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First Mission, Part One

Posted on Jan 31, 2017 @ 5:25am by Chloe Nielsen
Edited on on Jan 31, 2017 @ 5:26am

Mission: Section 31

“First Mission, Part I”

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, EARTH
SD: [2.17] 0114.1249
Scene: Bedroom, Chloe’s apartment

A loud, beeping sound broke the silence in the dark room. Chloe Nielsen sat up, an alarmed expression as she glanced around the room and spotted a flashing light on her computer screen. Chloe hopped off the bed and walked to her desk, where the computer console sat. She bent forward to glance at the screen and found she had received a message. Chloe read the message, displayed in bright yellow.

After reading the message, she groaned, taking a quick glance at the chronometer, which showed the time was 0655 hrs and it was still dark outside – the sun not due to rise for another hour. The message instructed her to go to a location in downtown right now. So the prank wasn’t over, she thought with mild annoyance and they had to wake her so early, not that Chloe wasn’t a morning person. She was, having taken long walks or jogs at that hour. Just not that day – she had planned on sleeping in, considering she was out late, past 2am by the lake the previous night. Sure, lack of sleep was something she was used to as a former Starfleet intelligence field agent. But right now, she was not an agent, since SFI fired her, so there was really no need to have less sleep.

“Fine, I’ll go,” she said, letting out an exasperated sigh, followed by a wry grin. “Maybe it’s their big finale.” She headed to her closet and pulled some clothes off the hangers.

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Scene: Underground subway station

Chloe walked down the old, worn out steps that led to an underground train station, known as a subway below the intersection of Bloor and Yonge streets. Now abandoned for over four centuries, this particular subway station was one of the busiest with thousands of people, travelling from one part of the city to another, bunched up close together in those train cars. Hardly anyone ventured underground in the city, now, besides those desiring to do something shady or a drunk accidently stumbling upon the entrance and wind up waking up, leaning against a wall at the bottom of the stairs.

It was still dark outside, the sun set to rise in the next ten minutes. An unusual time to play a prank, even for an intelligence agent, who tend to work at odd hours. She wouldn’t have bothered to come, had they not mentioned her code name in the message, information no one besides a select few in the intelligence community possessed. So she had a good idea as to the culprits behind the prank. She strolled on the platform, waving her thin, pen light around the dark and quiet area and stopped, when the light fixed on a steel grey wall– a relic from a long, bygone era.

A tiny piece of paper materialized in her hand. Chloe raised an eyebrow as she unfolded the paper and read the contents. **Open the door to the car in front of you. ** The former SFI officer chuckled. “I suppose the prankster is going to jump out of that train and the prank is over.” She approached the double doors, which opened instantly, puzzling the blonde woman. Someone was remotely controlling the train, which she was sure didn’t work anymore.

“Okay, I’ll still play along.” She grinned, sliding one foot inside and then the other one until she was standing in the train. No one showed up yet. “Seriously, come on, how long can you keep this up.” The doors closed behind her. Chloe turned on her heels and narrowed her eyes.

The lights turned on. The Canadian squinted her eyes, in order to adjust to the brightness. She stood in the middle of a corridor, surrounded by seats on both sides with mostly red and a few blue cushions attached to them. Another piece of paper materialized amidst her fingers. Chloe groaned, this prank was getting annoying. She unfolded the paper and her expression filled with disbelief. **Touch near the stained seat to your left. ** Chloe shook her head, glaring at the words as if they were mocking her. Her eyes shifted to the left, then downwards, until stopped at a dark, shapeless, patch, likely to be very old, like centuries old. Gross. Someone, over four hundred years ago, spilled some drink or worse and no one bothered to remove the stain just before the subway trains were abandoned.

“Oh whatever.” Chloe rolled her eyes, lifting her foot up on the seat, tapping the area with her boot, next to the stain – she was certainly not going to touch it with her hand, snug inside a dark grey glove. The seat slid to the right, surprising the blonde as her gaze fixed on the area that used to be the stained seat, now a gaping hole. A small, computer console with a built in screen rose through the hole. The blank grey screen flickered to a white Starfleet symbol with 31 in the centre on a black background. The Canadian raised an eyebrow. She had never seen that insignia before and wore a confused expression.

The screen shifted again from the strange insignia to a chocolate brown skinned, human woman, wearing a black suit and a stern expression gracing her features. Her gaze was fixed intently on the former SFI agent. She was as still as a statue. Chloe couldn’t tell at first if she was a real person until the woman’s lips moved.

“Okay,” Chloe said, a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “So you must be a very devoted servant to volunteer yourself for this prank.”

In a deep voice, the woman began, her expression unchanged, {{Screech Owl, my name is Georgia Campbell, administrator for Section 31. Before I go on, I ought to let you that holographic emitters are placed in this train so they project a dark, empty car to anyone that come your way.}} She paused, not taking her eyes off the blonde woman, who gave her a rather skeptical look. {{Anyway, Section 31 is…}}

“You have got to be kidding me,” Chloe interrupted. “I’ve never even heard of Section 31. What are you playing at here?”

Georgia said in a flat tone, {{Of course you haven’t. You didn’t have the security clearance…until now.}} She then added, a hint of irritation in her voice, {{And just to be clear, I don’t cut my sleep short and be up at 5 am just to play a prank.}}

“Well, at least we settled that question,” the blonde said with sarcasm. “And 5 am, I’m guessing you’re either lying or you’re somewhere on the west coast.”

{{San Francisco, SFI HQ,}} Campbell said promptly, pursing her lips into a thin line.

“So, Miss…Campbell, if that’s your real name,” Chloe began, a look of suspicion in her eyes. “What is Section 31? Does it have something to do with SFI? Or is it all one big joke?” She gave the woman on the screen a fixed stare.

{{It’s *no* joke. I don’t lose my sleep hours for a joke,}} Georgia said in a matter of fact tone. {{I’m patching you through to Director Selyara Chen, who will brief you about Section 31.}} The screen flickered to an image of a woman with long, flowing dark hair, tied in a top knot and hard eyes studying the former SFI officer in a calculating manner.

Selyara. Chloe recognized the name - the one who released the names of the Neo-Essentialists, serving in Starfleet. She was in prison for eight years and escaped.

The Director spoke in a calm and professional voice, {{Before I continue any further, I am sending you information that will help you verify that we are legitimate.}}

The screen split horizontally with Selyara’s image occupying the top half and rows of texts interspersed with few pictures in the bottom. Chloe’s expression blanched as she perused the document. She then looked up and met the hybrid’s gaze, which was as cool as a cucumber.

{{Now you see that Section 31 is real and is not a prank,}} Selyara said, not a hint of emotion in her voice.

Chloe nodded. “The document looks authentic to me.”

{{Good, now let’s get down to business.}} Selyara began providing the details of Section 31, including briefly explaining its sordid history, how it was now restructured under SFI’s authority and its purpose. {{I would like to recruit you into the program as one of my agents. You will be reporting directly to me. But remember, since Section 31 is still non-existent as far as the rest of the universe is concerned, including other intelligence personnel, your role as an agent will be kept secret from others, including your loved ones.}}

Chloe pondered for a moment, having trouble believing what Selyara just said to her. She was offered a chance to get back into the intelligence game in a similar capacity but under a different boss. “So you want to recruit me after the powers that be decided to fire me from Starfleet Intelligence?”

{{Yes,}} Selyara answered. {{I’m well aware of your record and that is one reason I am recruiting you in the first place and this is despite certain misdemeanours. Take the case with Dhillon, you were right, when others weren’t or were conspiring against you to protect him. If you were given just a little more time, you’d have been successful. Unfortunately that case also ended your career as a regular intelligence officer with the higher ups having to set an example to prevent others from breaking protocol.}}

One reason. Were there others? Chloe’s curiosity peeked. The offer seemed too good to be true. A second chance at intelligence but wondered if she should accept. What choice did she have? Take Selyara’s offer or start over in another Starfleet department, despite her rank as Lt. Commander or just quit. One thing was sure, Selyara was not David and not to be messed around.

{{So,}} Selyara said, raising an eyebrow. {{What’s your decision?}}

Chloe inhaled deeply, taking in the Director’s words and nodded. “Alright, I will accept your offer and become your agent.”

{{You made the right decision.}} Selyara’s lips curled slightly, a hint of a smile. In a professional tone, the Vulcan/Betazoid said, {{Now onto business. 72 hours ago, Captain Dhillon went missing.}} At the mention of the man, responsible for those miserable last three years, Nielsen’s expression darkened. {{When Starfleet Security went to USS COMMENDATION to take him into custody, he left in his personal shuttle. The individual, who tipped him off, has already been apprehended. Now as far as Dhillon’s crew are concerned, their Captain has gone on a personal leave and will return after a few days.”

Chloe said in a calm, yet in a voice betraying her displeasure, “Commander Nguyen said nothing of Dhillon’s escape, when he fired me from intelligence service.”

{{That’s because the job to apprehend Dhillon was handed over to Section 31.}} When Chloe didn’t say anything, Selyara continued, {{Two days ago, the shuttle was found abandoned, floating in space. We believe Dhillon hitched a ride with an ally. However, yesterday, I received a tip from an asset that he was spotted on VULCAN in a meeting with Phlozk, a well-known arms dealer that we have been tracking for some time in a private room at an upscale restaurant in the capital city. Three hours later, he was seen coming out of a branch of the Bank of Ferenginar with a large bag in tow, which we conclude, contained gold pressed latinum to pay off Phlozk. He then vanished and just an hour ago, resurfaced, carrying a box to the same bank.}} Taking on an even more serious tone, she said, {{Listen, Captain Dhillon has come into possession of a dangerous bio-weapon on behalf of a group we haven’t identified yet. We have yet to determine what they plan to do with the weapon. Your mission is to stop them through him by any means necessary. You can start by apprehending Dhillon and use him to get to the group.}}

Any means necessary. Was Selyara giving her carte blanche on handling the mission? Probably not. Life as a Section 31 agent was going to be different from what she was doing for over a decade. With the regular Starfleet Intelligence, the CO, not only gave out the mission, but established the plan as well. “Any means necessary?” she queried.

Selyara nodded. “Whatever it takes. Stop them at all costs and Dhillon is no victim as you already know.”

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Location: Shikahr, VULCAN
Scene: Hotel room
TI: A few days later

After a couple of days’ journey on a civilian transport, Chloe had arrived at her room in an upscale establishment without incident. The hotel was owned by a Ferengi conglomerate under the control of a group of very wealthy individuals of whom Phlozk was one of them – likely a legitimate business to use as cover for his weapons smuggling operation. Her luggage, comprising of a suitcase and a small bag, brought in by a concierge, who had this stupid grin on his face and was all too eager to help and set them by the wall. After tipping off the young man, who kept stealing glances at her and sending him on his way, Chloe removed her coat and dropped it over a chair.

She made her way across the room, which was in the low end as far as pricing was concerned in an already expensive hotel, to a large rectangular double window that curved at the top. She stared ahead at the vast desert on one side and the city on the other. It was in the afternoon, the orange sun visible from the zenith, scorching up the area surrounding the capital.

Chloe came to Vulcan as it was Dhillon’s last known location and it was possible he might still be there. But Vulcan was a large planet so the man could be anywhere or not at all. Even if he had left, Chloe could figure out where he went. During her trip, the Canadian woman spent most of her time, going through the information that Selyara through Campbell, provided such as details on Dhillon’s and Phlozk’s activities – apparently the former was acting as a representative for an unknown group to purchase the bioweapon from the Ferengi. There was hardly any information on the bioweapon, aside from a tidbit that a Virology and Molecular research lab at Starfleet Medical facility on Earth was broken into, over three weeks ago with some vials containing different virus vectors and chemicals stolen. Likely materials needed to build a bio-weapon, which the thieves handed to Phlozk for a hefty price and the Ferengi in turn sold the weapon to a different organization for an even higher price.

The agent turned away from the window towards her luggage. Grabbing her suitcase and bag, she placed them over the bed. Both contained not just clothes and her personal belongings but also Section 31 issued equipment. The first step of her plan was to visit the bank of Ferenginar and meet with an account executive, a Human/Risean hybrid named Zak Feron, whom Dhillon met. She planned on going undercover as a wealthy socialite, hence the fancy hotel room. She believed, from the files on the banker’s computer, she could glean information about Dhillon such as the object he stored in the locker there as well as the group he was representing.

She tilted her head sideways, her gaze on a complimentary basket on the dresser and reached out for a tiny, aqua coloured bottle with a gold cap. According to his profile in the Section 31 files, Feron had a huge weakness for beautiful (in his opinion) women so he’d go out of his way to please his female clients to get the chance to bed them, didn’t care if they were married or single. Some women obliged, others didn’t. The scent of a perfume generally got him flustered and distracted.

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Scene: Street -> Bank of Ferenginar

The planet Vulcan was different from Earth in a couple of factors – one, the climate was harsher than on Earth with the temperatures in the extremes due to the planet containing mostly deserts and mountain ranges with small pockets of water bodies. During the day, it was a lot hotter than on Earth, making it a little uncomfortable for the section 31 agent to stand outside the entrance to the bank, especially when she was wearing a pant suit.

With her cover as a wealthy socialite, Chloe adorned an expensive, navy blue suit over a white top and black shoes with low, flat heels. The agent wasn’t a big fan of high heels or stilettos and would avoid them if she could help it – they were difficult to walk in, uncomfortable and definitely unsuitable footwear for chasing someone or running away. Her blonde hair was let down above her shoulder. Around her wrist was a silver watch-like bracelet – with the use of chronometers to tell time, wrist watches were only used as a decorative accessory. In one hand, she was carrying a small, black purse. The clothes, shoes and other accessories were ordered from an expensive store and sent to her hotel room, while she was on route to Vulcan. Luckily, the store had a return policy so once Chloe was done with the items, she’d return them with the amount refunded as long as they weren’t damaged. Now Vulcan had a thinner atmosphere than Earth, allowing more ultra-violet radiation through and that came with detrimental effects on a non-Vulcan’s health, particularly the eyes. So Chloe, to protect her eyes rather than as part of her cover, put on sunglasses. Well, sunglasses were anyway part of her regular attire, not just for spy work.

She walked up the steps and through the doors into a large, opulent hallway with marble floors. A giant, golden statue of the current Grand Nagus stood in the middle of the room. Taking off the sunglasses, she approached the reception desk, where a young Ocampan woman sat, her gaze fixed on a computer screen and tapping her fingers on the console. Chloe cleared her throat to get the woman’s attention. The woman looked away from the screen and her mouth widened into a smile. “Yes ma’am, what can I do for you?”

Chloe informed in a polite tone, “I have an appointment with Mr. Zak Feron.”

“Hmm…let me see.” The Ocampan returned her attention to the computer screen and tapped a button on the console. “Name?”

“Wilhelmina Henstridge,” the agent replied.

The woman nodded, perusing her screen again and then smiled. “Yes, there you are.” She glanced up at the blonde. “I will let Mr. Feron know you have arrived. Please have a seat in the waiting room and he will be with you shortly.”

“Thank you.” Chloe nodded and headed through glass doors to a small seating area, comprising of a row of benches with reddish gold plush cushions on them. She took a seat on the corner of the bench, closest to the door.

A few minutes later, the account executive arrived, an average looking Human/Risean hybrid in his early thirties with well-combed short, brown hair, which was receding at the front. He stood at a height of 5’7” with a slight bulge in the mid-section. The banker wore a brown, well-pressed suit over a cream coloured shirt, a silver grey tie attached to his collar. He was immaculately well-dressed. “Ms. Henstridge,” Feron greeted, smiling, revealing his shiny, white teeth. “It is great to meet you.”

“Likewise, Mr. Feron,” Chloe said, returning the smile and stood up to shake his hand.

The banker inhaled deeply at the touch of her hand and took in the scent of her perfume. Feron was so taken in the moment that he forgot to remove his hand from her grasp. So Chloe did it for him, which brought him back to his senses. “Please, follow me,” he said, flustering a bit as the agent expected. They walked down a long corridor, where they stepped onto a lift, carrying them to the third floor. Chloe followed the banker through another hallway to his office. She waited, while Feron input his access codes on a tiny panel at the side of the doorway. The doors slid open and Zak stepped to the side, motioning the blonde woman to go ahead, which she obliged. Feron led her to a seating area: two sofas, a couch and a glass coffee table with the head of the current Nagus engraved on it. While he pointed her to the couch, Chloe took a seat on one of the sofas, knowing he had an ulterior motive for his choice of seating for her. Feron nodded, taking the other sofa, adjacent to hers.

Now, Feron was a slippery one, who, from his profile, cozied up to female clients – she noted the attempt to inch himself closer so that his knee would touch hers. Chloe adjusted herself in a position, where she was out of reach from his grubby little hands. A young, Trill woman entered his office and handed him a PADD. As she turned around, the banker patted her behind, leading to the woman increasing her pace as if she couldn’t wait to leave.

Chloe gave the banker a fixed stare at the display of blatant sexual harassment but she wasn’t surprised, after all this was a Ferengi bank. The Ferengi were known not to care for the well-being of women so regulations to prevent sexual misconduct or harassment were almost non-existent at Ferengi establishments. It was only a little more than half a century ago when Ferengi women were first allowed to wear clothing and leave the house. While women on Ferenginar had more rights now than before, there were still ways to go. Anyway, Chloe was on a mission and as much as she deplored the treatment of that Trill woman by Feron, she could not get involved, not when a dangerous man with a bio-weapon was loose.

When Zak returned his attention to her, the agent put on a mask by producing a friendly smile. Feron inquired, returning the smile, “So, Ms. Henstridge, how may I help you today?”

“Well,” Chloe answered, feigning an over the top friendly tone, “I’m here to open an account and you came highly recommended by my cousin’s uncle’s partner, who has done business with your bank.”

“Oh, what is his or her name?”

“Ah,” the blonde said, “I will have to ask my cousin’s uncle.”

Feron chuckled, leaning closer. “That’s okay. Anyway, you came to the right place. I will be very happy to open an account for you and we can go through a step by step process of doing that.” His grin was sly, which the agent noticed.

Placing her hand on his elbow, Chloe said, smiling, “I’d like you to take me to the lockers. I want to see how secure they are. See, I have this expensive item that I want safely stored. It’s a gift from my fiancé.”

Feron’s eyes lit up at the mention of fiancé, which Chloe expected, as apparently the less available the woman, the more desirable to him. “Of course, I will take you. But first, how about I discuss the various plans available and then I can show you the locker room.”

Oh no. Chloe had no plans to stay any longer than necessary with this perverted idiot. She moved her hand down his arm until stopping at the wrist. Her gesture flustered the Risean hybrid, whose cheeks flushed. “Actually, I’d like to see the lockers now.” She gently pressed on his lower arm.

“Okay,” he said, relenting at her touch, which, at the same time, got him excited. “I will happily do as you ask.” Getting up, he slowly released his arm from her grip, albeit quite reluctantly as if he didn’t want to lose the sensation of her touch. He smiled. “I just have to go to my superior to obtain the key code to the locker room and will be back in say five minutes, maybe ten, if my boss is busy.”

“Take all the time you need,” she said, smiling. The agent watched the banker leaving the room. She waited a minute after the doors closed to make sure he didn’t immediately return because he forgot something. Chloe lifted her purse and opened it. She pulled out a lipstick and twisted the gold cap clockwise. She felt some sort of sensation – it worked, yes that was no ordinary lipstick, it was a holo emitter. The device captured an image of her, seated in her current posture and projected it in the form of a hologram to run for five minutes and fool the security cam. Five minutes was all the time needed for the agent to finish her task.

Nielsen got up from the sofa and made her way to the black metallic desk with a glass covered top surface. At the centre of the desk, a computer console sat with a built in screen. Chloe rummaged through her purse and grabbed a small, metallic blue case. She opened the case and pulled out a data crystal. She inserted the crystal into a port by the console and lifted her gaze to the screen. The insignia of the Ferengi bank that was displayed on the screen soon flickered to a grey screen, where a tiny bar occupied the centre. The bar was dark grey, which was slowly turning green.

The downloading of all the files shouldn’t take more than a minute. In addition to the download, she was also uploading a software that would monitor his computer and alert her of any new incoming and outgoing communications. That should take no more than a few seconds. Sighing, she waited. The downloading was complete and now the uploading commenced. When it was complete, Chloe removed the crystal, returned it to its case, which was put back into her purse. Slowly, she stepped away from the desk and went to the sofa, where she waited for the banker to return.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Ms. Henstridge,” Feron said, beaming. “My boss gave me the key code to the locker room.” He extended his hand towards her. “Shall we go?”

“Actually,” Chloe said, giving him an apologetic smile and stood up. “I just remembered another meeting that I need to attend, so will have to cut this meeting short.” She turned around, heading for the doors.

“Oh of course,” Feron said, smiling, though his expression showed mild disappointment. “Please come again, when you are free and we can finish our discussion.”

“I will,” she said and departed from the room.

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Scene: Hotel room

It had been a few hours since her visit to the bank, night was approaching on this side of Vulcan. Chloe sighed, having spent the time perusing the information, obtained from Feron’s computer. She paced about the room, her gaze fixed on the screen of the small, portable computer console, which on the outside, resembled a case for women’s accessories. The case was a metallic purple in colour, thin and light enough to fit in a suitcase. The information contained mostly a list of transactions, Feron coordinated for various clients with the majority representing business entities.

However, one particular entity caught her interest, RR Farming Ltd, on whose behalf, Feron withdrew large amounts of gold pressed latinum within the last week and paid to Oooze Foods Inc., a company set up to act as a front for Phlozk’s illegal arms trade. In fact, there were numerous transactions RR Farming Ltd. was making with various other businesses, transferring gigantic amounts of credits, like in the millions.

Something seemed shady about RR Farming. The company was in existence for three weeks, though that shouldn’t be the only reason to arouse suspicions. However, it was the entities, RR Farming was trading with that made her suspicious. She noted a deal that Feron brokered on its behalf with a company called Loob Pharmaceuticals Inc., which she knew acted as one of the dummy companies for the Orion Syndicate, a fact known by SFI for a few years but for mysterious reasons, they hadn’t moved against the company. As the agent, who was assigned to infiltrate Loob Pharmaceuticals in 2426, she, through an asset, an employee of the company, found enough evidence to make arrests and was displeased when her bosses refused to act on the information.

A flashing light was spotted on the screen. An alert. Chloe leaned forward to check it out. A communique, sent by a man named Harry D. to Feron. It read, **Mr. Feron, I am coming tomorrow morning at 1015hrs to collect the item from locker #9-10223-34. Please have the keycode ready at the time of my arrival. Signed, Harry D., representative for RR Farming Ltd. ** Chloe produced a tiny smile. This was the opportunity to nab Dhillon.

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Scene: Café -> bridge
TI: Next morning

Chloe, seated at a table, outside a small café, fixed her gaze on the entrance to the bank, a few blocks down the street. She was sipping her tea, not taking her eyes off the building. Dhillon was currently inside. The agent felt her muscles tense, this wasn’t just any standard op – no, this mission was different, to apprehend a traitor, responsible for murdering over five hundred lives, when the SAN MARINO exploded and the man, who somehow slipped away, avoiding capture, when her superiors at SFI decided their personal and political agendas were more important than seeing justice carried out.

The blonde blinked, adjusting her sunglasses. They were no ordinary eyewear as they were embedded with a holocam and their settings included different modes such as infrared and x-ray. The sunglasses recorded events in real-time. It could be used as a projector to display a holographic version of the events. The agent shifted her eyes to the right, which in turn, moved the holocam in the same direction, towards the bank. The doors slid open. Chloe straightened in her chair and clenched her fists. She blinked, the sunglasses zooming in on her target, exiting the building.

He made his way down the steps at a normal pace, wearing a dark grey suit over a stark white shirt and sunglasses to cover his eyes. A handsome man in his mid-thirties, his short, black hair, neatly combed. Fit and athletic with a lean build, the Starfleet Captain had many female admirers since his escape from Dosi captivity in 2428. He was walking down the street, now having passed the café – this was a que for the Canadian woman to follow him. She stood up, waited five minutes and then left. Giving him a five minute head start would ensure he didn’t detect her presence and she could always use her sunglasses to zoom in on his position.

She moved at a casual pace like a tourist visiting Vulcan for the first time, wanting to record images of each building on the street to store in her memory. She paused, pretending to admire an ancient Vulcan building, while keeping one eye on her target. She resumed walking, the blazing Vulcan sun heating up the area and it was only mid-morning. For the next ten minutes, Nielsen walked, paused to avoid him spotting her and then resumed. They were headed up a walkway that spiralled upwards, overlooking part of the Vulcan Forge. When Dhillon stopped at a platform, she stopped a few feet below, still standing on the walkway, her gaze fixed on him. The man moved towards the edge and leaned on the railing.

Chloe glanced around and found there was no one else around, not surprising, since most visitors and even many Vulcans didn’t come here until evening at this time of year. This was her opportunity. She made her way slowly with light footsteps to the platform. She stopped at the railing next to him, eyeing the Starfleet officer watching the desert canyon with great interest. Chloe felt her heart rate increasing and her eyes narrowed. It had been three years since she stood face to face with that man and moments from ensuring he was finally captured. But first she had to get the package from his hands, hoping it was the weapon and then knock him unconscious with the hypospray, sitting in her jacket pocket, before anonymously alerting Starfleet Security of his location. Although, there was the temptation to just push him over the railing.

Dhillon looked away from the canyon and in her direction, immediately removing his sunglasses. His green eyes fixed on her, the dark haired man smiled. “Hello,” he greeted, not recognizing her at first, which didn’t surprise her – the last time she saw him was as a brunette. Then again, the suspicious part of her reminded her that he could also be attempting to play her like a fool. But it didn’t matter, whether he recognized her or not. In fact Nielsen wanted him to, so she removed her eyewear.

She tugged at her thin, black, lightweight jacket and stared intently at him, awaiting his next move. A sly smile crept across his lips, stepping closer to her until he was inches from her. Chloe slipped one hand into her jacket pocket, her fingers feeling for the hypospray. At 5’10”, he towered over her by around three inches. Placing a hand over her shoulder, his smile widened as she clutched the medical instrument.

“Emily, I’m so glad you are still alive,” he spoke, his eyes, instead of hatred or contempt as she expected, were filled with affection that actually made her more uncomfortable. “After they told me I was never to see you again, I was…so devastated.”

Chloe glared at him, pursing her lips in a thin line. Devastated. Yeah right. The man was glad to be rid of her so he could escape justice and continue his rise in Starfleet. “Really? After you just turned me in so callously. I’d think you would be so relieved to hear news of my demise at that facility.” She was about to pull out the hypospray, when a Vulcan crossed their path to proceed down the walkway and then a procession of about twenty monks followed. Chloe let out a sign of frustration at the intrusion. She put her sunglasses back over her eyes.

“Look,” Henry said in a voice filled with regrets, “Emily…oh wait, that isn’t your real name but I’ll still call you Emily.” He paused for a moment when more Vulcan monks arrived in addition to the twenty that went ahead of them. “I was angry with you at the time for using and humiliating me as if I was nothing more than a pawn in your scheme. I felt betrayed when I was told I was just a target, a job for you and that I meant nothing to you.”

Yeah, he didn’t mean anything to her. Chloe shook her head. Well, he had always been a piece of work, so full of himself. She recalled that awkward conversation when they were alone in his quarters on the CAMELOT a little over three years ago – Dhillon had declared his love for her and of course to keep up her cover, she told him the same. So yes, she did take advantage of him and didn’t even feel guilty about it. Good thing, they didn’t consummate their ‘relationship’ and for that she was relieved.

“But,” he said, reaching out for her free hand, “I missed you and never could take you off my mind despite all that happened between us. So I’m willing to forgive you and we can start fresh.”

While he prattled his nonsense, Chloe stole a glance sideways, hoping the procession left and groaned inwardly. A group of protestors, comprising of mostly non-humans, hailing from various Federation member worlds were marching up the path, holding signs and banners. A few humans were seen to be part of the group. Nielsen understood from reading the slogans written in different languages that they were complaining about the recent council election. It had not been long since Hussein Karimi won his seat on the council and Earth regained its permanent spot. And now many citizens of other worlds were unhappy with the results for various reasons with some claiming how unfair it was that humanity got away with their ‘crimes’. But right now Chloe wasn’t concerned about politics and was annoyed at the appearance of the group, where some protestors leered at her and Dhillon, spouting obscenities at them.

“Yes…” Dhillon said, pausing as if listening to something, which puzzled the agent.

The last batch of the protestors left and the coast seemed clear. Okay, now was her chance. She pulled out her hypospray and slowly raised her arm. “However,” Dhillon said, “I still have one job to do for someone as a favour and I cannot have you get in the way as you will get hurt.” Chloe’s expression soured. “So, after this is done, we can meet again and make plans. Wait for me to get in touch.” She lifted the hypospray to his neck but then her hand got struck by a ball, forcing the agent to loosen her grip on the instrument. The hypospray flew over the railing and tumbled down the rocky cliff. Chloe grit her teeth as she turned in the direction where the projectile came from. It was from a Bolian teenager running down the path, his friend, another Bolian teen chasing him. The teenager was likely trying to throw the ball at the other boy but missed. Chloe turned to Dhillon, whose eyes were filled with sympathy, not anger, which confused her.

“I should have realized this sooner,” he said in a soft voice. “You must be very angry with me for my part in sending you to your death. For that, I am sorry…and I’m even sorrier for doing this to you now but you will understand once I explain the situation after I complete the job. I have a transport to catch so farewell before we meet again.”

Chloe shook her head in disbelief. Well, if the hypospray didn’t work, then she was going to physically knock him unconscious. She felt strong hands on her shoulders and the agent glanced behind. There were two human males standing by them, their heavy set muscular bodies pressed against the railing. The thug, holding her, was a pale skinned Caucasian man and the other, a person of Hispanic origin with his light brown skin, the latter was also sporting a thin goatee. The Caucasian stood at close to 5’10”, while the other guy was about 5’8”. She struggled to move forward due to the firm grip on her shoulders.

“I will contact you once I’m done,” Dhillon said and turned around to jog up the walkway.

The Hispanic fellow chuckled. “Hey, Jim. Why don’t you take care of this by yourself, while I get us some ice cream from that shop in the plaza? I’m sure by the time I return, you will be done with this woman.”

“Sure,” the man named Jim agreed, pulling the agent towards him. “I shouldn’t be more than a minute tops.” He let out a belly aching laugh. “See ya in a minute, Rico.” As soon as Rico left, going down the path to the plaza, Jim turned to Chloe and sneered. “Hey sweetie, let’s go someplace quiet. Don’t want any witnesses.”

“Not a good idea, sending your friend away?” Chloe said in a calm, yet mocking tone.

“Acting all tough, huh.” Jim sniggered. “A little lady like ya don’t scare me. When I’m done with ya, ya’ll be begging me to stop.” He laughed.

Chloe shook her head. “Well, don’t say I warned you.”

With a grunt, the man grabbed her arm and dragged her up the path. He briefly paused by a railing, peering downwards. “Ha, there’s a nice spot for us.”

Chloe’s gaze went down. Another platform lay before them – this one had damaged and loose railings and the floor was cracked. She felt the man’s arms push her to climb over the railing. She turned behind, watching him toss one foot over and then the other until they both were on the other side, standing amidst rocks. He shoved her forward. Chloe nearly slipped over a jagged edge of a rock but managed to hold her balance. They reached the lower platform and he briefly let go of her.

Jim clasped his hands, grinning. “Now, listen, sweetheart. I’m just gonna rough you up a little bit as per their orders. I’ll leave your lovely face alone. This will all be over soon and ya’ll be well enough to go shopping or all that lady stuff.” He reached out for her shoulder, pulling at her jacket but Chloe grabbed his wrist and twisted it around with his palm facing upwards, which in turn bent his elbow. Her fingers pressed hard on the middle of his inner wrist, the agent grabbed the bent elbow with the other, fingers pressed on the inside of the elbow and in one swift movement pushed him to the ground, the man letting out a blood curdling scream at the same time. However, he managed to free his arm from her grasp as he fell. Once on the ground, Jim growled, tilting his head to the side, his eyes blazing with anger.

“Okay, no more Mr. nice guy,” he said, lifting himself up to a kneeling position. “I tried being gentle with ya but now ya’ll see what I’m really made of.” He reached for her leg but was just too slow, when Chloe took a slight step back and kicked his face, her foot making contact with his nose. Jim let out a loud yell, clutching his nose and fell backwards to the ground, a hair’s breadth from the edge. Chloe moved towards the large man, her gaze fixed on him.

His mouth curled into a feral smile, Jim grabbed a piece of rock and threw it at her. Chloe, upon spotting the projectile, turned her head around but the rock managed to knock off her sunglasses. This gave her opponent time to get up and charge towards her. He threw a punch, aiming for her face but she blocked him, deflecting his arm away from her and followed it with a kick to the mid-section. The thug bent forward, gasping, his back brushing against the railing. Letting out a roar, he attempted to lunge forward but the Canadian, too quick for him, knocked him backwards with a strike to his neck using her lower arm. He smashed through the railing, which was already loose and fell to his death.

Chloe stepped forward and her gaze moved downwards. The body of the thug was lying still on the sandy floor, eventually it would be buried under the sands. She felt her heart beating fast and breathing rapid. She sighed, glancing behind upon hearing a shout from above.

The other guy, Rico was walking along the pathway, calling out, “Hey Jim, where are you? It’s been more than five minutes. Thought you’d be done by now. Is that lady giving you trouble or are you at a restroom somewhere?” He stopped gazing around. “I got ice cream for us.” In his hand were two small cones, one with a violet coloured ice cream and the other a light blue with bits of chocolate pieces embedded in it. The ice cream in both cones were already melting, where a stream of violet and blue liquid flowed down his thumb. His gaze moved past the railing and down until they stopped on the blonde woman. He froze, his eyes widening. “What the…” He jumped over the railing and jogged down to the lower platform not paying heed to his hand, covered in melted violet and blue ice cream.

“Hey, where’s my buddy, Jim?” He demanded, glowering at her.

Chloe said, giving him an icy stare, “Your friend has decided to take a trip to the desert.”

Scowling, Rico dashed to the railing, his free hand clenched into a fist and when he turned around, his dark eyes were burning with ire as hot as the Vulcan sun. “You’re gonna pay for this.” He let out a low growl as he lunged forward, dropping the ice cream cones but the section 31 agent grabbed his wrist, twisted his arm and with a quick strike to his elbow, she knocked him forward, where he tripped, falling face down to the ground. Before Rico had the opportunity to get up, she twisted his arm towards her. The man bit his lip from screaming as she then pressed her foot on his upper back, just below the neck. She had him pinned to the ground.

“Now,” the Canadian said in a calm voice, “I need some answers.”

“Go to hell,” Rico said through clenched teeth but then let out a scream, when Chloe twisted his arm forward and kept pushing until he yelled again. “Okay, Okay.”

“Alright, first off, who hired you? Was it that man who was talking to me?”

“No it wasn’t that…dude,” he said, struggling with the pain.

“Then who?”

“I don’t know.”

Chloe pressed down his neck harder with her foot and he screamed again.

“I swear!” She relaxed her foot on his neck. “I swear, lady! I honestly don’t know who hired us. Jim and I, we’re like partners, do like odd jobs here and there for a fee.”

“Oh you mean like roughing up women in broad daylight.” Chloe’s voice was dripping with sarcasm.

“Well….” he said. “Look, this lady, some secretary or something contacted us to track the dude and do something to him to…uh test his loyalty to his…bosses.”

Chloe frowned, raising an eyebrow at the word, ‘bosses’. “And how does attacking me come into play?”

“We saw you and him talking. From what we overheard, the dude was like madly in love with you and so we had this great idea, perhaps hurting you will keep him in line and we’d get our money’s worth. So Jim sent him a message telling him the idea and he agreed to let us rough you a bit, you know scare ya and no harm, no foul. Just a scary story for your grandkids and before you know it, you will be back at the mall, giggling with your girl pals about girly stuff.”

Nielsen rolled her eyes and shook her head, briefly concerned about losing a few brain cells, listening to the idiot.

“But now we find his girlfriend’s a psychotic bitch,” he whined. “For leaving out that little piece of information, your boyfriend owes me triple the agreed payment not just for you killing my friend but injuring me.”

Chloe narrowed her eyes and let out a sigh of exasperation as she stepped off him and released his arm. They were only goons for hire, not privy to information about their clients. Dumb as rocks. This plan was a bust. The good thing was it didn’t seem anyone suspected she was an agent. “I’ll be sending an anonymous tip to security about you and how you pushed your friend to his death during a physical altercation.”

“Not over my dead body,” he snarled, jumping up, now that she wasn’t pinning him down and spun around, a pocket knife in hand. He swung at her with his weapon. Chloe stepped away but the blade managed to slash her upper arm. Wincing with pain, the blonde glanced at the area, where the weapon made a tear on the jacket sleeve and the wound started to bleed. Rico smiled, spotting an opportunity and lunged for another strike but Chloe, despite the pain from her arm, anticipated the move and ducked, causing the blade to slash the air above her head. She then slid to her side and moved again, her back to the gap, where the loose railing once stood. When Rico dove for a third strike, the agent leapt out of the way and the man fell through the opening to his death.

Chloe inhaled and then exhaled, feeling the pain tearing at her from the knife wound as she stared ahead at the desert. She glanced around and spotted her sunglasses, bending down to grab it with her uninjured hand. She put them on over her eyes with one hand and sighed out of exasperation. “Well, moving onto plan B.” The agent wasn’t looking forward to implementing this plan as she had to finally read Dhillon’s personal logs. From what Georgia mentioned in her message, when she sent the files to her, contained a lot of entries on this woman called ‘Emily’, Chloe’s alias for that mission and how obsessed, in the administrator’s words, was with her, the agent’s fake persona. Nielsen shook her head, not expecting that unintended side effect from her last operation on Dhillon to still last. Or maybe he was playing a game to put her off his trail. Either way if she were to ever find the bio-weapon, she’d have to get him first.

And then she remembered those words, flashing in her mind. **I have a transport to catch…** She needed to move fast and the agent had no intention to wait for him to contact her. No, she was going to find him first. However, there were loose ends, she needed to tie first.

She looked around again, hoping there was no one around and there wasn’t. Sighing, she decided to return to her hotel room and check in with HQ for an update. But first she needed to rid any evidence of her presence at the crime scene, in order to maintain her cover.

*************************************************************************************
NRPG: To be continued in Part II, where I will conclude this story.



~*~
Ranjani S.
Writing for

Chloe Nielsen
Section 31 Agent

 

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