the coastline, near where the Sisko crashed.
“Can't see them,” Shampoo groaned, stating the obvious.
“Still too deep,” Minako sighed.
“Still? Are they surfacing?” Ranma asked.
“If they're planning on firing, they'd have to,” Makoto replied. “Or at least move pretty close to the surface.”
“They are definitely surfacing,” Minako replied.
The screen zoomed in, showing a much clearer shot of two black submarines.
“Can the Nighthawk hit them?” Ranma asked.
“If I can get a lock, I don't see why not,” Kaii replied.
“Load your bays, Lieutenant.”
“Looks like they are getting ready to fire. Their silo doors are opening,” Makoto reported.
“Kaii?” Ranma asked.
“Got a lock.”
A few seconds passed before a torpedo came blasting into the shot, into the water, and down the few dozen meters, smashing into the first sub. A few seconds later, a second torpedo made quick work of the second submarine.
“Any more?” Shampoo asked.
“Not that I can see,” Kaii replied. “But the water is an effective sensor block. I can only scan to about 300 meters below the surface.”
Ranma sighed. “Okay. Stand down red alert.”
The lights shifted back to normal.
Ranma turned to Shampoo. “Keep people confined to the ship for now.”
“Okay,” She replied.
Ranma turned to go back to his ready room when Akane walked onto the bridge. Ranma turned to her.
“It's all a lie,” she said.