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Mar Valek, "The Way Home"


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((Jefferies Tube, Deck 8))

::Shallowly breathing the recycled air inside her masked helmet, Mar took stock of her situation. She was in a Jefferies tube. Her biosigns were masked. She had no idea how to get out of this situation. She had no idea how she'd gotten into in the first place.::

::Uaed was charming when she met him. He'd seduced his way into her life, despite her better judgment and all her careful plans. He'd become more important to her than she'd meant to allow. When he told her about the organization he worked for, she'd failed to listen to her instincts to get out. When he asked her to be part of it, to go on some missions where her skills as a pilot were needed, she hadn't had a choice. She had to do what was necessary to protect the most important person in her life. She had to do what Uaed asked of her.::

::Some piloting skills. She'd been caught.::

::Lying still in the Jefferies tube, Mar reviewed her options. Her shuttle was one, if she could reclaim it. Or the planet's surface, if she could find a way down there. The third option was rescue by the warship she'd intended to meet up with. If they didn't receive her rendezvous beacon, maybe they would swing by and rescue her.::

::The way the organization she worked for ran things, she wouldn't be surprised if they counted her a loss and moved on.::

::The Darwin rumbled, shaking with weapons fire, rocking her roughly in her tunneled cocoon.::

::So they had swung by to rescue her.::

::Mar knew better than to deactivate her biosign masker to let the warship find her. It was likely the Darwin would find her first. The same would be true if she communicated with her ship over comms. It would lead the Darwin crew immediately to her location.::

::Was there some other way to contact the warship? To let them know her whereabouts so they could get a lock on her and get her out of this? Surely they would try to recover her ship, assuming it contained evidence that could be used against them by Starfleet. Used to uncover the illegal operations of an organization that had so far managed to stay hidden in the shadows.::

::If the Federation learned of the organization based on Mar's ship, or the capture of Mar herself, then she would be the one who blew the cover on an organization that had protected its identity and operated without detection for years. She would be the cause of the organization's discovery, and potentially its downfall. All she'd wanted was a paycheck. To work a few jobs for them, take the money, and get back home. Back to Uaed.::

::Her chest was heaving now, growing tight with panic. She tried to breathe, but she felt claustrophobic in the mask, in the tunnel. Why was she here? How had any of this happened to her? If what McNeil and Bui had said on the shuttle was true, she had aided in a terrorist operation. All she'd known in advance was that she was to take a team in undercover, and wait to extract them after their operation. She hadn't asked questions. She'd only thought about the money. She needed that money more than she needed to keep her nose clean. Now, she wondered if that hadn't been a big mistake. Whatever damage McNeil and Bui had caused on the surface of Zakdorn, Mar was complicit. If she was caught, she would never get home. She would never get her money. She would never get back to Uaed.::

::None of this was what she'd intended. None of this was what Uaed had told her it would be.::

::With mind over matter, she forced her body to calm itself. She forced her mind to the details at hand. Darwin was a science ship, she'd learned. It was outmatched by the warship in offensive capabilities two to one. But the Horizon class ship could defend itself. And surely, despite the power drains and the lack of security forcefields, Darwin retained its internal sensors, and would have her in an instant if she slipped up.::

::McNeil, her only ally, disturbing as that thought may be, was probably in the brig by now. Let her be the one to blow the organization's cover. Mar regretted not shooting to kill. But she'd never killed anyone. She thought of the explosion on the surface of Zakdorn. Maybe she had killed after all.::

::She shook off that thinking. There was one point in her favor – Darwin was suffering damage. They had more to worry about than just her. Otherwise, their security teams would have had her in a second. Okay, maybe two.::

::Mar decided that now, while the Darwin was engaged in combat, she had her best chance at moving about undetected. She rolled to a crawling position, then moved along the tube until she found a likely hatch. Passing up a few that looked like they might set off all the bells and whistles, Mar emerged in glass-surrounded control room overlooking a cargo bay. A ladder and one unguarded hatch led to the cargo bay below. She'd practically struck latinum.::

::Mar descended the ladder. There had to be something here she could use. The ship shook as she went down, and she slipped on a rung, almost falling. She regained her grip and her footing, and made her way down.::

::Through the hatch, she found the cargo bay empty. Until a security detail decided to check or recheck this room, she was alone. How quickly could she find something useful? With the large orange visors of her helmet, she scanned the room for weapons signatures, a handy but limited add-on she'd acquired for her tech. There. She crossed the room and opened a crate.::

::While the ship ran red with alerts, fighting an enemy outside, looking for her, the enemy within, Mar decided she had to take a cue from her horrible, evil teammates. To save herself, to get back home in one piece, Mar had to blow a few things up.::

::She took a few charges with her, crossing back to the hatch and the ladder. She stopped before exiting and set the first charge to explode in the cargo bay. It was as good a place to start as any.::

::Back through the hatch, up the ladder, through the glass-paneled control room and back into the Jefferies tube. Mar closed the tube hatch behind her and waited. A little thrill went through her as her mask watched the thermal readings through the wall. They exploded.::

::She held onto the charges that remained. Her life line. Her way out. Taking off at a fast crawl, she headed for the next stop on her way home.::


MSPNPC Mar Valek
Pilot

simmed by

============================================
Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn
HCO Officer
USS Darwin NCC-99312-A
============================================

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