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The Plot Thickens

Posted on May 05, 2018 @ 5:30pm by Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Edited on on May 05, 2018 @ 5:30pm

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

“The Plot Thickens”
(contd from ‘Blood from a Stone’)

Location: SHERMAN’S PLANET
SD: [2.18] 0505.0016
Scene: Deputy Hobbs’ home

Jasmine stepped outside onto the patio of Deputy Hobbs’ home. The patio stood above rocky slopes that led to the river below. A lovely view. Yu gazed at the sunset beyond, briefly reminding the young woman of her home back on Earth. Sherman’s planet would be a nice place to visit if one was a nature lover or just loved the countryside. The colony seemed to have lots of beautiful scenery everywhere, bringing it with a peace and quiet that was often missing in cities.

She just had dinner with the deputy and her partner, the hybrid named Pamela or Pam for short – a brief respite from the investigation and the rising tensions in the colony, made even worse by the Klingon fleet’s arrival. Jasmine gazed up at the sky, where she could spot the Klingon ships in orbit and sighed, wondering what was going on up there. She heard the door creak open behind her and turned around, spotting the red haired woman step outside beside her. The couple lived in a one-storey townhouse and like most buildings on the planet was built of wood. Hobbs’ place stood at the corner in a row of similarly built townhouses, all atop a rocky cliff, overlooking the river.

“Boy, Ah’m full,” Pam remarked, letting out a huge sigh, while smiling at the Phoenix security chief. In both her hands, she carried two mugs and handed one to the Asian woman. “Did ya’ll enjoy tha meal, Jasmine?”

Jasmine nodded, returning the smile. “Yes, it was delicious. First time, I had a casserole, made with triticale and vegetables. So was the triticale, pea and carrot soup and the triticale cream pie. Thank you.”

“It was no trouble at all,” Pam said, taking a sip of her mead, a beverage, which also contained triticale like everything else on this planet. “A pity ya’re a vegetarian. Treena cooked a delicious roast.” She let out a hearty chuckle. “But on tha bright side, Ah git ta eat tha roast tomorrow night as well.”

“Where’s Treena?” Jasmine asked, glancing behind her.

“The last Ah saw, she was cleaning up, when she got a call from the Sheriff.”

“Hope everything’s okay.” Jasmine said, sounding a little concerned.

Pam shrugged. “It’s probably more complainin from folks, scared of tha Klingon ships above our planet and worried the Klingons could come down here.”

“You don’t have to worry,” Jasmine said, trying to reassure the hybrid. “I know my Captain will not permit any of the Klingons to beam down to the planet.”

The hybrid chuckled dryly. “Ah’m not the one who needs reassuring. Ah ain’t scared of them.”

Jasmine inquired, “How do you personally feel about the Klingons’ coming here and that subspace message they broadcasted?” She sipped from her mug, waiting for the other woman to respond. Yu, herself, wasn’t sure what to think of this impromptu message, aside from the fact it took her and everyone on both the Phoenix and the colony by surprise. When she was coming to the couple’s home, she was stopped a few times by nervous colonists and their questions comprised of ‘Why the Klingons are here?” or “Is this an invasion?” or “Why has Starfleet not sent them away?” to name a few. Many were even downright angry from the gathering and protests outside the Sheriff’s building and the Governor’s mansion. Of course, there was even the matter of the two Klingon suspects and it was likely some believed the Klingon fleet was here to free them.

Pam shrugged, sipping her drink. “Look, Ah’m a hybrid and this here’s mah home. Ah got no plans on joinin up with them Klingons, while they battle for glory.”

“Aren’t you a least bit curious about them? Don’t you want to at least meet them and learn more about your ancestors’ homeworld?”

The red haired half-Klingon smiled. “Well, of course, ah’m curious about them and what life’s like on Qo’noS. Heck, Ah’ve had dreams, where Ah’d git ta battle with them or go targ huntin. Ya know, show what Ah’m made of? But…” Her voice trailed. “Ah’d never wanna leave Treena. She’s tha most important person in mah life and this colony’s mah home.”

Jasmine nodded. “How about just a visit and you can always return home?”

“Well, see, Ah never left mah planet before,” Pam confessed with a sheepish grin. “And neither has Treena. Though we’ve been talkin about travellin and see how the city folks lived but Ah think that may not come ta pass as both of us lead busy lives here with lotta responsibilities.”

Yu asked, “So if the Klingons invite you for a trip to the homeworld, you’d decline their offer?”

“Ah guess.” Pam shrugged. “Ah’m not goin anywhere without mah love and Treena didn’t get the invitation. Ah have mah doubts that this Is’toQ fella’s sincere about welcoming all Klingons and not just the full blooded ones.” At that moment, Hobbs joined them. “Speakin of which, nice of ya to join us, Treena.” She smiled, kissing the other woman on the cheek. “So done for the night?”

“For now,” Treena replied, sighing. “Sorry about that. Tha complaints just keep pilin up. Everyone’s just so scared right now.”

Pam decided, “Ah’ll get ya’ll more drinks.” She grabbed the empty mugs and went inside, leaving the deputy and the security chief alone.

Treena gave the Asian a tiny smile. “Glad ya could make it for dinner tonight, considerin everythin that’s going on here.”

“Thank you and Pam for having me here.” Jasmine smiled back before turning her gaze forward.

Treena brought up, getting Yu’s attention. “Jasmine, just wanna let ya know that Ah told Ethan about our conversation with Rusa.”

“What did he say?” But Jasmine already knew the answer to that question.

“Like Ah expected, he dismissed it as her being drunk or lyin.” She sighed. “We found some information that further damages Rusa’s credibility.”

Jasmine raised an eyebrow. “What kind of information?”

“Well,” the deputy said, sighing, “Rusa did have a connection to one of our suspects. She and Q’pac were…uh…foolin around and she was promised to Jupak, a second cousin of Sompek.”

The Asian woman’s eyes widened in disbelief. “But that’d be considered dishonourable amongst Klingons. Wouldn’t there be some sort of duel or something because the betrothed or fiancé was dishonoured?”

“But the Klingons here ain’t really the same as the ones on Qo’noS,” Hobbs said, giving her a weak smile. “While they’ve been free to follow their traditions here, there’re somethings pertaining to their culture that we forbid, like fights to death and dueling and they’ve been fine with it for the most part.”

That made a lot of sense. Jasmine figured the Klingons on this colony would be a lot different from their brethren in the empire, not just physically but also perhaps culturally. “So is she being charged with anything?”

“No.” Treena shook her head. “In light of the affair with Q’pac, Ethan’s completely dismissing her statement. He hasn’t arrested her because there’s nothin connecting her to the crime. As far as he’s concerned, Rusa was drunk and possibly lyin to cover her lover’s ass. But he’s keepin an eye on her, in case she cause any trouble.”

“Hey, Treena,” Pam called out, coming out, her face contorted to display a worried expression. “Got a call from the Sheriff’s office.”

“Somethin wrong?”

Pam sighed. “It’s Rusa. She…uh collapsed in the saloon and was taken to the hospital.”

Treena remained silent for a moment, her brow furrowing. “Did they say why she collapsed?”

The hybrid shook her head. “Nothin. They said, the doc’s checkin her out right now.”

----------------------
Scene: Hotel lobby
TI: Twenty minutes later

“Are ya Lieutenant Yu?” The young white man behind the reception’s desk asked, when Jasmine was heading towards the staircase.

The security chief changed direction and made her way to the reception, arching her brow. “Yes, that’d be me. How can I help you?” She leaned forward, her hands placed on the counter top.

The receptionist informed, handing her a piece of paper, “This was left here for ya.”

Jasmine eyed the paper with curiosity. Paper wasn’t something she’d expected anyone would still use, even on Sherman’s Planet. But she realized her assumption might have been wrong and there were places that still used paper as a writing material. “Did you see the person who dropped this note?”

The local shook his head, followed by a shrug. “No, ma’am. Ah wasn’t on duty when whoever brought the note. Sorry.”

“It’s fine.” Jasmine smile. “Thank you.”

“Anytime.” The receptionist smiled. “And if ya’ll need anything, give me a ring.”

Yu nodded. “Yes I will. Have a good night.” She turned away, heading for the stairs that led up to the floor, where her room was located. She began to read the contents of the note. **Dear Lt. Yu, Ah’ve vital information. Please meet me at Emily’s Saloon at 10pm tonight. Ah’ll find ya. ** The note wasn’t signed but just from the language, it was most likely written by a local. 10pm. Jasmine checked the chronometer and it was 9:30pm. Well, lucky for her, the saloon was nearby.

“Hi Jasmine,” came a familiar voice from behind her.

The Asian turned around and smiled, spotting the Phoenix’s Counsellor standing before her, “Hi Eve. How’s it going?”

“Not bad,” Dalziel replied calmly. “Can’t say the same about this town, especially after the Klingons broadcasted that message. I was walking by the Sheriff’s office and apparently a protest has been taking place for the entire evening and both the humans and Klingons are involved.” She let out a sigh. “And I’ve been approached by nervous colonists for advice or maybe even some assurance.”

“The same happened to me.” Jasmine sighed.

“How is the investigation coming along?” Eve asked. “The suspects are both Klingon but I also hear that the two witnesses’ statements weren’t strong enough to warrant an arrest.”

“I tried explaining that to Sheriff Edwards but he disagrees.” Jasmine let out a sigh of frustration. “So for now, I’m just offering my assistance and not seem like I’m questioning their methods.”

“I get what you mean.” Eve nodded, when her gaze fell on the note in Yu’s hand. “Jasmine, what have you got there?”

“Someone left it at the reception for me,” the Asian informed, handing the paper to her fellow officer. “Here, take a look.” She watched her quickly read the note and when Eve looked up. “So what do you think?”

“Not sure,” Eve said, raising an eyebrow. “Planning to check it out?”

Jasmine nodded. “Yes.”

“Mind if I tag along?”

“Well, the note didn’t say I should come alone.” Jasmine smiled. “Sure.”

Eve suggested, noting the Starfleet uniforms, adorned by both women, “Perhaps a change of clothes to something civilian like two co-workers having some drinks together.”

“Good idea,” Yu agreed before the two women walked up the stairs to their rooms.

-----------------------
Scene: Emily’s Saloon
TI: Twenty minutes later

The establishment was packed, when the two women arrived. Jasmine and Eve chose a booth at the far corner of the room and waited for their mysterious messenger. In the meantime, they ordered drinks and a plate of Tribble cakes, pretending to chat like old friends on a night out. “It’s like we’re undercover,” Eve said, smiling, sipping her drink.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Jasmine took a bite off the Tribble cake. She hoped the note was genuine and the individual would show up with information that would help with the investigation. She was about to take a sip, when sounds of throat clearing was heard. Yu’s gaze moved from the drink to a young, human man with distinct Asian features. “Hi,” she greeted, while Eve smiled at him.

The man asked, eyeing them with suspicion, “Which one of ya is Lt. Yu?”

“That’d be me,” Jasmine answered. She noticed his gaze move to the Counselor.

“And who’s she?”

The Cardassian born woman replied, giving him a warm smile. “Eve Dalziel. I work with Yu. What’s your name?”

The man, quickly shuffled himself on the empty spot, next to the Counselor, and lowered his voice. “Okay, mah name’s Lenny Ngo.”

“Lenny Ngo,” Jasmine said, a look of recognition in her eyes. “You’re one of the witnesses who provided a statement incriminating the two Klingons, currently in jail.”

“Yeah, that’d be me.” He gulped, giving a sidelong glance before continuing. “But…Ah wasn’t…entirely honest.” At the Asian’s nod, he continued, his voice shaking, “Ah told Sheriff Edwards that Ah overheard Lompek and Q’pac talkin about disruptin the festival and Q’pac suggestin goin to the warehouse and sabotagin the floats.”

“Yes.” Eve nodded in acknowledgement.

Lenny gulped, his guilt-ridden expression filled with fear. “The part about disruptin the festival, well that was true but Ah didn’t hear anything about sabotage.”

Dalziel inquired in a calm voice, “Why did you lie? Do you have a problem with those two?”

“No, Ah barely know Lompek and Q’pac,” he replied before quickly breaking down into tears. “Look, Ah didn’t mean ta hurt anyone. But Ah had no choice. He’d kill mah wife and child if Ah didn’t give this story to the Sheriff. He said for his plan ta work, Lompek and Q’pac needed ta be arrested.”

Eve consoled him. “It’s okay.” She handed him a napkin, which he used to blow his nose.

“Who’s he?” Jasmine inquired.

Lenny wiped off the tears from his face, having calmed down a bit but his voice still cracked. “Ah don’t know him. He doesn’t seem ta be from around here. But he was strange and scary.”

“Can you describe him?” Yu asked.

“Well,” Ngo began. “He…was tall, thin, about middle aged, bald and way too pale. His clothes were all black and his eyes were all dark like there was nothing in them. Everything about him was strange. His eyes and mouth never moved when he talked. His speech was…uh…garbled…not like a normal person. He just stood there, barely movin a limb. Strange.”

As Jasmine was memorizing the boat pilot’s description, she had a light bulb moment. This was the same description given by Rusa, well except for the eyes and the man never spoke to her. So now two people claimed to have seen this strange human male, when the records showed there was no colonist that matched the description. Were there other visitors beside the Phoenix and the Klingon fleet? That couldn’t be possible not without the colony authorities noticing it. Something really was fishy here.

Eve asked, “Where were you at the time?”

“Well…it was late at night at the boat. Ah just returned from mah final run and was preparin ta go home, when he just appeared on the deck outta nowhere. Ah didn’t even hear him come aboard. When he was done speakin, he just vanished.”

As Jasmine mulled over his words, Dalziel questioned, “You mentioned something about a plan. Can you elaborate?”

The man shot up, a panic stricken look in his eyes. “Ah said too much.” He turned around and walked hurriedly away from the two women.

“That’s two people now who claim to have seen the same man,” Jasmine said. “But no resident matches his description, according to the database and we have yet to determine if there is anyone else here besides us and the Klingons.”

“You know, Jasmine.” Eve furrowed her brow. “There is something really strange about this man. From the description, it’s as if he couldn’t really exist. I don’t know of any human who doesn’t move their eyes or limbs. His speech seemed distorted like something akin to a recording device with signal interference. Of course he performs disappearing acts. Maybe it’s not really a person but a projection to induce fear into his victims.”

Jasmine frowned. “Holographic projection makes perfect sense but this colony doesn’t have portable holo-emitters in their possession as far as we know. This world doesn’t have much in the way of technology like holodecks for example.”

“If Lenny was forced to lie to Sheriff Edwards, then would it stand to reason that the other witness may have been threatened as well?”

Yu nodded. “It’s possible, Edna Miller may have been threatened, providing Lenny’s story holds true.” She got up. “We need to tell Deputy Hobbs.”

“Well, it’s late,” Eve pointed out, smiling. “You think she’d still be working at this hour.”

“Not sure.” Jasmine shrugged.

---------------------------
Scene: Hotel lobby

As Eve and Jasmine returned to their hotel, they were greeted by Deputy Hobbs, who was waiting by the reception. Yu noted the anxiety in the law maker’s eyes and in general, Treena seemed rather tired, judging from her body language. “Treena, something wrong?”

Hobbs nodded at Eve, acknowledging her presence. She ushered the two Starfleet officers to the sitting area, out of earshot from the receptionist on duty. “Ah just got a call from the hospital.”

“Is it about Rusa’s condition?” Jasmine inquired, getting worried.

Treena nodded. “Yeah. Doc says she’s gone into a coma. He’s got no idea when she’ll wake up.”

“Does he know why she went into coma?” Eve asked.

Hobbs sighed. “She was drugged. His examination revealed the presence of a narcotic in her body. A kind of narcotic that, accordin ta him, isn’t found anywhere on this planet.”

“When was she drugged?” Yu questioned.

Treena frowned. “Here’s the thing. A local boy, Jimmy Rao showed up at tha Sheriff’s office an hour ago and confessed to slipping a drug in Rusa’s drink. See, Jimmy works at tha saloon. And the strange part was, he insisted on surrendering himself to the Sheriff and refused to leave unless we arrested him.”

“Why did he drug Rusa?” Jasmine sighed.

“He didn’t say.”

Eve asked, “Did Mr. Rao hold any negative feelings towards the Klingons?”

“Oh no.” Treena shook her head. “Jimmy’s no racist and is one of tha friendliest guys around. He’d always gone out of his way to be kind to others and often defended the Klingons even. So ya see, him confessing to crime is shockin to say the least.”

Jasmine shared a brief look with Dalziel, both wondering if they were thinking the same thing. In light of Lenny’s confession, was it possible Jimmy could have been threatened? This mystery was getting more complicated on top of everything else. “Is there a possibility that one of our medical officers can take a look at your doc’s report, maybe even examine Rusa?”

“Hmm…Ah’ll speak with doc and see what Ah can do.” Treena nodded. “Anyway, Ah better get goin. Need ta deal with a situation at the office. Good night.” She left the hotel.

Jasmine suggested, “Eve, I think we should have a meeting with Byte and Kass and let them know what we found tonight. What do you think?”

“I agree.”

“In the meantime, I’ll update the Captain,” Yu said.

*************************************************************************************


~*~
Ranjani S.
Writing for

Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Chief of Security and Tactical
USS PHOENIX

 

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