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The Double Blind - Part 2 of 3

Posted on Wed Oct 16th, 2019 @ 7:15pm by Captain Enalia Telvan & Az'Prel & Riov (Captain) Dalia Rendal & Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander Sonak & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & erei'Riov (Commander) Arrenhe t'Suil & Jaeih Dox-t'Aan & Artan Pirate Helev t'Liun & Deihu (Senator) Verelan t'Rul
Edited on on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 @ 9:57am

Mission: Family Detention
Location: The Delevhas Compound - ch'Rihan
Timeline: 2396

“I guess this means our cover is blown,” Enalia quipped with a quick triple trust parry in an attempt to keep Rendal at bay. Only seconds ago, the two women’s swords had met in battle on the landing platform of the Tal’Shiar base known as the Delevhas Compound. Here on Romulus, the architect of the Hera crew’s troubles, Riov Dalia Rendal, had penetrated Enalia’s disguise, but not her flesh.

“Everyone, get Dox to the shuttle!” the Tal'Shiar captain ordered, mounting a more determined sword offense against the pirate queen turned Starfleet captain. Immediately, a group of Centurions surrounded the Senator and pulled her aside, but blocked from the entrance of the shuttle, all they could do was take cover against the wall of the control booth and guard her as chaos erupted around them.

Meanwhile, Dox wasn’t waiting, and she certainly wasn’t retreating to the shuttle of her captor, as her hands were free. Improbably and seemingly impossibly, her friends were there to rescue her, and damned if she would just stand around waiting. The time for waiting for her moment and biding her time was over; now was the time to act. Without hesitation, she reached down and grabbed the fallen shackles to swing them into the guard on her left, smashing them into his face hard. As he grabbed for his broken nose, now gushing a burst of green, she delivered a sharp kick to the side of his knee that shattered it, making it easy to shove the large man into the guards behind him.

But Rendal had placed her men in a tight circle around Dox to 'protect' her, and another guard reached around her to put the much smaller woman in a chokehold to restrain her. But the furious woman was no longer taking any chances, as she elbowed him hard in the ribs, grabbed the hand nearest her neck and twisted until she heard bone pop and give. Then, twisting around, Dox folded her hand into a knife-wedge, to jab it tightly into his throat. The guard let out a choking gasp and collapsed, but she was still vastly outnumbered, and the others closed in tight to protect their charge as ordered by their Riov. Gathered about her they were pressing completely around her to restrict her movement. Dox struggled to break free, but was being overpowered by pure numbers.

From the rear, t’Suil had pulled her own disruptor and began shouting at the men, “Get the Senator and her Granddaughter on the shuttle, NOW!! Protect them at all costs!!” But in the chaos, it was impossible.

That was when Az’Prel made an appearance after having ghost-killed four of the Centurions without a sound. Their bodies just went from standing to lying on the platform deck in spreading pools of liquid jade. But now, she was at Dox’s side, pressing a pair of blades into her hands while slicing a fifth Centurion open like one would open a bodybag.

“I thought it logical to bring these. You may have need of them.” With a spin, Az'Prel had moved on to her next target - t’Suil, two more Centurions dropping along the way.

Smirking slightly, Dox simply nodded, feeling the familiar heft of her twin, curved Caitian blades in her hands. The blades gifted to her from her fellow Artan Baroness, Schwein von Alcott, which she treasured and had practiced with for a great many hours. Quickly, she pressed the small buttons in the hilts and a slight blue shimmer enveloped the blades to generate the stunning fields she had installed in the weapons. With the force fields, the blades were no longer lethal, but were now remarkably effective as stun batons. Spinning them in her hands, in only an instant, another two guards had hit the deck.

Meanwhile, Enalia and Rendal were off to one side having a seemingly pleasant conversation about swordplay mechanics and various techniques as they struggled to get one up on each other. Indeed, they seemed almost perfectly matched, and though Enalia’s smirk never left her face, the sweat on her brow told of the struggle she was having. Rendal was also exerting herself furiously, both keeping up, and trying to gain an advantage over the Pirate Queen. Indeed, it looked like the contest would be settled by whomever had the most stamina.

However, that was when even more guards began rushing off the transport shuttle, disruptors drawn, targeting the members of the Hera’s crew. Rendal had clearly been prepared for such an eventuality.

One of the guards with a pain baton drawn charged at Thex. She couldn't help but smile as she dodged to one side before smacking him hard in the back of the neck, then landing a kick to his solar plexus. Grabbing the man's baton, she wasted no time and threw it right at one of the others incoming, sending the female Romulan crashing down to the floor screaming.

Still holographically disguised as a Romulan himself, the Cardassian Intel Agent Varnok preferred stealth and misdirection, but when all else failed, he was more than capable of taking care of himself. And in the circumstances, he was more than willing to do so to recover his shipmates as he blended in with the guards, stunning them when necessary to prevent them from being effective.

As a centurion lunged forward, Varnok deflected the blows deftly, misdirecting his attacker's momentum. Pressing the point, the Romulan rushed in and grabbed the intel agent by the neck. Varnok smiled slightly as the physical contact with a neck clearly much broader than the holographic projection implied caused the projection to flicker, which revealed the Cardassian's true appearance to become momentarily visible.

As the hologram dropped for only an instant, Varnok watched a horrified look cross the Romulan's face, and then grinning broadly and acting swiftly while the Tal'Shiar agent was caught off guard, he swung his arm up to lightly jab the centurion in the neck. As he did, a light hiss was heard and the attacker collapsed. Slipping the hypo loaded with the fast-acting sedative back up his sleeve, Varnok moved on to his next target.

Sonak was a man of peace and logic. To him, violence was the last argument of the imbecile. But when the blade comes for your heart, there is no other logical choice but to speak its own language.

With decades of training as a Vulcan monk and a Starfleet officer, the chief science officer of the Hera wasted no time in debate. The club whistled in the space still warmed by his head as he ducked to grab the ankle of the guard. A nearly bone-breaking grip on the nerve there that went straight up to the base of the spinal column allowed him to sent his paralyzing mental pulse just as would the standard neck pinch; enough to seize the stunned guard, lift him off the floor and send him like a log into the midriff of two others charging his position.

His head jerked up as he heard the telltale whine of engines above them. Quickly recalling the layout of the place, he pointed to the nearest arch curving over the platform and spoke loudly enough for all his shipmates to hear him. ''Heads up! Seek cover! ''

From high above the chaos on the platform, the four Scorpions that had been circling finally broke formation and turned to target their devastating weapons on those below. But without warning, one of the four quickly pulled back, took aim and a burst of green fire lanced from the disruptor cannon on its back, destroying one of its sister ships in a ball of fire that fell to the side of the field of combat below, to crash into the nearby river. Immediately, the remaining two Scorpions now had a new target to worry about as they began chasing the rogue element in a flying firefight.

From below, in the melee of weapons and combat, there was a pause as most everyone looked up in confusion at what had just happened. Then, without warning, the refugee Vulcan woman let loose a trilling warcry that sent shivers through the Romulans and her allies alike before downing another Centurion by throwing a now broken disruptor rifle across the platform directly into his face.

“Intimidation is quite logical at times,” she declared casually with a glance to Dox.

“Agreed.” Dox’s eyes went cold as she turned to glare at erei’Riov t’Suil who was still being flanked by a number of Centurions, who caught the glare and did not like what she saw.

As the battle raged on, to Enalia and Rendal it was almost as if it was coming to pass in slow motion. They dodged disruptor fire with ease as they parried and thrust their way back and forth across the landing platform multiple times, using the dead to try and gain a hint of high ground, trading places, first one pushing the other back, then the other gaining on the first.

“You know you’ll never win. You’re in the heart of the Imperium,” Rendal observed casually.

“You have no idea how persistent I am. I am inevitable,” Enalia replied with the same casual air.

Stepping up on a couple of fallen Centurions, Rendal would press her momentary advantage. “And I am the east wind that you cannot escape. I will always follow you.”

Then Enalia sidestepped, and having abandoned her piratical swordplay flourish long ago, pressed back harder. “And I literally have the Spirit of Death quartered aboard my vessel. You kidnapped her best friend. Were I you, I would prepare to die.” With that statement, a memory caught in Enalia’s head and she had to run with it.

“You think I fear death? My mnhei’sahe demands I die for my Imperium. I am an honorable daughter of ch’Rihan!” Rendal dodged a few wide swings, unsure of Enalia’s sudden change of tactics and slightly thrown off guard by them, but pressing her advantage none-the-less.

“My name is Enalia Telvan. You kidnapped the only friend of Death. Prepare to die!” With a mad grin, Enalia switched hands with a flourish and let Rendal fully press her ‘advantage’ and pass her by so that with her offhand, she could slip her sword into the guts of the Royal Riov.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a fatal blow, but it was good enough to take her out of the fight at the very least, having pierced the woman’s belly.

Stumbling back away from the superior swordswoman and leaning against the nose of her shuttle, she sheathed her sword and called out to the Pirate Queen. “You may think you’ve won this day! You have not! She’s still mine! My apprentice will still stay here with me, to save her grandmother! She belongs here and she knows it!” And with those words, she grabbed her disruptor to cover Enalia as several Centurions came to flank her.

From the other side of the platform, still surrounded by Centurions, Dox and Az’Prel were trying to press forward. Dox, in particular, was trying to get to her Grandmother, who was still being protected in a tight formation by a small detachment of Centurions. As the young Rihannsu Starfleet officer heard Rendal’s words, her stomach tightened. Through the chaos, her eyes made contact with her grandmother and Dox knew, on at least that level, Rendal might be right. She couldn’t just abandon the woman who had started all of this with her kidnapping.

Though she knew Rendal wanted only power, in her heart Dox believed that her Grandmother truly felt she was doing the right thing. Trying to save the family she believed had been brainwashed by the Federation, and bring her home. While she had no idea what she could do, Dox knew she couldn’t just leave her grandmother as she was, a puppet of Riov Rendal. Mind-controlled to do her bidding, enslaved in her own body. Maybe later, if they all survived this, she wondered if she would laugh at the irony of that idea.

But with Rendal’s injury, the Centurions actually rallied and the tide of the battle had begun to turn as her forces began pushing back harder against the smaller rescue group in their Commander’s wake. The Romulan Centurions were making ground, and beginning to overwhelm the Hera crewmembers by virtue of sheer numbers.

It seemed it was the destiny of Mnhei’sahe Dox to remain on ch’Rihan, and in trying to rescue her, a fate the command crew of the USS Hera seemed destined to share with her.

While she had railed against it, Dox realized that in this moment, she could end this conflict with but a few words, spoken clearly and with volume. Shouldering her karma, she might be able to save the crew, by sacrificing herself and surrendering to the Rihannsu forces. While it was far from a perfect solution, it was the only one she could think of that might save the lives of the Federation crew. Who had come so far and risked intergalactic war just to try to rescue her, in what was now clearly a doomed effort.

Cornered by fate, manipulated by her own people, now, in this desperate pitched battle, it seemed this was the moment in time where the young Rihannsu Starfleet officer could no longer escape her destiny. It was clear to her she would have to stand alone to save those dearest to her. Closing her eyes for just a moment, Mnhei'sahe opened her hands. As she did so, her twin Caitian blades clattered to the ground, as she opened her mouth to speak.

Which was when overhead, one of the Scorpion fighters above them were suddenly stricken, their engines seized and the small vessel was left ionized and powerless. Which would be unusual in and of itself, save that the vessel was reacting as if it had been struck by something other than disruptor fire. The pounding of disruptors would have disintegrated the bonds between molecules and destroyed the small craft, or at the very least rendered it a smoking wreck, plummeting to the ground below.

Ionization of the controls and the loss of power seemed more indicative of phaser fire, to the eye of the experienced pilot. As Dox spared a glance overhead, she saw a trio of jet-black Scorpions flying in tight formation as they strafed the landing platform in wide golden beams, leaving swaths of stunned Centurions in their wake.

Wide, golden phaser beams. Which meant only one thing to the relieved Rihannsu.

“Rita,” she muttered, grinning ear to ear.

In all the excitement, Mnehi’sahe figured she just hadn’t seen the blonde-haired, blue-eyed human who so often defied the odds and interfered with destiny, assuming her to be disguised. Although not much of a hand to hand combatant, the curvaceous commander was never one to shy from a fight, finding ways to make a different, often with her antiquated phaser pistol in one hand and an olive branch in the other. As the trio of what she deduced to be the Cyclone fighters in disguise as Scorpions wheeled about to make another strafing run, even as they provided cover fire for the other Scorpion dogfight that was raging overhead, Dox felt the weight lifted from her chest, and she could breathe again- the breath of freedom, of hope. Suddenly the dismal acceptance of her fate seemed to be not the only answer, but merely one of them.

Phaser pulses strafed the platform, the product of a master of their use who had been doing this for longer than most of the participants involved in the battle had been alive. As the Hera personnel were ringed by the Centurions, it was easy to lay phaser pulses which landed with mild shockwaves, sufficient to drive combatants apart, even as the attending craft continued their wide-beam stun runs, thinning the ranks for the Romulans in short order.

In ten seconds, the tide of the battle had turned. Where there had been the growing apprehension of impending defeat, there was now the very real possibility that they might just get out of this after all.

In the air, one remaining Scorpion fighter turned from chasing the single rouge that had turned on the group earlier and arced down to pursue the newcomers to the battle. But it's pursuit was short-lived as its shields were bracketed by a lance of green disruptor fire, that forced the ship back up and away from the fray below. Again, the mysterious Scorpion that had turned on the others was on the rear of the other and firing away.

The two craft began twisting in the air above the platform, firing at each other before the enemy craft twirled around to clip the other Scorpion's port wing with a disruptor burst. But before it could swing around for a killing shot, the Cyclones from below trained their phasers on the attacking vessel to blast through its shields and send it spiraling to the woods beyond the platform in a swirl of ionization and crackling electricity danced across the shiny black hull.

As the Cyclones returned their attention to the platform, to continue pulsing and stunning to drive enemies apart and even the odds, the final Scorpion brought its nose in low and aimed itself towards the platform for a controlled crash Auguring in towards the Senatorial Shuttle still parked on the deck, both Centurions and t'Suil ran from the Charon class shuttle as the Scorpion slammed into the platform. Shaking almost everyone present off of their feet as it skidded across the landing pad, it took out the shuttle’s port nacelle in a burst of green fire before skidding to a stop near the edge of the platform, trailing smoke and flames behind it.

As the remaining combatants pulled themselves back to their feet, the hatch to the Scorpion opened to reveal a black-clad pilot. As the suicide commando removed their helmet, their identity was revealed to be none other that one Jaeih Dox- bruised, bleeding but very much alive.

Shaking her head as Az'Prel helped her back to her feet, Mnhei'sahe's eyes went wide, and an impossible smile stretched across her face as she cried out. "M... MOTHER!!!! You ARE alive!!!"

"More or less, Mnhei’sahe… but please, not so loud... these helmets are remarkably useless." The elder Rihannsu once believed dead managed a sly smirk as she staggered out of the craft. Az'Prel ran to her side, leaping to plant her foot in the face of one of the few remaining centurions and riding his momentum to the ground to arrive at the side of her friend. The friend she had crossed half a galaxy to find, to rescue, and to return to the home neither of them had ever expected to find on a Starfleet vessel.

"Ko-kai! Rinam, I have you." The greeting was short, but as Az'Prel supported her chosen sister and friend of this universe, the emotions within her rode high and were obvious to those who knew how to read them. Of course, no one quite knew how to read Az'Prel's emotions like that chosen sister, as Jaeih simply smiled lightly, nodding and taking the support offered with a gentle squeeze.

That was when the trio of disguised Scorpions leveled themselves at Riov Rendel, and the speakers transmitted the voice of their pilot, in a poor Rihan dialect, but it was most certainly Romulan and not a universal translator at work.

“We’d like to take our people and go, Rendel We can do this bloodlessly or violently, that’s your call. But we just came to rescue those taken- no more, no less.”

While the accent was clearly that of no particular region, to the sensitive ear of Mnhei’sahe Dox, those tones were unmistakable. She was right… the lead pilot, in a gleaming black Scorpion which she would bet real latinum was the Getaway Driver, likely disguised through some means of her ingenious wife, came the voice of one Rita Paris- the spirit of the 23rd Century.

The Royal Riov paused for a moment before rage twisted her face and she threw her disruptor to the ground, shattering it. She recognized the voice clearly, even in another language. Especially now that she knew them to be the crew of the Hera. This was the woman that promised her precious station away and ruined her career.

Rita kreldanni Paris.

"You think you have won? You have nothing! You leave with nothing but what I let you! There is no escape from this world... not for her! Go then! Take my apprentice for now! She's drawn to this world now that she's had a taste of it! She knows where her place is! It's by my side and with the Deihu… with her BLOOD… and there's nothing that can change that!"

Listening, Dox's face was green with a barely contained rage at the woman that intensified every time she heard the word 'apprentice'. In that moment, she wanted nothing more than to reach down, pick up her swords and kill Rendal there and then. But instead, she did everything she could do to keep herself calm... and wait.

That was when Enalia, in her infinite wisdom, did one of the most piratical things she could possibly have done. Pulling out one of her phase pistols she had hidden at the small of her back, she leveled it on Rendal at a 45 degree angle. "To quote the dying words of my dear, departed grandmother... Krell off, you petaQ'." She then fired twice into the chest of the Royal Riov, the blue stun bolts knocking the woman to the ground unconscious. "Okay, time to collect our toys and move out, people."

Watching, t'Suil's eyes went wide as she thought quickly. "Centurions! Weapons on the Deihu!" She shouted at the two guards still surrounding Dox's grandmother as they brought their disruptors to bear on the captive Senator. "Leave now as my Riov allowed... or your Lieutenant's Grandmother will be..."

But the arrogant erei'Riov was cut off as the phaser canons of the hovering cyclones sent out a trio of wide stun beams. effectively rendering every remaining Romulan on the platform safely unconscious, including t'Suil, the centurions, and Mnhei'sahe's grandmother.

“Never try starting a hostage negotiation with a girl who has 3 starfighters equipped with stun weapons, who's been waiting months to deal with a situation, and has no time nor patience for your crap,” came the voice from the Scorpions hovering overhead in ‘overwatch’ mode, protecting the scene and keeping everyone covered. “Mister Sonak, would you be so kind as to verify Miss and Mrs. Dox’s identities for us, so we can be on our way?”

The unspoken part of that statement was not only to verify that this was indeed their kidnapped people but that they were not brainwashed to turn on her rescuers. Given how the plan had played out, the last thing Rita wanted to do was engage a Manchurian Candidate Dox in a dogfight in one of their own escape craft, in the skies over Romulus.

To Be Continued…


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