(OOC: In my last version I had some of the flashback tags incorrect, with dialogue coming from the wrong person. Apologies for the repost!)
((Starfleet office, Ketar V))
The pressure of seven months of feeling the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders finally overwhelmed him.
Ch'chileth: (Sigh) Yes Ensign, it turns out there is a competitor. The Orion Syndicate. Using S-FIL-6 best practices, I formed a communications strategy and informed them of his activities. I was then told that they would “take care” of him.
Oshovir looked at Commander Illanos’ desk.
Blake: You signed the warrant for Illanos' death?
Ch'chileth: It appears they have their own set of best practices for competitor strategy and service delivery.
Teller: Holy S*&*....Ensign, I know you don't have any reason to trust us, but we need to get you out of here and into protective custody immediately. If the Orion Syndicate thinks you can link them to this crime, they'll come for you. I'm sure of it.
Vanlith: ::Quietly:: the corruption you have seen isn’t in any of the people I work with. But right now protective custody is the safest place even if you don’t trust my word on the corruption.
Ch'chileth: (To Char) I – I am not sure where to turn, Ensign.
Teller: Actually...wait. Maybe this is an opportunity. Odds are, the Syndicate would use the same asset to come after Ensign Ch'chileth here that they used to eliminate Illanos.
Vanlith: ::unsure and quiet:: w..where are you going with this?
Oshovir sat back in his chair, and wiped his eyes.
Ch'Chileth: I think I know where he’s going.
Teller: If the Syndicate knows that the Ensign here is talking to us, we may still have a chance to catch the murderer red handed. Ensign - do you still have a means of contacting the Syndicate?
He leant his elbow on his desk, and put his forehead in his hand. He sniffed through his nose, pondering the offer. He still didn’t know if the officers in front of him (minus the Ensign of course) were corrupt or not. Were they part of the Syndicate? Was this all part of a rouse? If so, and he said no… what would happen to him? Would they end his life, just like Illanos’ life was ended? His anxiety and paranoia had his thoughts tied up in knots, until he realised he had nothing to lose.
He reached into a drawer in his desk, a retrieved a small box. He pressed his index finger on to the small circle on the top, which glowed dark blue.
Ch'Chileth: Oshovir Ch'Chileth. Authorization Nine-Gamma-Eight-alpha.
He then pressed his thumb and forefinger on either side of the box. The circle faded to a light blue, before there was a “click” sound from the box, and the lid opened slightly. He lifted the lid all the way back, before retrieving a green hexagonal device that was glowing dull green. He placed the device on the desk.
Ch'Chileth: (Gesturing to device) Yes, I have a way of contacting the Syndicate.
Teller: Great. I realize that you don't have much reason to trust us right now, but I need you to believe me when I tell you we want the same thing - the truth. It's the first duty of every Starfleet officer, and something Armin abused flagrantly. I wish that piece of s&(* was still around to get tossed into a rehabilitation colony for the next century or so, but in lieu of that, I still want the person who killed him. Will you help us?
Vanlith: You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to Ensign Ch’chileth
The anger on the tall blonde officer’s face was obvious. She obviously didn’t agree with the Lieutenant’s suggestion. Just another tall person to boss him around.
Ch'Chileth: oO Well, not this time, tall person. Oo
Ch'Chileth: (Quietly) I appear to not have many options. (Staring at Blake) I will do it.
The Lieutenant smiled at him. Oshovir couldn’t muster the energy to return a smile.
Teller: Alright Ensign, here's what we're going to do....
((Late that evening, Starfleet Offices, Ketar V))
Despite the day’s coaching from the three Veritas officers who he was now starting to trust, and the contact he’d had with the Orion Syndicate who had promised to send someone to come and see him, they had been waiting for hours and hours. And so far…
((Flashback - Starfleet Offices, Ketar V – Two Months Earlier))
Illanos: (To Oshie) Hey! Employee of the month! (Looking at Console) I see you’ve applied to Starfleet HQ again for a transfer to a Starship. Fourth time’s a charm, hey? (Reading screen) “I have performed my duties in an exemplary fashion, and have put the ship build schedule back on track...”
Illanos chuckled and slapped his thigh. Oshovir, saying nothing, looked at his screen.
Illanos: You know I told them I don’t think you’re ready for a transfer. I tell you what, though. In the next six months or so, I’m gonna be out of here. Sitting on a beach somewhere, drinking Romulan Ale. One day I’ll just disappear. Then you can tell Starfleet all you want about me. I might even put a nice word in for you before I go, seeing you’re Employee of the Month every month here! Maybe I’ll even get an “Employee of the Month” plaque for you, Chilly! Ha! That’ll get you on to a Starship.
A transfer would allow him to get away from Illanos, and off Ketar V. Maybe even allow him to tell someone about Illanos.
Ch'Chileth: oO I hope he’s wrong, maybe this my transfer request will get approved… Oo
But it didn’t.
((Flashback - Starfleet Offices, Ketar V – Six Weeks Earlier))
With Illanos out of the office, Oshovir dictated his latest status report that was to head back to Starfleet HQ.
Ch'Chileth: //…as you can see from the attached analysis and latest audits, we are now tracking three days ahead of schedule. I have been thorough with my audits, and there are (sighing) no irregularities that I have discovered. However, a thorough analysis of the “deliverables and milestones tracking” report are highly recommended to ensure that Starfleet are confident that the contract will continue to be met by Livernois shipyards, on schedule. //
He hoped that last sentence would raise a flag to someone – anyone – in San Francisco that they should double check his reports. His life was in danger and he had to cover up Illanos activities in his reports, but he left very small breadcrumbs in them for an eyebrow to be raised if someone looked at the reports closely, which could eventually start an investigation.
The detail was small enough to be missed by Illanos, and he hoped It was big enough for an officer to pick up. And once someone at Starfleet HQ found the breadcrumb, which was his cry for help, they would send someone to free him from the situation he was in…
But they didn’t.
((Flashback - Starfleet Offices, Ketar V – Three Weeks Earlier))
Illanos: Hey, Chilly!
Oshovir clenched his jaw. Six-and-a-bit months was enough of this man. He had to do something. An idea formed in his head…
Illanos: Not sure you’ll ever get promoted. Imagine that! You’ll be the same as that (clicking fingers) what-his-name… Kim. (Pointing) “Forever Kim!” Ha!
That was the last straw… and the moment he decided it was time to act. If Starfleet weren’t thorough enough to review his reports and find small irregularities, his cries for help, then he would take matters into his own hands. Revenge was a dish best served cold. And as an Andorian, he knew the very definition of “cold”, better than a Klingon ever could.
Ch'Chileth: oO Who would want you out of the way… Oo
He had read reports about activity by the Orion Syndicate in the Shoals. They may be interested in what Illanos was up to. *They* may send someone to talk to Oshovir.
But they didn’t.
Instead, he was delivered a strange gem like device to communicate with them. The contact was clandestine. He didn’t even know the name of the person he was communicating with, and the contact was very infrequent. But he was assured that he and the Syndicate shared a mutual need to remove Illanos from his post. Oshovir didn’t ask questions as to how they would do that. He suspected anything from them reporting him to Starfleet, or maybe a kidnapping. He did consider the Syndicate might kill him. But he thought that unlikely.
How wrong he was.
With the three Starfleet Officers positioned around the room, he opened his desk drawer. The hexagonal device was not glowing green anymore. It looked as though it had been switched off. Had communication been cut?
As the events of the last few months ran through his head, his feeling of isolation was replaced with fear as he heard his office door open. He kept as calm as he could.
Ch'chileth: Wh-who is it?
The darkened figure entered the room. Suddenly, there was the sound of the door being locked shut behind the figure, followed by the high-pitched sound of a weapon being charged up. Oshovir held his breath, as the tall Starfleet Ranger spoke up.
Blake: I do hope that locker room shower was satisfying.
The man dropped a small package he’d been carrying and raised his hands. Oshovir stood up.
Ch'chileth: (Nervously) He’s got a weapon!
Blake: Gentlemen, meet the man who pinned a Starfleet officer's murder on an innocent Romulan. He works for the shipyards. And evidently, the Orion Syndicate.
The figure nervously jumped a little at the sound of Commander Blake’s voice.
Blake: Rama Suttirat, you are under arrest for the murder of Starfleet Commander Armin Illanos. I'm sure we can tie the death of Lukaik to you as well.
Unknown: Don't shoot! Don't shoot! I'm unarmed! You can scan me if you don't believe me.
Blake: You're not Rama Suttirat.
The officers patted him down, and then turned him around. He was wearing a uniform. A courier uniform. The syndicate seemed to have their fingers everywhere…
Unknown: Lady, I don’t know whom you’re talking about! I’m just here to deliver a package.
When Blake holstered her weapon, Oshovir slowly closed his eyes, and sank into his chair as his heart sank in his chest.
This man wasn’t from the Syndicate at all.
Ch'chileth: It’s just a courier. We get them all the time.
Delivery Man: Look, I just deliver the packages where they tell me. This one's for an “Ensign Ch'chileth.”
Ch'chileth: (Sighing, holding out hand, holding back tears) I’ll take it.
Delivery Man: So, uh, I can go now?
Blake: Yes--get the hell out of here.
Ch'chileth: (Head in hands, muffled) Well, I guess it’s New Zealand for me.
Delivery Man: ::nods as he holds up a PADD he took out from his pocket:: Um, you just need to sign here-
Blake’s stare at the delivery man could have put a whole through a Galaxy class ship. With its shields up.
Delivery Man: -uh, you know what? Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.
The delivery man promptly left. Oshovir knew then in his heart of hearts that there was going to be no visit from the Syndicate. They had dropped him like a low priority project risk item with a “minimal” impact rating.
He kept his head in his hands, as he closed his eyes and listened to the three officers speak.
Blake: It's not a bomb, is it?
The box was placed on the desk. Oshovir looked through his fingers at what was in the bottom of the box.
An “Employee of the Month” plaque.
The last act of Illanos. The man was dead, and he was still laughing at Oshovir. He closed his eyes again, and began to weep.
He suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. He stood up, and felt cuffs being placed on his wrist.
Blake: Ensign Ch'chileth, as the Starfleet Ranger patrolling this area, I hereby place you under arrest for solicitation of the Orion Syndicate.
He simply nodded. He took one last look around the office, before he looked over his shoulder at Blake. His Starfleet career was over, he knew it. New Zealand was a nice place, he had visited there with his family once on their annual trips to the Sol system. It wasn’t all bad.
He looked at Ensign Vanlith, and through his glistening eyes he somehow managed a very small smile. And, at that moment he realised that finally…
Relief washed over him. It was all over.
Blake: =/\= Blake to Veritas. Four to beam up. =/\=
[End scene for Oshie!]
Ensign Oshovir “Oshie” Ch'chileth
Starfleet Liaison, Livernois Shipyards, Ketar V