A Mirror Shatter #159 #160 "Tiger tiger burning bright."

[ON:] [Jeffries Tubes, U.S.S. Pegasus]

Sulan crawled up the ladder, moving to the next deck. She was covered in dust and grime, with an open tricorder clipped to her belt. It emitted a low steady keening, indicating no theta radiation. She was growing weary. No matter how hard she tried to fight it, being stuck in a cell had made her muscles weak....

Petrova followed behind Sulan, getting a very good view of the Vulcan woman's rear. She wasn't allowing Sulan to carry a phaser right now - she still didn't trust the woman completely, despite the good doctor's assurances that he has the problem licked. "Are you finding anything yet?" She called out to the Vulcan in front of her. "We've been searching for a while already."

Sulan's muscles had begun to tremble. Her foot slipped off a rung of the ladder. Only her quick reflexes in grabbing the next rung had stopped her from plummeting to her death. "Perhaps... We should... check the central hub next." she used the excuse of searching the central hub as a reason to rest. Though she tried to hide it, the weariness had bled into her voice.

The Russian woman narrowed her eyes a bit, picking up the weariness in Sulan's voice, but she didn't say anything about it, knowing the Vulcan's pride would never admit to being so exhausted. "Lead the way." She said instead, matter-of-factly, as she followed the other woman. "By the way, you never told me how you know so much about these people."

Sulan climbed higher, moving carefully into the central hub as she moved off the rungs of the ladder and into the small octagonal room. She was in the most dangerous area. If they were anywhere, they'd be here. Each tunnel on each wall was closed and sealed. The layer of dust undisturbed. Strange. There should be signs of them by now... "They were former associates." Sulan said carefully to Petrova's question. Sulan moved to a tunnel door control. The fine dust was unmarred. The indicator black and lifeless, with no sign of use. Sulan sat, waiting for Petrova, Miller, and Rodriguez to climb up and join her.

Petrova emerged first, followed by Miller, and finally Rodriguez/ The XO sat down, looking around a bit. "Associates, huh .. In what way ?" Looking at Sulan again. The two security officers took up a flanking position.

Sulan continued to sit, stalling for time, and rest. "In the same way LaBrie is your associate, I'd assume." She tried to change the subject. "I am beginning to doubt their residency on board this vessel though." She said quietly.

You are trying to change the subject, Lieutenant." Petrova spoke simply, but let it rest at that. She sighed and opened her mouth to speak again, when her comm badge went off. =/\= Gray to Commander Petrova. =/\=

Kristiana recognized the voice of Crewman Mark Gray, an engineering officer under Kitty Black. =/\= Petrova here, go ahead, crewman. =/\= She replied.

=/\= We've finished analyzing Lieutenant O'Driscoll's console, ma'am. The explosion happened because of mechanical failing, we could find no evidence of sabotage. =/\= Gray responded.

Petrova frowned a bit. =/\= .. Understood. Petrova out. =/\= She sighed softly, turning to look at Sulan again.

"What of the poisoning?" Sulan asked incredulously.

"They're still working on that, analyzing it, but I don't think we'll have to wait long for their report." Petrova answered tiredly.

"Shall we continue the search?" She ran a hand through her hair, feeling the cortical stimulator.

"Of course. Better to be safe than sorry, Sulan." Petrova nodded. "First lesson of security. Let's go." as she stretched a bit and made ready to follow the Vulcan woman again. <tag> "Understood." She fought the urge to sigh as she pulled down the ladder to move to the next deck.

Petrova followed Sulan again, with Miller and Rodriguez in tow. She was poised, ready for action, ready to fight to defend her ship and her crew. The news that the console explosion wasn't caused by sabotage was good news, sure, but it only made her more annoyed.

As Sulan climbed higher, the tricorder began to beep slowly at first, and then more rapidly. "Miller, Rodriguez. Ready weapons." She said tightly.

They glanced at each other, then at Petrova for confirmation. Kristiana sneered "You heard the lady." and readied her own phaser, as did the Russian woman. She approached Sulan to hear what the Vulcan woman was finding

Sulan climbed more quickly, weariness forgotten. "Josh, if your there I was you to know that you can surrender to me. I... I'm not like I was back then. I regret my actions at Sigma Six..." The beeping was almost steady now. They should have been right on top of the beta team by now. Sulan saw a small flash of white near her. "Ah... There it is..."

Kristiana edged to the side a bit, motioning Miller to the other side and Rodriguez to cover them both, as she quickly scanned the area with her eyes. ".. What are you seeing, Sulan ?" She asked, eyes narrowed, phaser ready.

"There is a small leak in the nearby energy conduit. It appears to be the source of the theta radiation. I will make a note of it, and order a repair crew to service it." She said dryly.

Petrova cursed in Russian, lowering her phaser. ".. We've been on a wild goose chase, the whole time ?" She asked Sulan, irritation in her voice.

"Yes, it appears so, Commander." Sulan said simply, without further explanation. "Shall we end the search?"

"Hold on a second." Petrova spoke, before tapping her comm badge. =/\= Commander Petrova to Crewman Brown. Any word on the replicator, yet ? =/\=

Sulan stared at the arcing power conduit, as the brilliant flashes made her pupils dilate. All that work, for naught. She'd nearly given away a secret, trying to negotiate with air. Perhaps being around humans was affecting her judgment more than she realized? She looked down at petrova. A simple kick would send all three to their deaths. She could say that they had fallen, Petrova slipping and taking Miller and Rodriguez with her... She blinks silencing the thought. Such actions were proving to be no longer necessary. This was Starfleet not 31...

=/\= Brown here, Ma'am. Just finished. The replicator isn't poisoned, something else must've happened. =/\= Crewman Brown's voice spoke over the comm badge.

Kristiana sighed. =/\= .. Alright, thank you, Crewman. Petrova out. =/\= As she rubbed her temples a bit. Was she getting paranoid ? Was Sulan's attack on her affecting her more than she admitted ? ".. Alright, that's it, we go back."

<The first duty of an operative is to protect her position. Which are you, Operative, or Officer?> Sulan shook her head slightly. "I'm sorry Commander, but what did you say? My mind wandered a bit."

Petrova glared at Sulan. "A good security officer is always on top of things, Sulan. I said we're going back. The replicator wasn't poisoned, either." She narrowed eyes a bit and approached Sulan, looking straight at the Vulcan woman. ".. What is your duty, Lieutenant ? Tell me. Now."

"You know my duty as well as I, Ma'am. Now then, might I recommend a site-to-site transport? It would save a great deal of time."

Petrova's eyes narrowed. She didn't have time for these games. "I Asked You A Question, Lieutenant." she spoke, her voice grim. She had pondered letting Sulan go free again, with a certain few precautions, but if the Vulcan didn't show Right Now, Right There, that she understood her subordinate position, Kristiana was going to toss her right back into that cell, without hesitation.

The leak continued to strobe, illuminating Sulan's face. Just as a similar effect had, in her quarters on that day. She was silent for a moment. "My duty is to you -my immediate superior- and this vessel at large. I cannot help but believe you doubt this fact." She said smoothly.

Petrova nodded. "Good. Alright, here's what we're going to do. The doctor tells me that as long as you take those regular hypo injections, you'll be able to function. And I'm going to trust him in that. I'm going to let you go free .. Under a few conditions." <tag>

"Conditions? Name them. Though I warn you, I cannot grant you special favors." She said seriously. <Impressive.> Sulan thought. <Trying to secure my loyalty against other crewmembers. It is what I'd have done in her position as well.> Sulan waits, wondering what she would ask of her. <Death of a hated crewman perhaps? No. That would be unlike her. Blackmail? Perhaps.>

"One .. Although you are free to move across the ship again, this does not mean you are back on active duty. You can work with the security officers, but they are not obliged to follow your orders, not until we clear you for duty again. Secondly, you are as of now no longer cleared to carry weapons, of any kind." Petrova looked hard at Sulan, as she continued. "Third and last .. You are to be escorted by an armed security officer at all times, while outside of your quarters. Am I understood ?"

Sulan is surprised by this, though she shows no sign of it. "I do not agree. Why am I Chief of Security, if I cannot perform my duty? Better that we have this matter resolved fully, than have my position weakened by such measures." She says emotionlessly. "If there is to be an inquest, then let it be done, so I can continue with my duty."

".. That's just it, Sulan." Petrova explained. "You ceased being chief of security when you attacked me and I threw you into the brig. When we clear you for duty - that is, LaBrie, Black and myself, then you might be chief of security again. Right now, you are off duty, and will remain so until we agree that you are fit for duty again. See yourself as an .. advisor to the security team, until that time."

"I am confident in my innocence in this matter. I would rather face a court martial, than suffer such indignity, as to be made a mockery of." Sulan looked at her steadily. "Can you honestly say you would not do the same if our positions were reversed?"

"If our positions were reversed, Sulan, I would continue to serve the ship in the manner specified." Kristiana replied coldly, narrowing eyes again. "But now the choice is yours. Either you agree with my terms, or you go right back to your cell."

"That's just it, Petrova. I cannot serve the ship in the under the conditions you set. I will have my position fully restored, because I had not willingly done anything wrong. If it takes a trial to get it, so be it. If it take more time in the brig to get it, so be it."

Petrova sighed, shaking her head a bit. "I don't think you fully understand me, Sulan. The choice you make right now has no bearing on any trial or whatever. I'm giving you this choice because, quite frankly, I Need a good, capable officer, but I don't trust you enough yet to put you back on active duty. You are far, Far more use to me as advisor to the security team than in the brig. The court-martial will come, don't worry about that. But co-operating now, will help your case, and make it more likely that we'll clear you for active duty again, either at the court-martial, or before. If you go back to your cell, you can forget about all that. Do you understand ?" ~Stubborn-ass Vulcan~ she added quietly, in Russian.

"I will not be a Security Chief in name only. I will not be a toothless tiger, wearing the uniform, but lacking the power to enforce order."

"Very well." Petrova sighed. "Then, instead of a toothless tiger, you'll be a caged, toothless tiger, useless to me, and unable to protect your friend, O'Driscoll." As she motioned for Miller and Rodriguez to escort Sulan back to her cell.

She hesitates, but only for a moment. "Caged? Perhaps. Toothless? Never. I've made arrangements for O'Driscoll, I needn't fear for her safety now.." She looked at Miller and Rodriguez. Take me back to my cell, maggots." She said coldly, enjoying how they flinched at her words.

"You'll be as toothless inside as you'll be outside, Sulan." Petrova followed Sulan as the Vulcan was led away by her two maggots. "Just using your own words here."

"We shall see, Kristiana.... We shall see." The darkness had returned to her eyes, like a cloud passing across the sun.

A joint post by:

Executive Officer USS Pegasus "Can SOMEONE teach these blasted Vulcan's to CO-OPERATE ?!"


Telek Sulan Chief of Security "Tiger, tiger burning bright, in the forests of the night. What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?"