((Field Hospital, Darime Colony))
Their assailant was down and out. Although they were learning that it wasn’t just the Starfleet uniform that was out of place on the man. His DNA showed up as a highly unusual hybrid combination of Vulcan and Arcadian – possibly natural, possibly not. And he was hiding someone else’s organ within his body.
Sevo: 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.
Lox could only shrug helplessly.
Sevo: :: 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.
Loxley: Definitely not, no. Most likely he would have been asleep for the procedure.
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.
Loxley: I agree. The aim of the efforts so far have been to get hold of the medical data. Or… ::he gestured to the slumbering form in front of them:: …a sample of the real thing. The sabotage could have been a distraction, or a way to delay us doing our own research?
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.
Loxley nodded, while turning his tricorder onto the Trill Commander. He should probably find out if she was likely to drop dead any time soon.
Loxley: You’ve managed not to break anything, Commander, but you have fractured a fair few bones, including your ocular orbit. And you’ve got a concussion, so let me know if you feel tired or nauseas. ::he faced the group:: So if people could please stop getting fractured, that would be appreciated. Don’t feel like you have to join their little club, Pira.
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.
Loxley: In theory, the nanites or whatever are still programmed for Pelian DNA meaning they are confined to that one organ. So every non-Pelian is just as safe as before. ::his copper-tinged features grimaced:: But this is an unusual situation, I don’t have enough data to say for definite.
His long fingers danced over the controls, focussing the scan on the implant.
Loxley: The state of the organ suggests it came from a female Pelian, middle-aged and in good health. Not much else I can tell you with nothing to compare the DNA to.
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?
Loxley: ::shaking his head:: The healing around it suggests 24 to 48 hours ago. Recent, but not that recent.
sh’Qynallahr: He was rushing, as though a controller retasked him to steal the new data, something which was not in their original plan.
Loxley: We already know that whoever is behind this has the resources to hire some pretty professional mercenaries. You’re right, I don’t think this guy was the one pulling the strings, especially as he would have needed a skilled surgeon to set him up. More likely his job was to get himself infected with the disease, judging by how he is, y'know, infected with the disease.
Pira seemed to be thinking for a moment before coming to a conclusion.
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.
Lox stayed quiet, trusting the security officer’s intel far more than his own. He knew the Syndicate had been all but eradicated several years ago. But, like a hydra, it had a nasty habit of sprouting new heads and supposedly it was making a very definite comeback under new leadership.
Loxley: I was thinking, our friend here wouldn’t have found it too hard to blend in. When the outbreak occurred, the Romulans sent medical staff from clinics across the colony. A lot of these medics had likely never met before. I don’t know if that was the same as the construction crews? Disguising himself as a Romulan wouldn’t have been difficult, especially if everyone was very focussed on the disease.
Loxley: We can wake him up for a few questions any time you like. But I suggest waiting a little until the stimulants have left his system, and making sure he doesn’t have any more doses hidden away.
Loxley: Do you think he was receiving his orders remotely? Or in person? I’m hoping the former, because the other option means we still have someone in the compound with us.
Loxley: So what's our next step? And how long until this storm clears? We still need to contact the other teams, let them know they could be in trouble.
Although he said 'other teams' what he meant was 'Corliss Fortune'.
Lt (jg) Loxley