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[Round 6] Murder Ballad


James T. Kolk
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((Rakis - Polar Region))

::Suddenly, one of the great beasts that had been stalking them erupted from the sand and fixed itself to the pod. Even Synak was startled when she saw it. It began dragging the tiny pod into the quicksand with it. The pod tilted and sank deeper into the ground. Mere moments after the attack the rest of the stranded were without their one hope of travelling across the planet safely.::

Sarion: Oh dear. There it goes... What do we do now?

Tor: Isn't it obvious? We dig.

Sarion: While digging is an option it'll be hard. We should move away from here. It's no longer safe. Besides, what would we dig with?

Tor: Anything. We've got some spades, haven't we? If not, use your hands. We've got crew trapped under there!

Sarion: It is a tragic loss, but they won't survive much longer... certainly not long enough for us to get them.

Synak: I agree. How long do you propose we dig for? We have no way of knowing how far down they are.

Tor: Are you not at least going to try?!

Synak: And what if it comes back? We'll be sitting targets for it. Meanwhile it's getting dark. What temperature do you suppose a polar region drops to at night, Mr Tor?

Tor: Pretty low, Lieutenant. So I think it would be a good idea if we get them out quickly.

Synak: Then be thankful you don't have to make that decision. I am in charge and I say we move out. Or we'll all be dead by morning...

Sarion: I quite agree it would be best to get moving. And quickly

:: Jolan ignored her words and ran down the slope. Falling to his knees he sank his hands into the soft stand and began to dig. ::

::Synak flipped open her tricorder and scanned the region again. The Captain would be waiting, and time was running out.::

Synak: Sarion, please gather the rest of the crew and keep them together.

Sarion: As you wish.

::Synak handed her tricorder to the bar tender.::

Synak: Here, use this. The Captain is 3km in this direction ::She pinpointed it on the tricorder.::

Sarion: That's good to know, but wouldn't you rather lead?

Synak: I am going to help Ensign Tor locate the pod. We'll catch up to you if all goes well.

Sarion: Then we shall make all haste. ::Sarion lowered her voice so that only Synak could hear:: If you wish to remain, it is your choice, but beware. Not all foes are easily seen. ::again speaking with a normal voice:: Good luck to you both. We should all be moving.

::Sarion turned and gathered the frightened crew members into a tight group. Together they moved off hastily through the desert towards the captain.::

::After Sarion and the rest of them had gone, Synak turned to Tor Jolan, who was still on his hands and knee's digging. She stepped up behind him.::

Synak: I have always admired the Bajorans as a species. They've survived insurmountable odds against an aggressive, dominant race and have spent years rebuilding their society. All the while they have kept their faith and their values.

:: Jolan paused for a moment before he continued to move the sand. The life pod couldn't be too far beneath the surface, could it? ::

Tor: That's kind of you to say, Lieutenant. It's important to have faith in your actions, faith enough to see them through to the end. I'm sure you agree.

Synak: I appreciate that fact. The Bajorans have made an excellent addition to Starfleet personnel. However, some of the older ones - who remember the Occupation and have struggled for freedom have had more difficulty integrating. Like yourself.

Tor: I'm sure that explains why I'm still just an Ensign then, Lieutenant. I made the decision to join Starfleet to get away from Bajor, but perhaps you're right, perhaps I don't want to fit in here. Starfleet's like the Militia, it always comes down to who's dishing out the orders.

Synak: It is true. Although you will not remember me from your days of the Occupation. I, however, realised not too long ago who you really are. Freedom fighters, terrorists and even...collaborators have difficulty

accepting the leadership of others. Especially when they've given their all for the cause. You, for instance, have constantly undermined my authority since we touched down on this planet.

:: Jolan paused when Synak mentioned the word 'collaborator'. His hands, buried up to the wrists in the sand, clutched the phaser hidden there. ::

Tor: So you do know. Enlighten me, how did you find out?

Synak: It didn't strike me until now. Starfleet Intelligence has done a small background check on Bajoran Collaborators, but much of that interest was lost during the War. The Occupation was old news by then, and a bigger threat was being posed by the Dominion. Much of the Intel then was being done on Cardassia. You'd be surprised at what old archives the Obsidian Order left after its demise.

Tor: Huh. And I thought the Obsidian Order were supposed to be good at keeping secrets.

Synak: They were ultimately ineffective.

Tor: Tell me, Lieutenant, once you've had me discharged from Starfleet, where would you see me go? To Bajor to face charges, or to Cardassia perhaps?

Synak: It depends. What exactly is the statute of limitations for treason on Bajor? I'm sure Cardassian justice is much more thorough.

Tor: Ha! The Cardassians would kill me quicker than the Bajorans would! They hated the fact that they had to rely on people like me to do their dirty work, things that they couldn't do themselves because the Militia were too much for them. I'm a sign of weakness to the Cardassians and you know how much they like weakness. :: He paused ::

It's the same with you, isn't Synak? I undermined you in front of the crew, made you look weak, now you want revenge by pulling my past into the light. Starfleet Intelligence isn't much different to the Obsidian Order, or the Tal'Shiar, is it? Sometimes I wonder if Bajor would be better off without the Federation.

Synak: Revenge is irrelevant. I am Vulcan. Bajor took the necessary step to reassert itself on the galactic stage. However I do believe the addition of the wormhole made Bajor a household name in the Alpha Quadrant, especially when Jem'Hadar troops were destroying worlds.

Tor: You're right, I didn't have much say in the direction Bajor took. Once the Cardassians left I lost all my rights. I'd thrown my lot in with the wrong side, gambled and lost.

Synak: It happens.

Tor: ::shrugging slightly:: You don't understand the situation. Vulcan's can detatch their emotions, Bajorans on the other hand are very emotional. It seemed, at first, to be a good way to ease the suffering of my people. I thought the Cardassians were there to stay, the sooner I convinced my people to accept that the sooner the suffering would end. I thought that the Cardassians would even leave us to it if we didn't cause them too much trouble. But, after a while, it was clear that wasn't going to happen. By then it was too late.

Synak: It is understandable to some, what you did. Bajorans wouldn't agree. Cardassians would use it against you. Do you think the Federation has the slightest interest? You've committed no crime in the Federation's eyes. If you stand trial, it will be by Bajoran law. The Prime Directive forbids...

:: Jolan shook his head. ::

Tor: No, I'm not prepared to let that happen, Synak.

Synak: Jolan, I am an Intelligence Operative. Information is my business. I have been ordered to utilise information both for the protection of the Federation from it's enemies, and to use it against it's enemies. I know the regard on which ordinary officers see us. I think Captain Mar would have had me physically removed from her ship when I arrived. The crewmembers avoid me, for fear I'll overhear something I shouldn't. People have such low regard for Intel members that they genuinely think we corrupt innocent, decent people into being coldhearted, evil spies. The truth is we do it to protect people. I can protect you...

:: The Bajoran laughed bitterly at her comment. ::

Tor: I've seen how the intelligence services protect people.

Synak: What I'm trying to say is I know how to keep a secret. You don't have to throw your life away by doing something foolish. I will help you, if you wish.

Tor: Until you have no further use for me? I don't think so, I'm not ready to become your puppet. I had enough of that under the Cardassians.

Synak: Very well. Then it is my duty to expose you, and have you arrested when we reach DS17.

:: As the Vulcan turned away to follow the rest of the crew, Jolan lifted his phaser out of the ground and stood up, facing her. ::

Tor: I'll do whatever it takes, Synak. I've done a good job of escaping my past.

Synak: But it has inevitably caught up with you, as most crimes do. Shooting me will get you nowhere. I will be missed by my department.

Tor: You don't think I've shot people in the back before, Synak? Bajorans that I liked a great deal more than I like you?

::Sensing the conversation was taking a more serious tone than before, Synak gripped her own phaser. In one swift movement she had her own weapon pointing at him. It was a stand-off. She knew he wouldn't back down. He had a lot to lose, and those with the most to lose often acted irrationally.::

Synak: I will defend myself if necessary. I have been authorised to kill on many occassions.

Tor: ::He smiled, but it was without humour:: And I haven't? Which of us is the biggest murderer here, Synak? I don't think your hands are completely clean.

Synak: I do not think you are willing to shoot me. I could always shoot first, and put you out of your misery.

Tor: You're wrong.

Synak: Am I?

::For a moment he looked as though he was going to back down. She could see a lot of mixed emotion in the man. Pain, but pride. A wish to be forgiven, but a lifetimes worth of guilt.::

Synak: Put the phaser down, Jolan.

Tor: I...can't.

::There was a blast of intense light in the semi-darkness and for a moment it was unclear who fired first. Synak sensed Jolan was pulling the trigger and was sure she responded in the same fashion. As the light of the maximum setting of a hand phaser dimmed into the bitter twilight of the planet - Tor Jolan was alone in the dunes; a faint scorch mark in the sand where Synak had once been standing. After a second that felt like an hour, Jolan dropped to his knees and began to dig again. Perhaps that creature would come back, but perhaps now that wouldn't be such a bad thing. ::

Lieutenant Synak

Security/Intel

USS Ronin

simmed by

Lt.Commander Danny Wilde

Chief TAC

USS Ronin

&

Ensign Tor Jolan

Geologist

USS Ronin

simmed by

Jhen Thelev

Chief Operations Officer

USS Ronin

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