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I Would Rather Be Sailing

Posted on Wed Dec 22nd, 2021 by Lieutenant Sorben ch'Theseski & Lieutenant Commander Tolam Pizal & Lieutenant Commander Kara Stevenson Ph.D. & Lieutenant Sadie Potter [Dawson] & Lieutenant JG Thalen ch'Shraalik [Kingsley] & Lieutenant JG Valencia Roma [Grayson]

Mission: Episode 15 - A Time of Healing
Location: Forest Shack, Rilla Forest
Timeline: Day 3 at 1219
1164 words - 2.3 OF Standard Post Measure

As Tolam walked through the front door of the shack that stood just outside the town limits of Barcombe he realized that he'd rather be with his son and fiancé. What he didn't realize was that Kara had been called to the same scene as him and he bumped into her, "Kara?" He asked.

Kara looked up at Tolam while shaking her head, "You don't want to go into that room," She said. "I left Jikal with Lieutenant Cohen," Kara told him quietly. "I don't think our son would want to experience this anyway."

Tolam could tell that Kara was clearly shaken up, "What is in that room?" He asked. He ignored the part about his son being with Ariella because that wasn't as important as whatever had happened in the shack. Tolam and Kara both trusted Ariella to watch over their son while they worked anyway.

"A problem," Sorben pointed out as he came out of the room, "I need you to analyze the building to see if the soundproofing is the same as what we found with the Admiral Potter scene. I'll leave Sadie and Valencia to their work in there."

Tolam immediately knew that it was a bad scene if there was soundproofing just like with the Admiral. "All right."

Valencia was down on her knees analyzing the blood and taking samples, "There's a lot of it," She said while in the room. There were eight chairs that surrounded the room and one of the victims she recognized as Lieutenant Jay Hoffman.

"Sad," Sadie said, "Another dead officer." She said, "But this time he's not alone." Sadie hadn't gone to the scene where her father's body had been found and perhaps she'd not been as devastated when the Captain told her as she should have been. Now that she'd had time to process his death and grieved she was able to move on.

"Any significance?" Valencia asked.

"Yeah," Thalen answered his longtime girlfriend, "Hoffman was working undercover for Lieutenant Commander Gredrol and Starfleet Intelligence. He had two young children and a wife. The Captain is not going to enjoy telling his wife and children that their father will not be coming home. He also stopped reporting in six days ago."

"Based on the timeline," Sadie started to say, "I think he was tortured for much of the time that he'd been allegedly reporting in so our network may be compromised as well."

"I concur," Thalen said.

Kara had finally returned to the room after catching her breath, "Commander Pizal is here and analyzing the soundproofing. I'll eat my shorts if it's not the same technology that was found the last time." She took a deep breath as she looked at the faces of each of them. "This took a lot of time," She said, "And the scene is staged... They died here, but they weren't tortured here."

"What makes you say that?" Sadie said as she continued to attempt at determining a time of death.

"They're posed for one," Kara said, "Our killer is also up to nine victims and there's no way he would have tortured them here together."

"They also died at different times," Sadie said after analyzing the last victim. "Two or three days apart for each of them."

Sorben had come back into the room, "What do we have Lieutenant ch'Shraalik?"

Thalen looked at the other Andorian Lieutenant with a solemn look in his eye, "So far we've only been able to identify three of them including Lieutenant Hoffman. They are all associates of the Tuitchev Syndicate which would make it look like Nika is cleaning house. Of course, Lieutenant Hoffman's death means he was compromised somehow without our knowledge. I don't think Nika is cleaning house."

Kara shook her head, "This is the same as before... Someone is making it look like Nika Tuitchev is responsible for these deaths. And with the recent disappearance of Trax Balar we have to rule out his involvement."

"Or," Sadie said as she leaned back and stood up, "We have to assume he's gone into hiding. He could be involved in this because of who they are associated with. He may be going after Nika Tuitchev."

Tolam came into the room and was horrified almost immediately, "I see what you mean," He said to Kara. He looked at Sorben, "It's the same soundproofing as before. That is our connection along with the torture that these victims suffered. Perhaps we should also go into the other room and talk?"

Sorben tilted his head slightly, "Okay?" He asked rhetorically and went towards the other room.

Kara was curious, "Let me know if you find anything else," She remarked to the others and followed.

Valencia didn't think they'd find anything else, "This seems to be pretty cut and dry if you ask me. Lieutenant ch'Shraalik I have a theory," She looked up at him. "I think the person who's responsible for this may actually be going after Nika Tuitchev and her organization. Lieutenant Hoffman is a distraction," She said.

Thalen agreed with the assessment, "I think you're right and we should move to take Nika into protective custody before she finds herself meeting the same fate."

Sadie shook her head, "I just wish we'd have gotten to my father before he was killed. Maybe we could have prevented his death too," She sighed heavily.

Once Tolam had come out of the room he turned and looked at Kara and Sorben at the same time. "The person who's using this soundproofing has some elaborate knowledge of technology and engineering."

"What makes you say that?" Sorben asked.

"Well," Tolam started to say, "I don't have definitive proof, however, the soundproofing used was custom made. I had a theory and had checked into it. Typically custom made soundproofing has specific trace markers and it's not available on any known market. Also, I believe this was built around the same time that the soundproofing was put in."

Kara heard the theory and looked at Sorben, "Was that the case with the other house?"

"No," Sorben said, "The house was built before the soundproofing was installed and sometime at that. The torture also took place in that house whereas this time it appears that these people were tortured elsewhere and later killed here before being put in that room."

Kara nodded, "And we have another problem too. If the murderer was using the same line of communication and Hoffman's security codes then our network has been compromised. Our entire network of undercover Intelligence agents could be in trouble across the planet."

"Not necessarily," Sorben said. "Hoffman was the only operative working undercover within the Syndicate. If the killer knew he was Starfleet then he was compromised and the rest of our network was not. However, we still need to report this to Gredrol."

"He won't be happy," Tolam said.

Sorben simply shrugged, "There's not much we can do about that." And, Sorben knew that he was right too.


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