USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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A Force of Nature Like the Hand of God

Posted on Sat Feb 25th, 2017 @ 3:19am by Lieutenant Kazyah Linn

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Veloz Prime Facility - Director's Office
Timeline: Mission Day 68; 1242 hours

Saalkan steepled his fingers as he surveyed the landscape outside the executive suite that doubled as his office. The Cardassians held a unique view of spartan luxury that the Maquis had little improved upon, if at all. With that ragtag insurgency long since snuffed out, Veloz Prime seemed a fitting, fertile little plot of ground in which to germinate his grand design. Like the Terran mustard seed, most great things had humble origins.

The suite had been converted into an administrative office easily enough. More furnishings had been brought in than had been removed. A handful of art pieces adorned the walls and corner fixtures, though the obsidian desk in front of the floor to ceiling window dominated the main room. Saalkan sat in repose until the corridor sensors alerted him to an approaching figure. He stroked an ancient artifact with both hands before hiding it in the folds of his robes. Since arriving at Veloz Prime, he had abandoned his Starfleet uniform for more traditional Vulcan attire. He remained seated as he pressed a remote controller for the door.

"Ah, Kazyah Linn. Welcome to my sanctuary, my own threshold to Vorta Vor." Saalkan remained seated, though he raised his hands outward in reception. His loose sleeves gathered around his elbows. "Please, come sit and let us speak candidly."

Kaz entered the room silently, taking the seat that was offered to him.

Saalkan gestured toward the earthen pitcher and cups to the left side of his obsidian desktop. "Would you care for some water? It remains toxic for one of Cardassian blood, but refreshing and harmless for the likes of us."

"I would, thank you," Kaz replied, his eyes not following Saalkan as he moved. He wasn't exactly sure why he was called here, but he could only imagine that it wasn't good.

"Excellent." Saalkan poured water for them both and set one cup in front of Kazyah with a resounding clap against the desktop. "There's a chill in the air." He clapped his hands, and in a moment an Orion slave girl clad in a brown burlap robe entered the suite. Without a word, she moved toward a stone hearth and kindled a fire. She left as soon as it began to crackle, seemingly ignoring Saalkan's conversation with Kazyah.

"Time is precious, so I will not waste it." Saalkan drank from his cup to the last, then refilled it as he continued. "Tolan is not to be trusted, but this is news to no one. I suspect him of harboring Starfleet sympathies only marginally more than I do with you. However, you are not planning to oust me from my new home as is he. And..." Saalkan hesitated as if conflicted as to whether or not he ought to continue. "... he does not have the mind to appreciate what I could offer one such as you." His mouth curved upward into a smirk that did not touch the darkness in his eyes. "Would you care to hear more?"

Kaz's mouth curled into a half-smile to match Saalkan's. "I'm interested," he replied. Keeping it short and sweet was definitely in his best interest. Saalkan may not trust him, but the reverse was also true. Kaz didn't trust Saalkan as far as he could throw him. And he had to look out for himself above all.

"I do not have to tell you that the Consortium is on its way out," Saalkan began. "Oh, yes, there will likely be a remnant which bears the name, but it is poised to be a fraction of its former glory; a dying vestige of unrealized potential." Saalkan clicked his tongue and sipped more water. "We will maintain token affiliation while pursuing our own goals. It is thus that I do not begrudge your personal agenda that lies beyond the scope of our Consortium mandate, for I confess as much myself. What I will not forgive is subterfuge in favor of an agenda antithetical to my own, which brings us to the Suliban under my roof." The Vulcan rubbed his hands together before folding them into the sleeves of his robe.

"My proposal, Mr. Linn, is to align our personal interests in mutual defense against Mr. Tolan. You undoubtedly detect his intent to end your life as clearly as I do, and I have already made it clear that his posturing will not be tolerated in my presence. He thinks me unaware of his incursions among the rank and file of personnel at this facility. Make no mistake: I will purge the unworthy from among our numbers, for I have come too far to suffer a naive little Suliban to usurp my destiny through his delusional designs." Saalkan lowered his chin to stare down his nose at Kazyah. "In exchange for securing your loyalty during the purge, Mr. Linn, I will offer you my most precious gift."

"And that is?" Kaz asked, taking it all in.

"Life everlasting." Saalkan's eyes shot wide in fervent zeal. "It is the reason we are all here. It is the reason I ventured to the Gamma Quadrant and uplifted its fledgling criminal syndicate into the fetus of an empire that could have challenged the Dominion! That is has fallen apart around its own ears with my departure is of no concern to me. This very planet has seen the rise and fall of many--the Maquis, the Cardassians before them, and countless others to be sure. Eternal elements do not concern themselves with the passing of time or with the beings bound to it."

Saalkan closed his eyes but a moment, sniffing as though a scent lingered on the air. "Ah, yes. Though you descend from those who fled our home under the banner of the raptor and mingled with outliers, your katra distinguishes itself nonetheless."

The Vulcan opened his eyes and regarded Kazyah with a knowing look. "Vulcan blood cannot be denied. Look inward, Kazyah Linn. Feel the searing pain inside which yearns to burn forever, never to be extinguished." He slowly reached across the desk, leaning forward ever so slightly, and took Kazyah by the hand. "I know the torment you feel... the loss you suffered long ago for which you blame yourself. Let it not be in vain. Drink with me from the cup of immortality. Take vengeance against death. Let it quiver at the mention of your name, for ever and always. All I ask..." Saalkan released Kazyah's hand and resettled into his highback chair. "... is to aid me in the removal of my final obstruction. Will you join me?"

Kazyah sat there for a moment. He knew when his mind was being probed, even the weakest telepath knew when their mind was being invaded. The difference is, Kaz had the ability to resist. He had been trained by some of the strongest telepaths in his race. But this wasn't the time to hide behind walls and subterfuge. Hiding his mind would have only strengthened Saalkan's distrust of him. So he let him in. Not too much, not enough to give away his secrets. Just enough so that the Vulcan could see what he wanted to see, and taste what he wanted to taste.

"You make a convincing argument," Kaz said, suddenly missing the feel of the man's hand in his. There was a spark, the phantom of touch that lingered on his palm. "You...want me to kill Tolan," he said. "He's the one who stands in your way. He's the one who has the loyalty of the others. You're hoping that his destruction will sway them to your side, but you're also prepared to take them down as well if they don't."

Kaz adjusted himself in the chair, "I'm sure my past is no secret to you. A man of your talents, I'm sure, is even aware of my classified dealings within Starfleet Intelligence. Your puppy, Doqqu, is good. But he's a brute, a bull in a china shop, if you will. He lacks the grace and finesse to pull off this kind of job. He's good at security and defense, but he's no assassin. He's never brought down a person in a crowd without being seen. You were smart to come to me with this, Saalkan. I won't let you down."

Saalkan grinned wolfishly. "Splendid." The grin dropped from his face just as quickly as it was sprung. Saalkan closed his eyes and reached within the fold of his robe. "Just so we understand one another," he said, voice strained in concentration, eyes still closed. "I offer a taste of what is to come."
The Vulcan exhaled deeply as though punched in the gut, then gasped deeply. An even keel subsumed him, body and soul, before he shouted, "Behold!"

As he spoke, sight came to Kaz's eyes for the first time in almost twenty years. The overwhelming sensation hit Kaz like a ton of bricks and he immediately fell backwards causing him, and the chair he was sitting in, to tumble to the floor. Kaz screamed, he hands clutching his face as his eyes burned with a holy fire that he didn't understand and wasn't expecting.

The Vulcan sighed deeply and broke from his trance. "What I give, I can take away," he said. Kazyah's vision faded with the spoken words. "Serve me well, Kazyah Linn, and that will be only the beginning."

Kaz continued to lay on the ground, sobbing into his hands as he gasped for a breath. His body was shaking, uncontrollably, and though his mouth moved, no words could escape.

"Awakening can be painful at the beginning," Saalkan said, "but it does not last. It is but weakness leaving the body." He leaned back in his highback chair and steepled his fingers again. "The worst part is the withdrawal effects. This time tomorrow will be met with cravings of the spirit, for once you have tasted of athanasia's essence, nothing else will sate the desire for it."

Saalkan regarded Kazyah's writhing form in silence. When the man seemed to get his legs back under him, the Vulcan slowly nodded in measured approval. "I can give you the universe, Kazyah. Now you know that I am good for my word."

Kaz slowly sat up, resting his back against the chair that had fallen over. "Next time, give a man some warning," he said, still taking deep breaths.

"What do you think that was?" Saalkan turned grim, eyes narrowed. "Do not fail me, for soon there will be no corner of the galaxy beyond my reach."

"You don't have to worry about me," Kaz said, still sounding out of breath, but he was finally getting his bearings back. "The Suliban's as good as dead."

"Resplendent." Saalkan turned his chair around to face the exterior panorama. "Inform me as soon it is done."

"Of course." Kaz bowed slightly before he turned and walked out of the room.

 

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