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[2006: JUL-AUG] A Pretender’s Trap


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A Pretender’s Trap

By Toni Turner


The door chirped, alerting Captain Erich Vaka of his arriving quarry. Tweaking his moustache, he checked his appearance in the mirror, remembering the steps he had taken to ensnare the delicate creature he was about to welcome into his lair.

A successful man, Erich was accustomed to being the center of attention, and it didn’t matter if the adoration came from his status as Captain, or from his mysterious steel gray eyes, his tall muscular build, or his dignified stance. He wanted all the considerations he felt were due to him, and more.

Erich was vain . . . an egotistical man filled with self-importance, who would not hesitate to down play any rival’s attributes, male or female, for his own reward. While it was true that he had worked many years to become a Starfleet Captain, it was also true that many officers had fallen from grace with the upper crust by his hand. The very hint of someone, who dared to vie for his position, was enough for him to sentence them to death . . . not by cutting off their breath, but by effectively killing any semblance of influence that they had, or worse, by breaking their spirit.

His ambition was all-consuming, and the deceit he had used to rise to his command, had inflicted agonizing damage to many Starfleet careers. His callousness was infamous in the lower ranks, but still he maintained favor with the elites he had deceived so completely. They saw him as the man he pretended to be, and not the evil man he was.

The Meeting

From the first moment Bree Durham walked onto his Bridge, Captain Erich Vaka knew that she posed a threat when all eyes shifted from him to take in the wholesomeness of the young Ensign. Even he had found the freshness of her features alluring, and her wide-eyed innocence tempting, but he coveted the attention she commanded, and quickly put a stop to it.

"Ensign! You never enter my bridge without announcing yourself," he barked, without a sign of welcome.

"Sorry, Captain Vaka, I have no excuses. I'll try to remember the next time," she smiled. Her voice was soft, and a little uncertain.

Agitated, he asked, "Try? Did you say . . . try?"

"Sorry, Sir, I will remember," she said, with complete sincerity.

He questioned her terminology again, "Remember? No, you will do it, or be put on report. Understand?"

Maintaining her composure, she replied, "Understood, Sir."

Erich sat down in his command chair, appraising her visual appeal. "Ensign, come here!" he commanded. When she obeyed, he spoke in low tones so only she could hear, “Ensign, are you trying to be insolent with me?”

“No, Sir,” she answered quietly.

“Just what are you trying to do?”

“My job, Captain,” she returned.

Smiling wryly, he inquired, “And what is your job?”

“My job is to obey your orders, and do whatever you ask of me without question.”

Rolling his eyes, “So why haven't you done it?”

Standing at attention, she replied with an answer she thought would please him. “Ensign Bree Durham, reporting for duty, Captain.”

Rising to his feet, he towered over her petite frame, narrowing his eyes, and shouting so the entire Bridge crew could hear, "Get off my Bridge! I will not tolerate your insolence. You’re confined to your quarters!"

Embarrassed, Bree fled the Bridge without a word in her own defense.

Erich smiled inwardly, and summoned his First Officer. "Put her on report. She is not to leave her quarters until I send for her."

“Aye, Sir.”

With Bree effectively neutralized, Erich once more found his comfort zone in being the center of attention, but unlike the other officers he had taken down, the innocence of the young woman haunted him.

At the end of the day, he summoned her to his Ready Room.

As Bree entered, she announced her presence, “Ensign Bree Durham reporting as requested, Captain.”

Erich smiled, "Ensign Durham, please have a seat."

“Thank you, sir,” she replied, sitting down, folding her hands in her lap.

Scrutinizing her demeanor, “I hope you have learned a valuable lesson from your confinement today.”

“Yes, sir,” she responded, giving him the respect of his rank.

“It distresses me to have to discipline new Ensigns,” he lied, “but I find that it puts their attention on the protocol that’s expected. I’m really not the Bear I seemed to be this morning.”

“Of course not, sir,” Bree agreed.

“All right then,” he said, getting up from his chair. “I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Bridge tomorrow morning.”

She smiled, and stood up, “Thank you, sir.”

Erich watched as she left the room, admiring her attractiveness, and thinking of the nice trophy she would make if he decided to woo her.

The Shunning

While most Captains enjoyed the solitude of eating alone, or sharing a quiet meal with the Senior Staff, Erich preferred the Mess Hall as it afforded an opportunity to feed off the admiring glances of the female crew members, and the jealous stares of the men.

The next morning when he walked into the Mess Hall to eat breakfast, he fully expected all eyes to fall on him, but the roomful of people was so attentively occupied with Bree, they didn’t notice that he had arrived. The admiring glances were aimed at her purity and beauty, and the jealous stares emitted only from him. Enraged, he left without eating.

Later, from the vantage point of his command chair, he watched every move she made at her console, enviously desiring the simplicity of her charm. He had never seen anyone do so little to attract attention, but received so much of it. Yet, he, himself, added to her admiration, and that bothered him greatly.

Late in the day, he leaned over her shoulder, speaking quietly as she worked. “Ensign, I need you to go down to the Chief Tactical Officer’s Office, and download the ship’s specifications.”

“All right, Captain, I’ll do it now.”

“Thank you, Ensign,” he said, smirking behind her back.

He watched the Bridge door close behind her, then entered his Ready Room. =/\= Captain Vaka to Security Chief Williams . . . Neal, come to the Ready Room. =/\=

=/\= Aye, Captain. =/\=

When Lt. Commander Williams entered the room, Erich motioned for him to be seated while he finished reading from his padd. A few moments past, then he looked up grimly. “Neal, I’m sad to say that we may have a spy among us.”

Neal gave a puzzled expression. “I don’t see how, sir. We always do an extensive background check on every crew member.”

Indicating the padd he held in his hand, “I know. That’s why this Intelligence report is so disturbing.” He continued before Neal asked to read it. “I think the best course of action, since it involves an Ensign, is not to be confrontational.”

“Who is it, Captain?”

He opened the padd again, as if he were reading the name. “Ensign Bree Durham, but I can’t believe it of such an innocent looking young woman,” he said, sounding as sincere as possible.

Neal wrinkled his eyebrows. “I haven’t met her, but I’ve read her Starfleet Academy transcripts and biographical profile, and her background check was impeccable. I didn’t find anything that would remotely suggest that she would engage in espionage.”

“I don’t doubt you at all. Intelligence must have picked up something on her recently.” Erich paused as if to contemplate what to do. “I’ll double check with them to make sure the information is correct, but in the meanwhile, it would be prudent to assign a couple of your security officers to keep close tabs on her activities.”

Neal concurred, thinking of the blemish that it would be on his record if she successfully past sensitive information to the enemy. “I’ll find her through the computer, and get two men on it now.”

“Be sure to enforce that they are not to confront her.”

“Don’t worry, Captain. I will. If it’s true, I’d like to have proof positive before we make a move.”

After Neal left, Erich mused pridefully. His cunning had been perfection, and soon, the whispers would start to erode her popularity, after all, he was well acquainted with the ship’s grapevine, and if the news of Bree’s treachery didn’t spread fast enough, he knew how to help it along.

For the next few days, he quietly sent Bree on mundane errands into sensitive areas of the ship, raising suspicions as to her intent. Finally, tiring of the game, he set her on a final mission. “Ensign, go to the cabinet that houses the main computer core, and bring me the serial number.”

When she obeyed, he set up a meeting with Lt. Commander Williams, asking for a full report of her activities the next morning in the Mess Hall. Erich wanted to gage the impact his plan was having on her popularity.

Entering the Mess Hall, Erich noted that the crowd around Bree was somewhat smaller, but not small enough for his liking, so he made certain the table he chose was in the midst of the crew. While Neal gave his report, they talked quietly, but Erich made sure that her name could be overheard.

His plan worked, and when he arrived the next morning, Bree was sitting at a table alone. When she smiled to greet those who had been her admirers, they ignored her, passing her by to give him their full attention. Erich smiled, pleased with his accomplishment.

The Seduction

With Bree’s competition extinguished, Erich began to relax, enjoying the hero worship that fed his vanity, but still he craved more - adoration from Bree.

Despite what he had done to her, Bree had remained composed, doing her work to the best of her abilities, letting nothing impede her willingness to meet each day with a smile.

It vexed Erich that he had never caught her giving him an admiring glance, or even remotely giving him the idea that she was interested in him, so he vowed to find a remedy for the situation.

He approached her in an empty corridor. “Ensign, I cannot help but notice that no one speaks to you. Is there anything wrong?”

“No, sir,” she answered, “I don’t know of anything wrong, but sometimes it’s hard to fit in right away.”

Erich could not believe how naive she was not to notice how she was being shunned. “I believe I can help you fit in faster, if you don’t mind having dinner with me.”

She asked innocently, “You mean a date?”

Leaning nearer to her, he explained suggestively, “Not a date exactly. I want you to come to my quarters tonight so we can . . . talk.” His stance revealed his full intent.

Obviously nervous, she stammered, “Oh, well, um . . . I couldn’t do that. I’m sure things will work out eventually.”

Losing his patience, he presented the proposition as an order. “Be in my quarters by 1800 hours, Ensign.”

“Yes . . . sir,” she responded timidly, scurrying away.


The door chirped, alerting Captain Erich Vaka of his arriving quarry. Tweaking his moustache, he checked his appearance in the mirror, remembering the steps he had taken to ensnare the delicate creature he was about to welcome into his lair.

“Enter,” he shouted from the bedroom, envisioning Bree’s anxiety as a victory. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

“Take your time, sir.”

Adjusting the towel he had wrapped around his waist, he made a triumphant entrance, immediately making advances that were clearly unwelcome.

Bree pushed him away, quietly asking, "Captain Vaka, have you met Admiral Glen Pulzer?"

"Yes, I know him quite well. Why do you ask?"

From behind him a voice answered his question. "I don't think she meant that as a question. It was more an introduction."

Every drop of blood seemed to drain from Erich's face. He turned around, hedging, "Admiral . . . nice to see . . ."

Pulzer stepped toward him, cutting into his sentence. "Don't give me your rhetoric. I've heard enough of your lies. You’re relieved of duty, and confined to quarters, pending your Court-martial.”

Erich was visibly sweating. “Court-martial? For what?”

“Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman,” he said. “Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice states, ‘A gentleman is understood to have a duty to avoid dishonest acts, displays of indecency, lawlessness, dealing unfairly, indecorum, injustice, or acts of cruelty.’”

"But Admiral, you can't tell me that you have never tried to seduce one of your subordinates."

“I can, and I will, but if I had, I certainly would have the ethics not to make it an order. That's not all you have done, Erich. You tried to discredit this young lady, and in doing so, you've trapped yourself in a plan designed much like one of your own. You see, Bree only pretended to be an Ensign. She’s actually Lieutenant Commander Bree Durham from Internal Affairs.”

Erich glanced at Bree with utter contempt, and she returned a knowing smile.

Edited by Toni
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