Posted Oct. 14, 2021, 7:59 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Max Wynter (Chief Engineer / 2nd Officer) (David Shotton)
Posted by Lieutenant Jasmine Wynter (Chief Medical Officer) in Mundai Colony - A need to get away
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Max Wynter (Chief Engineer / 2nd Officer) in Mundai Colony - A need to get away
Posted by Lieutenant Jasmine Wynter (Chief Medical Officer) in Mundai Colony - A need to get away
Posted by… suppressed (11) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Following her out, Max walked straight to the table and slid into a chair, striking a relaxed pose an instant before Ella opened the door.
The pounding continued as Ella made her way across the living room to the door. She didn’t check to make sure Max was ready. Ella knew he would be. Opening the door, her face changed seeing who was behind it.
“Stanton.” Ella looked back at Max with a surprised look on her face before quickly ushering the man into the room.
“What are you doing,” he looked at her with disbelief before settling his gaze on Max. There was a protectiveness only a man would notice in Stanton’s eyes as they settled on Max.
“What I needed to,” she said rapidly allowing the man to enter. Quickly looking out into the hall before she pulled her head back in Ella took a deep breath. “You shouldn’t have come. They swept the building last night. I am not sure who they took.” Seeing Max at the table, clearly set Ella on edge. “You should have called first.”
Stanton stared at Max glaring at him as if he wanted to tear the man apart. Long slow seconds passed like dead air in a vacuum with no one in the trio speaking.
Max returned the look, cold and judging. If Stanton’s look held a protective glare for Ella then Max’s eyes held no less of a protective focus. They may well have been for different reasons, but Ella’s safety was Max’s responsibility and if this Stanton was so protective, where had he been when she needed him? The thought flashed through Max’s mind, followed by suspicion. Was it too close on the tail of the officiant to be a coincidence?
“I think we are going to need some coffee for that story,” she looked down the hall once both ways before closing and locking it. Ella made her way to the kitchen as Stanton moved towards Max. His posture wasn’t threatening but it also wasn’t friendly.
“Friend of yours Ella?” Max asked casually. He didn’t stop his relaxed posture, but his wiry frame was tensed enough to spring into action in an instant if this man was to try anything. His eyes hadn’t moved away from him, his look hadn’t changed, but Max had already noted every object in the room that could be used in an emergency. With Jasmine missing, Max was beginning to see why Ella seemed to fear almost everyone on this planet. There were layers of mistrust and betrayal, lies and self serving people out for themselves. Someone like Ella had far too much of a good heart to survive long in this world, but survive she had.
Lt Cmdr Wynter, CE
“I would have called if you answered your communicator,” Stanton fired off angrily grabbing a purse in a chair and rapidly going through it. Tossing the items out at first, Stanton resorted to dumping the contents out in the chair before finding it bounce on a cushion. “Dammit Ella,” he threw the phone at her.
Ella jumped and let out a small yelp as the device bounced off her. Her hand clutched the mug not wanting to drop it and add to the mess. She knew Stanton was going to be livid but not this mad.
“How stupid are you? You were carrying it? On your person?” The anger in the man’s voice was laced every word. As the communicator shattered on the floor, bits of glass and plastic splayed everywhere. Stanton stood glaring at her waiting for whatever lame response she was going to give. It was a mistake ever involving her. She was not only going to get someone killed but also herself.
The sound of a chair being pushed back scraped over the floor, breaking the momentary silence as Max came to his feet and took a step towards the man. “Check your mouth before I check it for you.” The words came out of Max like a low growl, a sound that Ella wouldn’t have heard before. The sound that wouldn’t, shouldn’t be associated with a Starfleet Officer. Mintaran men might take their wives names in marriage, but a person should never insult or threaten a woman close to a Mintaran man without understanding a simple cultural quirk. The Mintaran man would tear the threat limb from limb. Max’s wiry frame was now visibly tensed, like a coiled spring. Before his posture was relaxed, if wary. Now, the wiry engineer looked like he could take down a bear with bare hands.
Glancing at Max, Stanton pointed a finger at him. “Sit down buddy. I am warning you. This is between Ella and I.”
“Not anymore,” Max growled back, and took another step towards Stanton.
Seeing Max stand up, Ella moved between the two men tiptoeing over the shards of communicator littering the ground like a minefield between them. Looking up at Max she put a hand on his chest. “Max....Max give me a few minutes to explain why Stanton is so mad?” Why she was so worried about Max had Ella on edge. She had only known the man for less than twenty-four hours but somehow she felt attached to him.
“Why Stanton is mad,” her friend stated in disbelief moving into the living area ripping the hat off his head. “I can answer that. Stanton,” he used the third person sarcastically, “is mad because you brought a man home that is going to get the entire network arrested and placed before a firing squad.”
Watching him walk into the living area, Max stayed where he stood with Ella’s hand on his chest. He hadn’t relaxed at all, but he had listened to Ella, responded to her touch. Ella wasn’t his wife, but the woman who had risked her life for him clearly meant something to the Mintaran.
“He needed help,” Ella snapped jumping to Max’s defense. “And we do this all the time. It is why we do it.”
“Do what, exactly?” Max said with a frown. This part of the conversation had taken an unexpected turn.
“But not to someone as stupid as leaving a message they are going to trace back to our people. When you were sleeping he sent a message. I need to get you out,” Stanton said to Ella. “You…” he looked at Max…”you are on your own.”
Jasmine Wynter CMO
“Of course I sent a message,” Max replied, looking at both Stanton and Ella in turn. “My ship, the Manhattan, recovered the remains of my wife from a destroyed shuttlecraft. Remains that perfectly matched her DNA and medical profiles. I had to confirm that it wasn’t her, because I saw her get beamed away with my own eyes with technology that a simple fake shuttle explosion won’t cover.”
Ella and Stanton exchanged a silent glance between them. They weren’t covert about the exchange between them yet it seemed to slightly diffuse the tension in Stanton. “So how do you know she is not dead,” the man asked Max simply. “If you said they had a body....”. Stanton let his voice trail off. Ella was right and maybe had just done more for their organization than she realized. People here did not care about those they did not see or deemed unworthy. Taking this off worlders wife and a Federation officer at that, might cause more problems than the government would want. The flip side was the government might just kill this guys wife to cover things up.
“The body they recovered was a clone,” Max revealed, “It wasn’t Jasmine. Someone went to great lengths, using medical Technology illegal in the Federation, to make it look like Jasmine was dead. Now, who would have that technology? Why would the trace on this lead here to Mundai?” Max held up the weapon that had been used to shoot Jasmine… “A Transporter Energy Marker, was used to abduct a skilled and qualified doctor in this region of space, only to pretend to Starfleet that she was then dead, using advanced medical technology?” He glared at them both, but turned his full attention to Stanton.
“You talk about some kind of network,” Max spat at the man, and took a step forward past Ella’s hand holding him back, “but you haven’t done a damn thing.”
“Of course we haven’t done a damn thing according to you because you are only concerned with one person. We,” Stanton snarled back, “are concerned with the good of the whole. You would just storm in, safe your wife, and roll back out damning everyone you left behind including Ella.” Pulling his knit hat off his head, the man yanked at it clearly trying to expel his anger on the fabric instead of Max. “I get it. You love your wife but are you willing to sacrifice Ella for your wife. Do you care about protecting her or is that just me.”
“You want to protect Ella?” Max laughed in the man’s face, “How? She would have been taken at the space port if it wasn’t for me! Crushed underfoot or abducted, killed in whatever the hell that attack was! Where were you? Where was your concern and protection for her then? Did you care about her?”
“No you were nowhere to be seen. It was me that took her to safety, when your pointless, toothless network did nothing. She’s not stepping a foot outside that door with you when you have already failed to protect her.” Max’s voice had moved from the accusing tone to a protective growl now. “Ella is going to stay with me, where I know she will be safe and you,” Max’s wrist flicked to the side, emphasizing that he was still holding the weapon, albeit pointed at the ground, “are going to tell me who on this forsaken world has the medical knowledge and ability to create perfect clones of people, including their internal organs, and where I can find them so I can rescue my wife. Your network better be useful for something, at least.”
Lt Cmdr Wynter, CE
“You buying all this,” Stanton turned his attention to Ella completely ignoring Max. There was a familiarity in his stare at Ella, a past history. Whether this past history was good, bad, or reciprocal was unclear and hard to interpret.
Ella shifted her feet to buy time. Both Max and Stanton would want a reply to Stanton’s question. If she agreed with Max, Ella had no idea how Stanton would react. If she sided with Stanton, the only result would be to throw Max out and on his own. Neither response would solve the situation they were currently in.
A heavy pounding on the door gave Ella the escape she needed from the conversation. “Miss Rogan.” The pounding on the door was supposed to be akin to a knock only it has harder, insistent, and with hostile intent. “Ella Rogan it is Officiant Darienqueyuel. You are to open your door for spiritual inspection.”
“Oh you’ll get to inspect something Spiritually alright,” Max muttered, raising the Phaser slightly and looking at the door. “Times up Stanton. No more hiding in shadows pretending to be worried about the good of the whole. This place is rotten. I’m going to find my wife and find out what is going on here, I’m going to protect Ella, and then I am going to bring a goddamn Federation fleet in and wipe out the rot. Now, what is the fastest way out?”
“He is not part of this,” Jasmine yelled looking at the man strapped to the table. She strained at the two arms holding her in a seated position as she looked down from the observation platform high about the operating room.
In the center of the room, a man was lying on the cold hard slab of metal. It was clear why he was laying there which added to the terror and tension in the space. His eyes were wide with fear and held the look of a cage animal. The only movement to show the desperation in the man’s body was the splaying of his fingers in his hands as if he was trying to fight his way out of the situation. The rest of his body was held down by thick straps placed carefully to allow access to certain body parts. A muffled scream continued to erupt over and over in the room attempting to drown out all other conversations formed from the gag in the man’s mouth.
“And yet you had his electronic correspondence codes. “Max I do not know where I,” Rag screamed in her face making Jasmine close her eyes. The hot stink of the Fernengi’s breath enveloped her in a fog choking her ability to breathe. “When did Barton help you? When did you two plot to undermine my ability to earn a living.” The anger in the Ferengi’s voice rose above the cries of the man on the table below.
“I do not know Barton,” Jasmine yelled back feeling her throat burn as the force of the words left her mouth. “The computer was unlocked. I sent a message.” Her eyes held a wild look just like the man on the table below her.
“A message that could have cost me my business. Stole the food from my children’s mouths....the roof from the head....the clothes off their back…” A loud crack filled the room as Rag sharply backhanded Jasmine across the cheek. A burning sensation filled her lip as the Ferengi’s hand left a mark on her cheek. “How can you steal from children. You are a selfish…selfish hooman. Now you will be taught a lesson to never do it again. Fortunately for you…you will survive our little discussion however talk is loss of profits.. He will pay for the profits I lost this morning with his own flesh and blood.” A loud scream echoed in the room. Jasmine closed her eyes and tried to block out the events around her by focusing on one thought. Barton may be losing his life and she might be the cause but a message did get out. Max had to have found it. She had to think about how Max was on his way to save her from this hell.
At the table beside Barton, Cade clenched his jaw and tightened his fist. There was no reason for what was happening on the table to be happening, only to fill the Ferengi’s need for power and authority, and to fill that sadistic anger. Barton had tried to help and was paying for it not just with his life, but the wild expression in the man’s eyes told of a pain touching the man’s soul. Mundai may trade in harvested organs from his species, who could grow and regrow them and were medically compatible with many species, but Barton was Human. His organs were going to be basically worthless unless Rag had an immediate and ready buyer. Picking up the hypo while Rag was distracted with the backhand on Jasmine, Cade looked at the man and pressed the buttons that would increase the dosage. Nobody would be surprised that a sudden heart attack would kill the man quickly despite Rag’s efforts to keep him alive.
“The roof,” Stanton said looking at Max. The apartment was small with only a small balcony on the front. It would take both of them to help Ella scale the distance between each floor but that was the only option they had. Moving to the window, Stanton yanked down the curtains. There was only one way out of the apartment. There was no purpose to hiding their escape route.
“You lead, I’ll follow.” Max told him looking back as the pounding on the door continued.
Throwing open the door, the wind rushed in from the small three-foot by three-foot Juliet balcony. Hoping up on the rail, Stanton grabbed the bottom rung of the balcony above him pulling himself up. The pounding on the door gave the trio a sense of urgency.
“Max,” a hand emerged from the balcony above reaching down. “Help me with her.”
Jasmine Wynter CMO
OOC: Sorry for the wait, RL bites
IC: “Come here,” Max said to Ella. “Get out of here and I’ll be right behind you. I need to do something.”
“Promise,” she stopped looking into Max’s eyes. There was a hard almost unsettling edge to his stare and yet deeper in that was a look at made you feel like nothing in the world could hurt you when Max was around. The look he gave her now was the same one he gave her back on the landing platform. Max was holding something back just under the surface.
“Of course I do,” he told her softly, putting his hand on her shoulder gently. Max was a married man but he would have been lying to himself if he denied he felt something for Ella. She had helped him when others hadn’t dared. Risked herself for him and was going to keep risking herself. He had to find Jasmine, and quickly, and get her off this forsaken world, but he had to keep Ella safe at the same time and make sure she stayed safe. That was a problem he was going to have to solve when he got to that point and he didn’t trust this Stanton enough.
“Ella move it. I am not going to just sit here and get caught,” Stanton screamed from outside the window. The pounding on the door and the urgency in Stanton’s voice increased Ella’s fear and trepidation ten fold.
Taking her hand, he led her to the window and looked up at Stanton for a moment, then pulled back in and looked at Ella. “Can you trust him? People like him would turn you in to save themselves, for the good of the people. Tell me, can you trust him?”
“Yes,” she said firmly. “At least to get us to safety.”
“Go,” Max said, and knelt down, cupping his hand to let Ella place her foot in there to boost her up to Stanton.
“You promise your right behind us,” she pressed the point pausing with her hand on Max’s shoulder before stepping up to grab Stanton’s outstretched hand.
“Right behind you, I’ll only be a moment. I promise.” Once Stanton had her and had helped her up, Max turned back to the door. Leaving the window open, he gritted his teeth and started walking towards it.
The pounding on the door stopped for a moment, and a sudden thump announced a boot was now knocking on the door. A second thump led to the door being kicked inwards and the Officiant stepped through, followed by two other men wearing the same clothes. “Ella Rogan! Surrender yourself for Spiritual inspection!” Darienqueyuel demanded as he walked towards the woman standing beside the window, the two men spreading out to either side of him, eyes locked on the woman.
“What for?” Ella said to them, taking a step back and looking scared. “For harb.......” Darienqueyuel started to say, but the door behind them had already begun to swing shut, revealing Max who had been standing behind it when it opened. The Phaser fired three times in quick succession, and the three men collapsed to the ground.
“Oh my god! You shot them!” Ella said to Max in shock. “You savage! That was a little extreme don’t you think?”
“No,” Max said simply, placing the Phaser in his belt and kicking Darienqueyuel over onto his back, kneeling down and searching the man’s tunic as he glanced up at Ella, who transformed back into the holographic image of Bob. “They are only stunned, we will be long gone when they wake up but I need this.” Max took out the man’s communicator and and identification chip. It took about ten seconds for Max to remove the tracking device inside it, then he was on his feet and heading to the window. “You have issues! we need to talk about this!” Bob called after him, then placed his hands on his hips and faded away.
Jumping up to the ledge above, Max began to climb up to where Stanton and Ella were.
Max Wynter, CE
“Ella they are not stupid. There is only one way out. You heard the shots. We have to go now,” Stanton yelled grabbing Ella by the elbow. A flicker of sadness flashed in Stanton’s mind over Max but the Authority did not miss when it aimed its gun at you
“We Can not leave him,” She pulled back on her elbow trying to free herself.
“Ella we have about ten seconds to jumó to the next roof and make our way to the safe house before the Authority locks down this building, then the block. You know the drill. He is gone. Is he worth dying over?”
“He is not dead,” Ella said with a pure conviction in her tone.
“And I can’t take losing you or having us fall into the Officiant’s hand. Think Ella…think,” Stanton moved in from of her. “Look I know you are just trying to make a difference but so are a lot of other people. We can’t just lay everything on the line for one man and one woman. We haven’t in the past and we can’t now.” His tone was softer as if trying to make her understand what was at stake. This route was much more gentle compared to the path that led her and him to the confession rooms. No one came out of the confession rooms which was why Stanton had the resolve to do whatever it took to make sure he nor Ella ended up in one.
“Hey, you want to keep your voice down a little? I thought we were trying to be inconspicuous,” came the sound of Max’s voice from where moments ago both Stanton and Ella had climbed up from the railing. It didn’t sound admonishing or serious however being directed at Stanton’s raised voice, it sounded like it had more of a teasing tone to it.
As if on cue, Max’s head appeared over the ledge of the building roof. Stanton did not waste a second running over to help hoist the man up. It was not that Stanton thought Max needed help but more every second right now counted and they needed every second. The sound of a shrill high pitched siren erupted in the alley below as officiant’s began pouring out of the building and spreading out on the streets.
“You really tee’ed them off didn’t you,” Stanton slapped Max on his back in the closest thing to friendly since the two had met. “I’d love to hear how but we need to go now.” Taking off at a full sprint over the roof tops, Stanton led the way for Max and Ella to follow dodging various pipes and poles from the apartments below creating an almost jungle gym effect. Stopping at an access panel, Stanton slammed two o the corners with his fist popping it off. Below was a long dark chute. “In you go,” he said to Ella holding out his hand. When you get to the bottom go right and then left. The others should be there,” he said.
Ella nodded and crawled into the chute letting it take her down the narrow spaces between the floors and apartments of the building. “Air in take chutes. What engineer ever thought that it would be intaking us instead of air when they build it,” Stanton shrugged off the comment before climbing in after Ella. The strong engineer would follow or not. Either way, Stanton had gotten Ella out and that was all he cared about.
Placing a hand on Stanton’s shoulder to stop him dropping down straight away behind Ella, Max tilted his head towards an imaginary point below them. “Who are these people waiting? Isn’t disappearing going to be more difficult in a larger group with this place being locked down?”
Stanton looked at Max and let out a deep breath scanning the surroundings. While there had been tension between the two men at the onset of their introductions, Stanton trusted Max far more than he showed. “We have friends.” He wanted to tell the officer more but right now they did not have the time. Whatever Max had done did not last long as the officiants began climbing out of the window the three exited early on the pursuit for the occupants of the apartment. “I will explain everything… just after.” Moving to the chute, Stanton slid down the pipe knowing at least the first part of thier escape plan was successful.
Secret medical facility
Jasmine placed a hand over Barton’s and squeezed it softly. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. Her actions caused the death of this man. Years ago in an ethics class they debated on the concept of innocence. By the very definition, this man was innocent. He had not knowingly aided her. He did not deserve to die but did that make him truly innocent? Barton worked in the communications area of the medical facility. He could not feign that he was ignorant of the suffering that when on here. The smell of disinfectant and the muffled, echoes of screams gave the building a haunted feel even though on his level it was white, pristine, and looked like a hospital. Barton was the one who tried to stop her from sending the message. While he might not be involved in the daily death of this place, his turning a blind eye and taking a paycheck from them was almost as morally bad. Jasmine would not mourn Barton but she did spare him a moment of compassion thinking of those that did love him and how it would feel for them to know he wasn’t coming back.
“Max where are you baby,” she whispered in a low tone as she released Barton’s hand to pull the sheet over the empty husk of a body.
“On the roof. Oh my god I found you,” a familiar voice rang out as it patted its body with a stunned expression. To Cade in the corner of the room, the immediate arrival of someone out of the blue acting as shocked at he did caused a flurry of anxiety to wash over him.
“Bob,” Jasmine yelled crossing the room in two steps to embrace the man. “How..howw are you here,” she asked feeling a million more questions pop up. She knew Bob could show anywhere due to the EMH beacon on her wrist. The surprise war that it had taken him so long. Quickly releasing him, Jasmine took a step back. “Where is Max? Is he here?”
“Well I could answer that if I knew where here was,” Bob flickered slightly. “I can’t get a solid link which means we are just outside the 20 mile radius my device works but at least we found you?” He shrugged taking a minute to look around. Bob knew how Max would react. After hearing Jasmine was safe, he would want details about the location. Since Bob was just the EMH, the knobs and levers held no value to him but maybe it would to Max. “What can you tell me about where here is?”
“I don’t know where I am. I think I am underground or at least in a warehouse or bunker. I woke up here and, “Jasmine felt her throat tighten and her eyes begin to fill. “I want to go home. Tell Max I am sorry,” she felt the first tear slide down her cheek. There was a sense of relief and euphoria knowing he didn’t buy the story her captors tried to sell. “I am so soo sorry he had to go…through,” her voice caught in her throat and Jasmine ran the back of her hand under her nose as the tears fell more freely.
“Hey, hey,” Bob pulled her in for an embrace. “It is okay. You just need to know we are on our way.” Several long seconds later, Bob began to flicker.
Cade pushed himself to his feet and walked over to where Jasmine and the flickering Bob were standing. His mouth open in a clear sign that he had no idea what was going on or where this man had come from, he nevertheless had heard the two of them talking. “You are with her husband?” Cade asked him, blinking as the flickering began to happen more frequently.
“All the time,” Bob said, then appeared to check his nails for imperfections. “You could say, we are joined at the hip. Or wrist, to get technical but who cares about details, right?”
“Her husband does, or he wouldn’t still be looking for her after the clone.” Cade answered and looked at the door worriedly. The sound of doors closing beyond it and footsteps down the cold sterile hall behind the door could be heard. “Look you need to go. Tell him to look for the University of the Faithful. There is a medical research lab under it, or what they call the medical research lab. It’s guarded....”
Cade never had time to finish his sentence before Bob flickered heavily, then seemed to lose cohesion and disappear completely.
“Bob…Bob,” Jasmine moved forward to the spot that once held the hologram as if it would suddenly make the man appear.
Looking at Jasmine, Cade stepped closer to her and put his and on her shoulder. “He is coming, stay strong. If he has tracked you this far, he will find you.” Cade didn’t add that he doubted the man would survive getting into the University. It was heavily guarded and along with Rag’s mercenaries, the government had their own interest in protecting their investments. Cade’s own wife was alive because of Jasmine though, and as much as he hoped the woman would get rescued from this hell he doubted his wife would survive for long without her. He was very much torn between helping Jasmine and making sure his wife stayed alive, but what sort of life was this for any of them?
Just then, the door to the room was flung open and the intimidating but diminutive presence of Rag half filled the doorway. “I heard voices,” he admonished them, “that means your work harvesting this man’s organs must be done, right? No time for talk, time is money!” Stepping into the room he looked at the two of them and clapped his hands. “There is work to be done! The next batch of donors is about to arrive. Get that rubbish out of the way and make room,” he said pointing at Barton’s corpse, then turning his leering grin on Jasmine.
Seeing Bob and knowing Max was on the way did more to Jasmine’s mood than Rag could realize. The Jasmine from two hours ago no longer existed. She had never doubted Max but knowing he was as close to finding her as he was spurned a side of her Jasmine didn’t realize she had. Moving towards Barton’s body, she picked up a surgical scapel. The leering grin on Rag’s face was about to disappear.
“Bring the hooman,” Rag snapped directing one of his mercs to approach Jasmine from behind. While the Ferengi controlled the situation, he relied too much on predictable patterns and routines. Jasmine let the man wrap his arm around her bicep and tug her slightly to get her moving as his boss directed. As usual, Jasmine complied walking towards the door only this time she did not go quietly even if it did appear to be willingly.
“So we are receiving requests for more kidneys. If we are able to harvest twenty percent more, the Ministry of Health has projected that they can eliminate over fifty-nine percent of new renal complications. It will save them millions of credits and are willing to cut you into a portion of the profits they will make over the agreed upon,” the assistant to Rag chattered away giving Jasmine the perfect opportunity to act and the perfect target.
Being a surgeon, Jasmine knew exactly where and how far to act. Fisting the scalpel, she turned and plunged it into the Ferengi’s side. The area of the body was devoid of bone which allowed the scalpel to sink almost effortlessly into the skin, tissue, and finally soft brown organ. The shrill sound of Rag’s scream erupted throughout the space as the Ferengi dropped to his knees with the scalpel still buried in his lower back. Looking at the man lying on the ground with the dark pool of blood slowly spreading across this back, soaking his clothes, Jasmine knelt down. “Kidney pain is the worst. Makes you feel like you are going to huh,” she said looking at the Ferengi writhing on the floor.
“Shoot her!” Rag screamed at his guards while he held his hands to his side and curled up into a ball to try and lessen the pain. “She stabbed me! Shoot her now!”
Jasmine doubted her action for half a second and no longer. Killing Rag would not solve this problem. She had no delusions about that however, it would slow things down. If they had their own supply of doctors to do this on the planet, they would not have abducted her. At least it was a working theory on why she was here and not someone local. Still, Max was on the planet. He was coming for her. If she did not survive this Max would put an end to it or at least stop any further possible negotiations with the Federation and the Mundai Colony. In the end, it would stop some of the suffering occurring, even if for a bit. With medical, time was the one thing one always needed, and buying it might help these people.
The guards had been momentarily shocked by what Jasmine had done, but on Rag’s command they both raised their weapons’ at Jasmine only to find Cade step between them with his arms held out. “Don’t shoot!” He said urgently, “She’s the only one here who can do anything to help him. Shoot her and you burn your paycheck,” he told the mercenaries. Looking at each other, they lowered their weapons slightly confused as Rag kept yelling at them.
“You are going to need surgery. You have a puncture of your left renal artery. This means the abdominal aorta is going to keep pumping blood until you bleed out. If you don’t have it repaired in the next three minutes you will die so tell me Rag....how much money is worth your time now?” Standing up, Jasmine pulled her arm away from the merc as she made her way to the surgical suite next door. It was not clean or sanitary but it was good enough for the poor souls so it would be fine for Rag. She knew he would be behind her. One day soon the slimey little man would get his comeuppance even if it wasn’t today.
“Bring him, quickly,” he pointed to Rag and looked at the guards, then hurried after Jasmine. “What the hell are you doing? He’s going to kill you about ten seconds after you repair that stab wound!” Cade shot the question hurriedly to Jasmine but it didn’t stop him from prepping to assist her.
Jasmine looked at Cade and put a hand on his arm. Her actions could have put his wife in the view for retribution but everyone in the massive hangar below them was someone’s wife or daughter or sister. SHe would not be able to explain why. She just hoped her brash action would not end up with more than her dead in the end.
Max watched Stantons head drop down the chute in front of him and waited for ten seconds, then began to climb into the chute behind him. Pushing himself further in he sensed something beside him and looked back, just in time to see the flickering image of Bob standing outside the chute. He seemed to be saying something, but no sound came out as the image of Bob flickered heavily and then disappeared. Frowning, Max paused for a moment to see if he returned. He didn’t, so he pushed himself down into the chute and began to climb down.
Following the directions Stanton had given Ella, Max shortly came to a panel that had been opened in the ducting and glanced outside to see legs standing on the other side and heard voices, although he couldn’t make out what was being said. Sliding the Phaser out of it’s holster, he pushed himself head first out of the panel and rolled, landing in a crouch with the Phaser out and held low, his eyes moving over people he didn’t recognize.
“Where is Ella?” he asked them.
Max Wynter, CE
“I’m here,” Ella said handing him a black officiant’s uniform. It wasn’t all of it but enough that they should be able to walk out among the men searching for them without any trouble.
“What’s this? We joining the Brethren now?” Max asked as he took the uniform and looked at Ella, making sure she was ok.
“Max this is Officiant Oberhustan Prefect Dar,” Stanton introduced the Starfleet chief to a man that did not fit Stanton’s or Ella’s temperament. It was clear this Officiant was playing for the other team however since he was not calling in reinforcements, there had to be some subterfuge occurring.
“An officiant? A real one? What the hell is going on here Ella?” Max asked her, making no move towards his Phaser but at the same time feeling the weight of it on his hip.
“Commander,” Dar clasped his hands together bowing slightly in the customary greeting of the Faithful elite. “I am sorry this has happened to you. Mundai is a paradise. We are just trying to make it a paradise for all.”
“I’m not sure I can agree with you on that, Dar,” Max replied coldly. “So far I have a missing wife, public bombings and something like a fanatical religious order on my timeline. I’m not sure I could call that a paradise.
“I did not have time to arrange for a more surreptitious exit but I think with enough prayers to the almighty this rouse may work. If not we will all go down together,” Dar looked at Stanton and then smiled at Ella. “When we exit we are going to need to split into two groups. You take Ella,” he motioned to Stanton, “and I will get Max to the contact point.”
Adjusting his collar, Stanton glanced at Max wondering how well he was going to take to walking out of the basement with a member of the group looking for him.
“Like hell you will,” Max glared at them all. “What goddamn contact point, with who?” At that point, Max drew his phaser and pointed it between Dar and Stanton, stepping back from them. “I’m going to find my wife,” His other hand raised the communicator and ID card he had taken from the man he had shot in Ella’s room.
Dar raised his hand and looked at Max with a calm face. “We have known about your wife’s abduction as long as you have. The mercenary’s pool of doctors is extremely limited. Often they target tourists, plan an accident, and no one ever blinks an eye but as you can do the math, it is not like the correct candidates come along every day. Our contact is a man that is trying to change all of this. As with most…sensitive situations,” Dar paused knowing no word would fit perfectly to describe what was occurring, “few people actually know, and those that do control everything to keep it that way. Unfortunately, your wife’s employer was not known when they abducted her. The fact that your government accepted the ruse and progressed with the story is exactly what we need to add credence to our cause. Our people may not believe us initially but the Federation is respected even here in the Delta quadrant. When you return with her and the story comes out, the integrity of the Federation will stop this.” Dar looked at Max hoping the man could see how important for their group to rescue Jasmine as it was for Max to find her.
Ella moved forward to touch Max’s arm. “Max I couldn’t think of any other way to help you. They will take you to your wife. I will be at the contact point. If you don’t trust him trust me,” she squeezed his arm slightly, “like I trust you.”
“Okay we don’t have time for this,” Stanton growled in a low voice coming up to Max. “Go. Stay. Shoot, I don’t care but I do care about her,” he jabbed a finger at Ella. “Ella should not have gotten involved but she did. She is not ever going to stay out of things so the only thing I can do is keep her safe. You are not helping with the situation.”
“Because I am part of the problem,” she spat angrily at Stanton.
“Ella not now. Not here,” Stanton gave her and angry glare.
“Please,” Dar stepped forward addressing Max with a slight urgency to his voice. “Please come. I will take you to your wife and explain all your questions. Come,” he gestured. The sounds of the police canvassing the area was getting louder as the house to house search for them intensified. The sound of weapons fire would be heard along with people shouting. The shouts were both from the police giving directions and people resisting them.
Max gave Stanton one last glare, then looked at Ella a long moment and nodded. His jaw worked slightly as if to say something but he didn’t, he just slid the phaser back inside the tunic he wore and slid the Officiant jacket over what he was wearing already. Then turning to Dar, tilted his head to the door and began to walk.
Moving towards the door, Dar raised a hand indicating for Stanton and Ella to wait. Nodding at the two, the man led Max out into the street. The site outside was hard to imagine. Men in black jackets mulled around every corner like black ghosts each seeking a victim. Groups of twenty to thirty people stood in the street among other men Max had not seen yet. They wore robes similar the Officiants but in a deep purple that at times appeared ebony. Those pulled from their residences were not held there by force but seemed to be praying in small groups with the purple-robed priests. Only a few residents were being taken and placed in vehicles. The sounds of the prayers almost drowning out the sounds of the protests between the two groups. The noise had an eerie effect like that of a horror movie before the death and destruction began. It was like a low bass vibrating into one’s bones setting you on edge. From the door of one building, a monstrosity only witnessed in a child’s nightmares poked its head out and began to cross the space towards a group of officiants. It had the shape of a large canine but was metallic. It moved with a slightly robotic jerk yet also had a floating like quality that spoke to its agility at times.
Pausing for a moment, Max looked at the machine with an Engineers curiosity. It wasn’t hard to see how the joints fitted together, how it moved and to guess that were anyone to run, they would never outrun it despite the slightly awkward walk. There had to be more to it but Max had no time to stop and pull it apart. Noises from the people around him broke him out of his thoughts and his eyes moved among them, but he had to force himself not to turn and look back the way he had come. If he was posing as an Officiant, he had no reason to look back to where he had been.
A vehicle pulled up and Dar moved towards the door knowing it was for them. Ducking inside he knew Max would follow.
The two guards carried the whimpering and crying Rag into the surgery room and laid him on the table that Cade pointed to. In front of him, he had a selection of tools and hypo sprays to hand Jasmine when she needed them. One Hypo, in particular, he picked up and checked the dosage on. It was enough anesthetic to put a man to sleep for hours. “You know if he dies, they will purge this place and everyone associated with it, right?” he asked Jasmine.
“No, I didn’t,” Jasmine looked at Cade feeling the weight of her decision more now than ever. It was not that she was scared for her own safety but more of that for Cade and his wife.
Moving to Rag, he slid the monitoring bar over the Ferengi and began to load up the system. Rag reached out and grabbed Cade’s hand. “Fix me,” he told Cade, “don’t let her cut me again, she will kill me!” Cade pulled his hand away and kept working. “I’m no surgeon, I can’t do that. If she wanted you dead you would be.”
Rag looked at the guards and his eyes began to droop. “If I die, kill them both!” Rag yelled at the guards, who looked at each other and then at Jasmine, not knowing exactly what to do. Rag was the one that payed them. If he died, no pay. They didn’t care if the slimy little Ferengi lived or died in the greater scheme of things and certainly, if he died they had no reason to follow those orders anyway.
Jasmine picked up the scalpel and began to complete the surgery to repair what she inflicted. “He won’t die but he will wish he had. Before I start lets be clear. This is going to require a lot of pain killers which is going to make him lethargic,” she explained as she repaired the injury. “Now I can cut back on the pain killer but you don’t have to have a medical degree to know that he is going to be highly uncomfortable. I can treat him as we do the subjects,” she said knowing the room would understand the sanitized version of the people they operated on, “but I can one hundred percent assure you he is going to be less than his normal chipper self.” The injury was not as severe as it seemed to most of the people in the room. She has only lacerated the top lobe of the kidney and not punctured it as one saw in a true shanking or war injury. Rag would have been triaged to the back of the line in an emergency situation but it did not hurt for the people to see it as far more deadly. Max was coming. All she needed to do was stall until he arrived. This little stunt would buy her twenty four hours. After that, she would make it up as she went along.
Jasmine Wynter CMO
------------------- Officiant Vehicle-----------------------
“So, where to now exactly?” Max asked Dar as he watched the houses and buildings go past out of the side window of the car. “I know I need to get to the Hospital, that’s where she is being held, I already worked that much out. Ae we heading straight to the contact or are you taking me somewhere else?” The suspicion in Max’s voice was clear, but it lacked no confidence and held no fear.
“She is not at the hospital but a hospital,” Dar clarified but in a semi-elusive tone. “If you show up at the hospital demanding your wife, you will be arrested and then imprisoned. That will not help her.” His tone was not angry or provoking. It was more matter-of-fact and neutral. “You can’t be angry at us, however. It is not like we planned any of this. At times things just happen and evolve out of necessity. Tell me Mr. Wynter, have you ever done something out of necessity that might be frowned upon by others?”
“You mean, like taking a sudden leave of absence to come and find my wife who had taken a sudden unexpected leave of absence to go ‘shopping’ without telling me? Like killing the two Ferengi that shot her and abducted her, the second after getting what information I needed out of him? Like taking that Ferengi’s ship and changing the Command Codes and registry so it appears to be mine at a cursory glance? Like following the trail to a non-Federation world and breaking the Prime Directive without giving a damn by meddling in their internal affairs to rescue her? Like shooting two Mundai Officiants on stun and stealing their identity and communications devices? Like ignoring a recall order from Starfleet to return home and grieve over my wifes’ dead clone built to throw me and the Federation off her trail and think she died in an accident and now I’m getting told to not be angry at us?” Max’s voice had gone from soft to hard, to angry and fierce by the end of his little monologue, and he looked at Dar and raised an eyebrow. “No, not really.” His voice had gone from angry to sarcastic in an instant.
“You have a sense of humor,” the officiant said with a hint of a smile before his face took on the characteristic dour they all seemed to wear. “Good. I never trust someone without a sense of humor.” Driving down the streets, the image was very industrial but exceedingly clean. Almost as if the concrete streets had just been poured and the marble blocked buildings just constructed. The area had an old feel with its architecture but still modern with the robotic machines moving about and holographic signs on each street. “There is so much you don’t know,” he started.
“I know she is being held in a bunker under the hospital, not the hospital itself and I know enough to understand that nobody at the hospital probably has any idea what’s going on,” Max continued, “I’m an Engineer, a Starfleet Engineer. I know that bunker has to have access points of varying degrees, exhaust vents for old air and gases and intakes for fresh air most likely built to look like or even into the Hospitals own vents. I know that it has to have a way to get people inside, and out again without looking obvious, so probably an entrance away from the hospital likely in an unused building with vehicle access so that people and equipment can move in and out without questions being asked about where they came from. I know that Security will be heavy and any attempt to force a way inside will fail and cause an immediate lockdown and response from probably para-military units and mercenaries if Ferengi are involved. It requires stealth and a bit of cleverness,” He held up the Officiants access card, “and I am not totally without means. I’m wondering how you can help me actually. This seems more like a case of how I can help you with something you haven’t been able to deal with for a long time.”
Max Wynter, CE
“There is much you don’t know,” the officiant replied looking forward. “It might be best if I start at the beginning. One hundred years ago we were at the cusp most technological society face. A hedonistic lifestyle had our population plagued with medical problems. Technology became our crutch and we limped along on it until we met another species in the quadrant. We created a symbiotic relationship with them. Their world was about to be destroyed by a supernova. We saved about 100,000 of them but their civilization perished. They became refugees. Unfortunately, as with most refugees, they did not easily slide into our society. They had no skills, no way to benefit the growth of either their culture or ours until one day the Gods smiled and showed us the path for both of our society’s to become one.” The officiant clasped his hands intertwining his fingers making one single hand. The image, while seeming to look like a fist suddenly had a new meaning. Looking out of the window, Max would notice this symbol on the middle of governmental flags. While slightly different from the more prayer-like clasping of hands, it was similar enough for someone to make the connection given the history lesson.
“So how exactly did the gods smile and show you the way to, join, your societies?” Max asked, clasping his hands in a similar fashion although it seemed to look nothing like what Dar was doing.
“A child became sick. Our doctors could not help. It was devastating for the parents as you might expect. Do you have children of your own Mr. Wynter,” Dar began trying to move the conversation to something his companion might relate to. The truth of their society would be frowned on by those that did not understand is to a commonality seemed the only way for people not to be revolted by the soon to shared confession. Once they accepted the truth, however, they saw the potential for the forced symbiotic relationship here on Mundai. Dar had no false expectations Max would accept anything but it might be enough to control the man even slightly.
“No. we don’t.” Max’s answer was short and to the point. “We talked about it soon after we got married and our parents are of the opinion a baby is long since overdue, but Jasmine and I have been focused on other things since we got married.” Max didn’t elaborate any more, but the two of them had focused on other people more than they had themselves, due of course to their positions of Chief Engineer of a Starship for him, and that Starships Chief Medical Officer for Jasmine. Their own plans of having a family had long since been put on hold.
“Look,” Max continued, “I’m sure the story is heart wrenching and tragic and all of that, Dar, but I just don’t give a damn. I want my wife back. After that, we will see what happens. If it was up to me I’d burn the rot out of this forsaken place and be done with it, and if I don’t get my wife back, it might just be an option on the table.” Max’s voice was cold, steady. He had a wealth of knowledge when it came to engineering, power systems and the like. If anything happened to Jasmine, Starfleet be damned, he would make those responsible on this planet never forget the error of their ways.
Max Wynter, CE
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