Part of USS Century: 1. Videre Invisibilium

Speak Softly and Carry a Toothy Maw

USS Century
2401
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The return of the away team had brought with it a flood of patients into the Century’s sickbay. The nursing staff was busily moving from bed to bed, checking vitals, running tests, and a whole gambit of other duties, all while being mindful of the fact that the individuals currently occupying their workspace were criminals, and most likely dangerous ones at that. Impressive as the sickbay facilities were, having to erect containment fields around all of them would have been an unreasonable task, meaning that their only viable course of action was to keep them sedated while they were in the facility.

Doctor Odaim was currently orchestrating the activities of the medical staff when she felt the unique presence of her Captain behind her, causing the Betazoid to whip around a bit faster than she’d intended to, “Captain, what can I help you with?”

“Have you managed to identify if any of the individuals the away team brought aboard have the same device their leader possessed?” Captain Gar’rath asked, choosing not to comment on the skittish greeting from the Medical officer.

“None of the others seem to have any such device implanted in them. A few of them have assorted injuries, but most of them are older than their encounter with our security team. We’re currently tending to those injuries while keeping the patients sedated,” Reli reported.

“Which means that either they were kept completely in the dark, or were only given the smallest scraps of information that wouldn’t harm whoever hired them,” the Gorn grumbled as he looked around the room at the various occupied beds.

“That is rather possible,” the doctor nodded as she turned toward the patients as well, “We’ve run their DNA through Starfleet’s databases. They’re all from different fringe colonies, most of them are wanted in at least two systems a piece, but only one of them has a history of violent crimes.”

“Which one would that be?” Gar’rath asked.

Dr. Odaim pointed to the man inhabiting the bed removed from the other patients. His background had warranted a bit of extra precaution and he was currently behind a containment field. The Captain started moving toward the bed, looking back at the doctor purposefully after reaching the boundary of the field. Reli picked up on what the Gorn was looking for her to do and tapped a command on her PaDD, lowering the field to allow the Captain to continue his approach. Once he was standing just off to the man’s right, Reli moved over to the patient’s left, sliding her PaDD into her lab coat pocket as did so.

“If you would be so kind as to wake him, Doctor,” the Gorn said, turning from her down toward the man currently laying in the bed, oblivious to his visitors.

A smirk of realization tugged at Reli’s lips as she retrieved a hypospray and the required medication to suspend the man’s sedation. After loading the vial into the receptacle, Odiam pressed the device to the man’s neck and triggered the injection. Once the audible hiss subsided, the doctor took a step back and switched out the vial with the sedative the man had previously been given to ensure she was ready on the off chance the man needed to be restrained.

Gar’rath watched as the man’s eyes fluttered, the fog of the sedative slowly but surely loosening its grip on his mind. It took him a moment to be able to focus on anything, but when he did, his eyes grew wide and his pupils shrank as he beheld the toothy maw of a reptilian biped he’d never seen before. A shrill shriek tumbled from the man’s lips, his legs and arms furiously pushing him backwards in an attempt to escape the monster that was hovering over him.

The Gorn reached out and seized the man’s right shoulder, his grip strong enough to arrest his backward momentum with very little effort. Feeling the sharp claws pinching the surface of his skin coaxed another panicked scream from the man. Several stings of incoherent utterances passed his lips, and his legs continued to push against the bed in a futile endeavor to separate himself from the carnivore staring him down.

“I need you to answer some questions,” Gar’rath spoke to the man in a low, gravelly voice that seemed to come from deep within his chest.

“I don’t know nothin’! I don’t know nothin’ at all!” the man screamed in terror.

Gar’rath turned his attention to the doctor momentarily, at which point the Betazoid focused on the man for a quick second and said flatly, “He’s lying…” The Captain returned his attention to the man squirming under his iron grip, his maw parting just a little as he drew a bit closer. “Try again…”

The man continued to struggle, trying as hard as he could to wretch his shoulder free from the Gorn’s grip, succeeding in doing little more than dislocate it for his trouble. The sharp pain caused his face to scrunch up, bringing a bit of coherence to his thoughts. Once he finally came to terms with his inability to escape, he started searching for other avenues to free himself from his predicament. His first instinct was to deflect any responsibility onto his former boss.

“Tarmer… he’s the one who made the deal… talk to him,” the man shouted.

The Captain returned his gaze to the doctor, who in turn took out her PaDD and glanced over the names of everyone who was in the sickbay. After a few moments, she found the name on the list, but shook her head once she located it, “He’s the one that had the toxin injector.”

Gar’rath returned his gaze to the man he held, “It would seem that this ‘Tarmer’ chose death over capture, leaving the rest of you to suffer the consequences alone.”

Again the man started to struggle, his mind reeling from the revelation that his former boss had taken the easy way out of their now hopeless situation. A few more seconds of futile effort bought the man a wave of exhaustion and not even a millimeter of gained distance away from the sharp claws or frightening visage that was currently terrorizing his psyche.

“He told me he made a deal with some crime syndicate in the area, said they were looking for those crystals we took from those transports. We were supposed to just hand over the goods and get paid,” the man fired off rapidly, his eyes darting from the Gorn to the doctor standing on opposite sides of him. This time, the woman nodded once he finished, confirming what he’d assumed, that she was a telepath of some sort.

“And the name of this syndicate?” the Captain growled in a menacing voice.

“Eep!” the man squealed, “I don’t know, he never said! I swear, he was always cagey about everything to do with that cargo… never told anyone any more than we needed to know to do the job.”

“How did your group know what those transports were carrying in the first place?” Gar’rath asked, his eyes narrowing.

“The outpost! Tarmer said he knew someone at the outpost that moved goods under the table for some extra latinum from time to time. Said he was tipped off by this guy and scored some override codes off him. Said we wouldn’t get caught if we used them.”

The Captain rose to his full height, putting just enough distance between them to cause the man to relax just a little, “Do you have a name?”

“No,” the man shook his head feverishly, “Tarmer only ever called him his contact. Like I said, real cagey. We only took the job because of the payout we were supposed to get. Didn’t have anything to do with the planning, just hijacked the cargo and chopped up the haulers once we got what we were after. Wasn’t even sure we’d make it to the hideout alive when the shuttle’s main power coupling blew. Hell, we might have been expendable this whole time and Tarmer was never gonna pay us at all…”

“That does seem likely, since that whole place was rigged with explosives,” Gar’rath nodded.

“Wait… what?!” the confusion and shock on the man’s face wasn’t something that a bad actor could replicate easily.

“You didn’t know?” the Captain inquired, “Were you not the ones that put that place together?”

Again the man’s head shook back and forth, “Nah, we’d never been there before we boosted those goods. Tarmer was the one that told us he knew a good spot, place nobody would think to look, and even if they did, they wouldn’t spot us without knowing beforehand we were there. Said his contact used it sometimes for deals with the people we were supposed to meet there. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time…”

“Then perhaps it was a good thing we did know where you were before we arrived. All things considered, you might be buried alive under kilometers of rock, if not outright dead by now,” the Gorn mused.

“Yeah…” the man chuckled nervously, “Who’d want that when they could be eaten by a lizard…”

“Who said I was going to eat you?” Gar’rath asked, his grip tightening just slightly, “You don’t look all that appetizing to me.”

Another frightened yelp escaped the man’s lips as the Captain turned to Dr. Odaim, “I think we’ve gotten everything we need from him. If you would?”

Reli nodded and pressed the hypospray against the man’s neck, the snap and hiss that followed signalling that the device had done it’s job. The pair watched the man’s eyes drift closed, and Gar’rath waited a few moments for the medication to fully take hold before dragging the man off the edge of the bed to return him to his former position.

The doctor retrieved a medical tricorder and did a quick scan, frowning when she noticed the muscle tears in his shoulder, “You really scared the wits out of him.”

“I cannot help how I look, doctor,” Gar’rath retorted with a hint of mirth in his voice.

Odiam let out an exasperated huff of air, “I suppose not. You aren’t exactly a common sight in this part of the galaxy, so I suppose his fear wasn’t completely unjustified…”

“No, doctor… you are just desensitized to my presence. Even in parts of the galaxy where my kind are a common sight, the reactions are generally the same,” the Captain chuckled.

“Well, don’t take this the wrong way,” Reli smirked, “But even I would probably crawl out of my skin if I woke up to you hovering over me, and I’ve known you for a good while now.”

“No offense taken, doctor. Were I in your place, I doubt my reaction would be any different. But that aside, thank you for your assistance. You were most helpful in coaxing the truth from him. Had he been more confident that lies would speed things along, we might not have garnered anything of particular value,” Gar’rath said, nodding to the Betazoid.

“I was happy to help, Captain. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a shoulder to mend.”