The tall Orion woman in full Klingon battle dress stepped off of the transporter pad and took in her surroundings.
“That’s the name they gave me, Commander…?”
“Nereda. I’ll be your liaison here while you work with us. Welcome to New Khitomer Station.”
Drij smiled at the Cardassian Starfleet officer waiting for her. “Thanks… looks bigger than it did in the holos. Too bad the Krenim had to come in here and shoot the place up.”
“Nothing we can’t fix, in time. If you’ll follow me, we can get started.”
Drij nodded and walked along with Nereda as they moved through the main hall of New Khitomer station. Damage from the recent attack was heavy; the repair teams had their work cut out for them.
“Looks like they really hit this place hard,” Drij mused as she pointed at a partially-collapsed support column. “And not just the Krenim, either… those are Breen cryo blast points, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Good eye,” replied Nereda. “Some Krenim had the nerve to take the Breen Ambassador hostage during the attack. He was less than amused.”
“Ouch. I take it a Klingon was involved as well,” Drij pointed at an array of disruptor scorch marks on a nearby wall.
“That would be the Federation Ambassador to Qo’noS. I heard the two of them had a wager as to who would take down the most Krenim.”
“Any idea who won?”
“No, but I can tell you who lost - the Krenim.”
“Heh! I’d be surprised otherwise!”
Nereda stopped before a door and pressed the access chime. After a moment, the voice of her commanding officer came through the door speaker.
“Come.” With that, the doors parted before the two women. Nereda smiled at the Orion and gestured inward. “After you, Commander.”
Drij walked into the small office suite and stood at attention before the desk within. “Commander Drij, KDF Special Security Division, reporting as ordered… sir.” The man behind the desk looked up from a series of holo-readouts and stood to greet the new arrival.
“Captain Ben Walker, Starfleet Temporal Operations,” Walker shook the hand offered by Drij with a slight smile. “Thank you for making the trip out to New Khitomer, Commander… I know it’s not a quick hop from Qo’noS.”
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad, Captain,” Drij took a seat next to Nereda in front of Walker’s desk. “My first time through the wormhole, actually. Breathtaking view, though my stomach wasn’t as fond of it as my eyes were.”
“Have the same problem myself,” Nereda said with a grimace. “The Bajorans have a great remedy for it though. Remind me before you head back, I’ll set you up with a ration of it.”
“Most kind, Commander. I’ll trade you for some raktajino; I hear the good stuff is hard to get out here in Gamma.”
Nereda grinned at Walker. “I like her already.”
Walker nodded in reply. “Commander, I take it you’ve been briefed on the recent incident. You’ve been assigned here as part of a task force formed in the aftermath. Specifically, because of your particular knowledge in Na’kuhl matters.”
“Mm. I worked undercover on Qo’noS for two years as part of an operation that took down one of their criminal families there,” Drij replied. “Fair to say I know a few things about their less-than-lawful elements.”
“Glad to hear it,” said Walker. “What are your initial thoughts about their involvement with the attack on New Khitomer?”
“Well, it’s highly unlikely any of the Seven Families are involved,” said Drij. “Gamma’s way out of their zone of operations… no profit in it for them, and that’s before the Dominion and their harsh outlook on all things criminal factors in. No, they’re strictly Alpha and Beta Quadrant operators - where the Syndicate and the Ferengi aren’t in effect, of course.”
Nereda called up a holo-image of a stern male Na’kuhl. “What do you know about this charmer?” she asked.
“Ah, the infamous Major Vosk,” said Drij with a smile. “Visionary, freedom-fighter, and a true believer in Na’kuhl supremacy. Not above getting his hands dirty with the Families, either.”
“Oh? A high-ranking military officer, working with criminals?”
“It takes a lot of resources to keep a secret army operating. Vosk can’t rely on donations from law-abiding Na’kuhl, so… he’s turned to the Families. I hear he runs grey-market goods for them from time to time, along with the occasional strong-arm job when they need a little military-grade muscle.”
“Any ideas on why he’d be working with the Krenim?”
Drij gave it some thought for a moment. “That’s… a real good question. Money, probably. Word is that Vosk and his cronies have some secret project in the works that goes through latinum like gagh through a targ.”
“What about tech,” asked Nereda. “Both groups have a definite interest in time travel, the Na’kuhl in particular. Noye and the Krenim had some advanced temporal gear… maybe the Na’kuhl cut a deal with them for some of it?”
“Entirely possible,” Drij replied thoughtfully. “It’s no secret Vosk is obsessed with time. If this Noye had something that’d get him closer to his goals…”
“There could also be an enemy-of-my-enemy situation in play,” mused Walker. “Vosk has no love for the Federation, and it’s clear there are elements within the Krenim of a similar mindset.”
“Mmmaybe,” Drij said in response. “Though from what I’m seeing in this after-action report, if there was an alliance, it didn’t last long.”
Walker nodded in agreement. “That’s true. Several Na’kuhl ships wound up firing on Krenim vessels during the space battle that followed the ground incident. We’re still not sure why.”
“That’s something I can look into,” said Drij with a smirk. “Among other things… we’ve been concerned about Major Vosk’s little project for a while now, along with this hidden base of his.”
“Yeah. Word has it that Vosk’s forces operate from a very well-hidden starbase or station somewhere,” Drij’s smirk faded. “Some say it’s outside normal space… outside the timeline. Beyond the reach of any sensors out there, even experimental gear at Daystrom.”
Nereda whistled in response. “A base like that would be mighty appealing to the criminal element, wouldn’t you say, Commander?”
“Mighty appealing, indeed,” Drij said with a grin. “I’ll get to work on this right away… I’m dying to get to the bottom of all this.”
“So are we,” Walker said. “Nereda, if you would be so kind as to show Commander Drij to her workstation?”
“And a raktajino pot,” added Drij. “Unravelling criminal conspiracies is thirsty work, after all.”
Nereda chuckled. “I think that can be arranged. Follow me, Commander.”
Drij gave Walker a respectful nod as she stood to leave the office with Nereda.
“Oh, and don’t worry, Commander, ” she smiled at the other officer. “I’ll brew enough for two.”
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