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German Galven

PNPC Taelon - On the Stand

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Being a recent transfer to Ops, I really enjoyed this bit of story arc regarding @Taelon. Great sim! 
 
((Starfleet Intel HQ – London, Earth))
(time index: several days into shore leave)
 
Once he’d looked at Earth from a frieghter’s window and been in awe of its beauty, its sparkling blue seas and rolling green. It’d been a contrast to the reddish dust and green clouds of his birth planet. The Academy had been the first thing he’d truly done on his own, and had seemed almost magical. Now he was back - and not as a welcomed newcomer. Now the looks he got were dark. They thought he’d done something he hadn’t. 
 
Taelon wasn’t sure what they even wanted him to reveal at his point; he’d told them as much as he could. 
 
Except he hadn’t, he knew he hadn’t. He’d been on a ship in contact with the Klingon military, seen the lists of dissidents and spies, even helped identify some of them. He’d helped Kaskis Ril for 15 years. 
 
The last time he’d seen Kaskis, she’d knifed him in the gut. For most people, this would have ended any loyalty they’d had. For Taelon, well, he’d deserved it, hadn’t he? He’d been lying to her for years, claiming to know nothing and to be some exile from Federation space. 
 
The fact she’d have skinned him alive for his command codes didn’t factor into his thought process much, but it did come to him on dark nights. He’d seen enough as part of her crew to know how Klingons got information out of people. If they’d discovered he was a ranking Federation officer from 20 years in the future...
 
But they hadn’t. Instead he’d been a loyal follower, the bounty hunter’s mechanic and medic of sorts. He’d been with her for a long time, and that knifing had hardly been the first time she’d struck at him in what he considered justified retribution. 
 
He could use her backing now, he thought, standing in the dock. Despite his towering height, Taelon’s body language was hardly intimidating; if anything, it made his answers seem worse. He tugged at the edges of his sleeves, worried his lower lip, and held himself closely, tucking his arms up against his sides and curling in around himself. He struggled to maintain eye contact. 
 
This was quite normal for him when he was uncomfortable, and with the added stress, his nervous ticks grew worse; already he’d nibbled through his lower lip, blood visible on his tongue briefly. All this did, however, serve to make him seem evasive. About halfway through he seemed to realize that and tried to steel himself, but DeMarcus’ looks and body language made him shrink back and fail. 
 
DeMarcus: Do you deny you worked with this cult, despite having evidence that you were on Zeta Iomis IV?
 
Taelon’s rising panic was clear to everyone watching. He saw Sal Taybrim and locked eyes with him briefly and that seemed to give him some measure of comfort; he took a few steadying breaths before he replied. 
 
Taelon: I’ve never worked with the Cult of Molor. Zeta Iomis IV was thought to be one of the hideouts for the Screaming Warriguls, so Captain Ril wanted it investigated. I merely - we merely did what she ordered.
 
That might well have been the longest he’d gone without a small stutter, and this only seemed to make DeMarcus more doubtful rather than less. 
 
DeMarcus: That is convenient.  Would you care to elucidate on what you were doing on the IKS Qulp’law?
 
Taelon: I was - ::He stopped, fingers twisting together so tightly that his knuckles popped.:: I acted as her mechanic and maintained the crew’s w-weapons and assault vehicles. ::He stopped again, biting his lip before adding-:: I, I invented some new tech for them as well. To help with the - to help with their work. I’ve documented my time with them for the Temporal authorities….
 
DeMarcus: Seems convenient. 
 
Taelon clearly didn’t know what to say to that; he lowered his gaze again before he managed a reply.
 
Taelon: W-well, it’s the truth...
 
The Intelligence officer’s look was one of disgust. He paced, each click of his heeled boots echoing. 
 
DeMarcus: Also convenient that you left the Narendra and shortly thereafter the cult was able to infiltrate the ship…
 
Taelon gawked at him, his gaze going to the crowd - to Sal, to others he’d talked to before. Whatever he’d guessed he was accused of, having put the Cult on the Narendra wasn’t included in that. He stammered. Despite his timid nature, it was clear he was offended. 
 
Taelon: Why would I - I’d never tell a group of killers where my colleagues were! Especially not after - not after -
 
He fell silent, shaking hands holding the edge of the dock. His knuckles were white. 
 
DeMarcus: ::More forcefully:: Someone had to leak security details! Someone had to tell the Klingons!
 
Taelon: Whatever it is I’ve done, or - or you think I’ve done… I wouldn’t h-hurt other members of the Federation - 
 
DeMarcus cut him off with a scoff, the man’s posture growing more intimidating. 
 
DeMarcus: Like you weren’t responsible for the death of undercover operative K’Tomj?  ::He smiled with a vicious expression. He knew the Starfleet intel operative was killed after contact with the Qulp’law.::
 
Taelon’s mouth opened, but he said nothing for a long moment, eventually clicking his mouth shut. He looked around the room again. It was true he’d killed the man.  It’d been a routine job with Ril’s crew up until he saw the reports afterwards. 
 
Taelon: I didn’t - I didn’t know about him. It was just a routine bounty, until we saw his intel…
 
DeMarcus/Any: ?
 
Licking his lips nervously, Taelon’s gaze dropped yet again. He didn’t know, how could he, it wasn’t like that at the time - he was keenly aware of his responses repeating over and over. But they were true. How could have known about a spy who was emplaced years before he’d even joined Starfleet? He should have seen the clues, but at the time it’d been a hostile planet and people had been quick to start shooting the moment things went south. 
 
He didn’t know what to say any more. 
 
Taelon: I’ve studied the cult under Captain Ril for years. And I might - I might make things you people - ::He stopped and quickly corrected himself.:: I might design things that, that the Federation doesn’t like, but I don’t - the Cult wants to hurt people. I want to p-protect them…
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