Part of Starbase Bravo: 2401: Mission 2

Curious Things and Smuggling Rings – Part 2

Starbase Bravo
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Cam’s list had narrowed down the suspect pool to just eleven people that had access to all the locations that had lost property and were actually on duty at the time. The first five had had air tight alibis and witnesses that could vouch for their whereabouts. After a quick lunch, Cole and Cam had decided to go ahead and talk to the ensign that was next on their list. That was proving harder then they expected as he took off in a sprint the moment they walked in. Apparently, word had gotten out about their interrogations.

“Where the hell does he think he’s gonna go? We’re on a damn station.” Cole called out as he and Cam gave chase.

Cam vaulted over some crates with medical supplies and landed with a thud. He looked at Cole with a puzzled expression and said, “I’m utterly lost on this one.” His breath quickened as he continued, “We’ve got the whole file on him, you know, name, rank, family, even the hobbies.”

Mid-sprint, Cam grimaced as his muscles protested the sudden exertion. It became painfully clear that his infrequent visits to the gym needed some serious attention.

Cole was thankful that he did cardio but his lungs were telling him he needed to do more. It took him several attempts to catch his breath, while still running, just enough to yell at their quarry.

“Ensign Miller! Starfleet Security!” he gasped out while sucking in another lung full of air. “We just want to talk!”

He wasn’t sure if the last part was heard by Miller or not as the fleeing man quickly turned a corner.

Cam’s ears caught the echo of Cole’s voice, a strained shout that pierced the chaos around them. His own attempt at a response was a futile struggle against the mounting exhaustion, a battle to form coherent words in the midst of panting.

As he turned the corner, Cam pushed his body beyond its limits. His strides were more akin to a laborious, hurried walk than a proper run. Casting a sidelong glance at Cole, he couldn’t help but admire the man’s seemingly boundless endurance, the way he pressed on with unwavering determination.

Deep in his chest, a sharp, persistent pain pulsed with each breath. Cam’s voice emerged in ragged gasps, “We…” He struggled for air, “Just want…” His words were punctuated by the rhythmic panting of his breath, “to…” His chest heaved, “talk.”

Cam and Cole turned the corner shortly after Miller and the Ensign was no where to be seen. Cole came to a sudden stop and looked around. “You’ve got be kidding me.” he said between labored breathes.

Cole took a few more steps forward before stopping again. “Screw this.” he said as he reached for his comm badge. “Shepard to Security.”

“Security. Go ahead.”

“Can you get a lock on Ensign Joseph Miller?” he asked while still breathing heavily.

“Got him.” came back the reply.

Cole looked over at Cam and grinned. “Beam his ass to a holding cell. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” he said to whomever was on the other end as he stepped back toward Cam. “Would you care to join me for a cold, refreshing drink?” he asked with a gesture back toward the Promenade.

Cam’s breaths came in heavy gasps as he cast a weary glance at Cole, a grin struggling to form amidst his panting. “I thought you’d ask…,” he finally managed to wheeze.

Amid the bustling throngs of the promenade, the two ensigns weaved their way toward the nearest cantina. Cam’s body ached with the reminder that he’d have to reclaim his lost stamina soon. His desk job at Starfleet had taken its toll far quicker than he’d anticipated.

Upon entering the cantina, he leaned toward Cole. “So, about that transport option… Was it on the table all along?”

Cole held up two fingers to the bartender and waited for their drinks. 

“I gotta tell ya.” he began with a smile. “I really wasn’t expecting him to bolt like that.” The drinks arrived and he lifted his glass and took a big gulp. “Or to be that damn fast.”

They stood there a few moments, nursing their drinks, and laughing and discussing the young man that now found himself suddenly in a holding cell.

“So you ready to go hear his story?” Cole asked as he placed his now empty glass back on the counter.

After some time, the two ensigns entered their familiar workspace, a room affectionately known as their ‘Lair’ within the bustling confines of the Main Security Office in Sector I-Navy. Cam shot a sidelong glance at Cole, his lips curving into a wry smile, and let slip, “You know, there are days I wonder if I’m in the middle of a security internship.”

A momentary pause hung in the air, filled with curiosity, before he ventured further, “About this upcoming interrogation, does it unfold like those classic ‘Good Cop Bad Cop’ scenarios that run on the holodeck?”

Cole couldn’t help but to grin at Cam’s comments. The drinks they had stopped for and the time they took to get to the brig had been good for Cole. It had given him time to cool off. The whole chase scene thing had actually pissed him off at Ensign Miller. 

The thought of the whole ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ thing sounded pretty good. “That’s good. Let’s go with that. Maybe t will put him on edge and we’ll get a confession out of him.” Cole replied as they approached the Interrogation Room they had gotten the suspect moved to before their arrival. “As you’re the guest here, I’ll let you pick your role first.”

Cam and Cole exchanged a subtle nod before slipping into the dimly lit interrogation chamber. The room’s stark, clinical aura seemed to amplify the tension that hung in the air like an invisible shroud. Ensign Miller, seated at the steel table, looked as though he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. His brow glistened with perspiration, betraying his anxiety despite the chilly room. It was clear, beneath the surface, that a storm was brewing, and Cam knew it was their solemn responsibility to unearth its tempestuous core.

The chairs creaked softly as they settled across from Miller. Cole’s gaze, unwavering and almost glacial, pierced through the gloom, leaving an unsettling chill in its wake.

“You certainly led us on a merry chase, Miller,” Cam observed, his voice cutting through the room’s silence like a surgeon’s scalpel.

Miller’s face flushed a deeper shade of crimson, his eyes locked onto the grain of the table.

Cam, sensing the palpable tension, extended an olive branch. “Thirsty? Maybe some water to ease your nerves?” he offered.

A shaky shake of the head was Miller’s only reply, but before he could elaborate, Cam pressed on, his voice low and probing. “Our main query revolves around the ‘why.’ You see, my colleague here possesses an intimate knowledge of your past.”

Mentioning this seemed to twist Miller’s face into an even tighter knot of distress. His jaw clenched with such force that Cam couldn’t help but wonder if he was on the brink of fracturing his own teeth.

Cole leaned forward and glared at Miller with eyes that could shot daggers into the other mans sole.

“Just cut through the crap and give us the names of the others that were helping you!” Cole demanded. 

“Wha….wha….what others?” stammered miller. “Helped me with what?”

“Can you believe this guy” Cole asked with a glance at Cam. “First he wants to make us chase him through half the station and then wants to play innocent. The stolen equipment, Egghead.” Cole said as he stood and got in Miller’s face.

“E…Equipment… S… St… Stolen?” Miller stammered again, struggling to articulate the words.

Cam’s eyes locked onto Miller’s face, searching for any hint of recognition. He couldn’t recall ever witnessing such profound confusion etched into someone’s features. Miller’s furrowed brow, the way his lips hesitated mid-sentence, and the perplexed furrow in his eyes all spoke volumes.

Cam leaned in closer to Cole and whispered, “I think it’s time for us to help him remember.”

Cole tapped a few fingers on the PADD he was holding and finally laid it on the table, in front of Miller. “This is a list of all the missing items that you helped steal.”

“But I didn’t steal anything,” Miller argued. He had apparently gotten his speech under control.

“He didn’t steal anything,” Cole repeated at Cam. “How many innocent people do you know that run from Security?” he asked rhetorically.

Cam’s eyes squinted, narrowing as he fixed his gaze on Miller’s face. This marked Cam’s first foray into the world of interrogations, but something deep within him stirred a gut feeling that whispered that Miller was not being deceptive – even though Miller hadn’t spilled a single word.

Miller’s face, however, painted a vivid picture of sheer terror. It was the kind of fear that might be expected when sitting on the wrong side of the table, but there was an unspoken layer to it. His lips remained sealed, and his watery eyes teetered on the brink of releasing tears.

Cam shifted his attention to Cole, his words measured, “I believe we should give him a chance to speak.” 

Then, his gaze bore into Miller’s soul as he added with a stern edge, “I presume you have a valid reason for your desperate attempt to escape, but keep in mind, you’re only inches away from the brig.”

“I thought….I thought….” Miller was back to his nervous stuttering and if Cole was seeing things correctly, the man was turning the darkest shade of red that a man of his coloring could possibly turn.

“Spit it out, man. I’m tired of wasting time on you. If it wasn’t for my partner here, I’d have your ass in the brig already.” Cole said. “We have better things to do with our time.”

Miller’s eyes began shifting around the room. “I thought you were after me for the…..the…” he lowered his voice. “The Ferengi holoporns I was helping to smuggle in.”

“Holoporn??!” exclaimed Cole as he stood up. “You think this is about porn?”

Cole began pacing the room. “We’ve been in here to almost three hours. You could have saved all of us some time if you had just come clean to begin with.”

Cole turned to another officer that was manning a console near by. “Throw him in a security cell until I figure out what to do with him, will you?”

“Porn.” he said to Cam as he watched Miller being escorted off. “Guess it’s time to move on down the list. You ready?”