((Field Hospital, Darime Colony))
Sevo: D-did anyone get the registry number of that starship?!
Loxley: I’d suggest keeping your head down, Commander.
The Vulcanoid, enraged and (hopefully) injured now, roared again, picking up a crate and hurling it at Piravao. With Ayiana clearly not mentally present and objects flying around the tent, this was not a good place for anyone to be right now. Piravao ducked the crate and jabbed at the man with the splintered end of the pole. Impressively, he avoided her latest strike. She was forced to roll to the side as another crate sailed through the air.
sh’Qynallahr: Watch out!
As her colleagues moved about behind her, Piravao struck again, catching the Vulcanoid on the same ear as before. Dimily she noted the trail of green blood leaking from the ear as she was forced to avoid another wild swing. A very wild swing which left the Vulcanoid overbalanced for a moment, perhaps her repeated blows were taking their toll on him. Her antennae perked up as she noted this. Balancing lightly on the balls of her feet, Piravao waited for her opponent to move again. Rage against serenity, wild swings against calculated strikes.
sh’Qynallahr: Someone grab a phaser and get ready!
Sevo: Hehe, lookityou! Poked by a blueberry with a broomstick! Bluuuueberry broomstick. Bluestick.! ::Why were her ears still ringing? ::
The Vulcanoid swung at her again, and Piravao ducked under his blow. As she came up, she jabbed at him again, catching him in the throat. He stumbled backwards with a stangled grunt, one hand moving to cup his throat. Pressing her advantage Piravao struck again, catching him in the gut and causing him to double over. Slipping behind him Piravao jabbed the back of his knee, forcing him to crash heavily to the ground.
To his credit, the Vulcanoid started to rise, slowly and gasping for air.
In a formal duel, or even a training spar, the bout would be over. To strike again would be seen as dishonourable, and it was something Piravao would never consider. But this was not a duel, nor was she sparring. This was life and death. Dueling rules went out the window, sparring was not relevant here. In a real fight, you fought dirty, you aimed for soft spots, you went for the eyes and you performed moves which would be considered illegal in a ruled duel. In a real fight, kicking a man while he was down was the best way to ensure he did not get back up.
Piravao lowered the boom handle and bowed her head. He had been a dangerous foe, and while she could have given him an honourable fight, now was not the time for that. The fight needed to end.
Piravao: Stun him.
Marshall: Phaser won’t do much good here. We’re going to need something stronger.
Sevo: Hit ‘im with your broom again!
She did. Not out of some perverse desire to further injure the man, but to keep him down. His movements were slow, strained. A swift crack on his wrist caused the man to collapse with another grunt. Off to the side, Piravao saw Loxley throw something to her. Almost effortlessly she caught the small object. A hypospray. Her antennae flicked in his direction, seeking an explanation.
Loxley: Here! Axonol, dose him up and that should go some way to negating the stimulant in his system. He’ll stay down this time. ::he glanced at the Mission Specialist beside him:: It might help with your pain, too.
Sevo: Pain? :: Wincing. :: What pain? :: She cringed as a spike of pain emanated from her chest. :: Ooh. That pain.
Before the Vulcanoid had the chance to try get up again, Piravao knelt beside him and pressed the hypospray to his neck. There was a familiar hiss, and she saw the man relax. The stiffness in his limbs faded away and the snarl vanished from his face. A moment later, with a soft moan, he collapsed forward and stopped moving. A quick check confirmed that he was still alive.
sh’Qynallahr: He’s out.
Marshall: Nice work, both of you. Not the encounter we wanted to have tonight, but it’s the encounter we got. ::She swallowed, looking to Ayiana with concern crossing through her features.:: Ayiana, you alright in there? Got room for another Purple Heart on your ribbon rack?
Sevo: I’m fine...Doc will wave a light over me. Do let me know when the room stops spinning, though.
Marshall: Can we get a clearer picture of who this is now? We know it’s not Lieutenant Adan.
Sevo: Do you know who this is then? I can tell you, he’s no pure Vulcan. They have three times the strength of a Trill, and that toss felt like a ten.
sh’Qynallahr: It could have been the drugs, this cryptobiolin seems to be quite potent.
Piravao moved aside as Loxley approached with his tricorder. It only took a few moments before the device gave a cheerful beep.
Loxley: Well, he’s not Vulcan. Not fully, anyway. He’s a hybrid, Vulcan-Arcadian, I’ve never seen one before. He’s also not exactly infected, as such.
Piravao’s antennae sloped forward. Arcadian? She had met a couple of them during her time as a Ranger. This man did not look very Arcadian, though his physical size was very reminiscent of the few she had met, and it would explain the strength of the man.
Marshall: Arcadian? ::The hooked eyebrow turned into a double of surprise.:: Would account for the sheer size of him but the skin colour? Where did that kind of hybrid spring into being?
Sevo: G-genetic modification? :: A flare of pain radiated from her arm. She quickly touched the spot, sending another wave of pain, indicating it was very tender. A bruise was probably forming there beneath her sleeve. :: And what do you mean, “not exactly infected?”
Loxley: The scan detected the diseased cells sure enough, but look.
The Doctor turned his tricorder to face the rest of the group. Piravao appreciated the gesture, allowing them to interpret the information for themselves. Unfortunately, Piravao had no idea what anything on that screen meant.
Loxley: Our friend has a Pelian thymus, and there’s no way that evolved by accident. It would explain the cervaline in his system. It looks like it was recently implanted. It's not even connected to the rest of his immune system.
Marshall: You mean… he’s recently, as in very recently, had a transplant of a Pelian organ into his body. Voluntarily.
Sevo: :: The name coming back to her. :: He’s a Trojan Horse.
sh’Qynallahr: What in the name of Uzaveh would inspire someone to purposefully give themselves a diseased organ?
Loxley: My best guess is that it’s a rather unorthodox way of smuggling a sample of the disease. He just needed to inject his Pelian organ with a dose of the nanites or whatever and then get somewhere to have them removed before they killed his purloined Pelian thymus.
Marshall: Huh. ::Her brow twitched again.:: But where the hell would he get a Pelian thymus? That’s a very specific surgery, Doc. It’s not like whipping off a finger.
Sevo: :: The image was amusing. :: Hehe. *wince* Ow.
sh’Qynallahr: He would have needed time, and an accomplice. I don’t imagine he could have done the implantation on his own.
Marshall: So, taking this all into account, we’ve had the medical facility we were supposed to set up sabotaged, ::she counted them off on her fingers,:: then we were ambushed and assaulted by shock troops stealing the data from the Romulan devices, then we’ve had this fellow hiding among the Starfleet crew try to steal it again. What goddamn reason do they want with it?
Sevo: I still say they want to figure out how to replicate and control it. And stop anyone else from developing a cure.
sh’Qynallahr: It would make for a dangerous bio-weapon if they could figure it out.
Marshall: That’s assuming this is someone other than the Romulans, or the Pelians, for that matter. Romulans have been the primary source of medical care while we’ve been here and would lose out on access to the infected Pelians, or at least the glut of them if the second medical facility were to be built. On the other hand, we’ve got the Pelians, and this new or old knowledge of a new or old ancient disease, suddenly under scrutiny.
Sevo: This might sound surprising coming from me, and could be the concussion, but I don’t think it’s the Romulans. What would they have to gain from it? They’ve been here for over a decade, and the Pelians insist they’ve been nothing but neighborly. I don’t see the Pelians as the culprits, either.
sh’Qynallahr: I agree with Commander Sevo. Neither side gains anything from this. There has to be a third party involved in this.
Marshall: Is there any chance we could find out where the organ is from originally? Will it have DNA biotrace markers we can deduce? I’m thinking if it belonged to someone recently dead, or missing…
Sevo: Lox can check that, but I’d have to be able to connect to the Pelian central database to check medical records, and that’s unlikely given the storm. Could the Gorkon help with that somehow?
sh’Qynallahr: Unlikely, the storm makes it difficult to get a stable connection.
Sevo: How about that Pelian organ in him? We need to contain or neutralize it so its payload doesn’t get loose.
sh’Qynallahr: If he can’t go anywhere, neither can the organ. He’s out cold right now, so we have some time to come up with a solution.
Sevo: Here’s a crazy idea; what if this guy isn’t the saboteur? With that chemical cocktail in him, he didn’t look very cognizant. What if he was just the guard dog...or the distraction?
sh’Qynallahr: Unless it were a very recent implant. Doctor, could it have been done between now and the earlier attack?
sh’Qynallahr: He was rushing, as though a controller retasked him to steal the new data, something which was not in their original plan.
But who could they be? The attackers in the shuttle had been Andorian (or at least one of them had been), the man they had just captured was a Vulcan-Arcadian hybrid. The Romulans and Pelians were both unlikely suspects. With the presence of the hybrid, Piravao doubted it was an Imperial Guard operation, her government would be unlikely to use operatives not of the Guard, and non-Andorians were almost unheard of in the Guard. It could be a Federation operation, Starfleet was one of the few organisations where you could find multiple species working together in close proximity. The only other place that was likely to happen was in pirate crews, or...
sh’Qynallahr: The Orion Syndicate. We know they have a presence in this sector, it wouldn’t be beyond them to try and steal this information, weaponise it, and sell it to the highest bidder. They aren’t picky about who works for them, as long as they are loyal, Andorians, Orions, Nausicaans, even uncommon Hybrids can find a place in their ranks.
Lieutenant Piravao sh’Qynallahr