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Harrad-Tor, We Need To Talk

Posted on Jan 19, 2020 @ 1:15am by Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Edited on on Jan 19, 2020 @ 1:15am

Mission: Last Days of Empire

“Harrad-Tor, We Need to Talk”

(contd from ‘The Carnage at Alcyonus’)

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Location: USS PHOENIX
SD: [2.20] 0118.0130
Scene: Bridge


Jasmine Yu let out a sigh, her fingers dancing across the console. The young woman was relieved to be back on the ship after a stressful trip to the Alcyonus prison colony, where she and her team were at the risk of being nearly killed during the riot that ultimately opened the door to their escape. Overall, the mission was somewhat of a success, having managed to find some members of the SATET crew. Since the team’s return and the subsequent departure of the Phoenix from the star system, Jasmine was allowed the chance to refresh herself, which included a sonic shower to scrub the grime and stench off her.

After cleaning up and changing from her dirty prison outfit to a fresh, clean uniform, she headed to the Vulgar Tribble and helped herself to a delicious vegetarian chilli with bread and a cup of hot jasmine green tea. She hadn’t realized until taking her first spoonful of the chilli, just how hungry she was for a proper meal, especially after having to force herself to eat gagh and drink stale water or blood wine at the prison. In addition to the wonderful meal, Iphie had prepared for her, she had been greeted with a cute and pleasant surprise. Wei – her adorable corgi puppy, had been brought to her by one of the security guards. The Asian woman had realized then just how much she had missed her puppy and it had been the case for Wei as well – the little one unwilling to leave her side.

Jasmine smiled, recalling the excitement from the puppy upon their reunion. After the meal, Yu had dropped Wei at the security centre before heading to the bridge to relieve Procter from the tactical station– apparently it turned out there were a few volunteers amongst her staff, eager to spend some time with the little corgi. So Wei was in good hands and she didn’t regret leaving the puppy down in her office in security.

Now the Phoenix was out of the battlefield and in open space, not knowing its next destination, Yu was left to simply monitor the situation outside from her station and do some thinking. Her thoughts then shifted to Harrad-Tor, the Orion Master-at-arms, making her frown. She furrowed her brow, her mind running through the events during the prison riot, focusing on the incident in the dining hall, where they were confronted by those two Orion prisoners. Those men didn’t just randomly show up – no they were after Harrad-Tor, sent by some syndicate crime lord by the name of Liriss. It wasn’t the first time. According to Heck, he and Harrad-Tor were ambushed by a band of Orion prisoners in the mines – their intention to kill the Orion officer on behalf of Liriss. So the burning question in her mind was just who really Liriss was and more importantly, what his connection with Harrad-Tor was?

Harrad-Tor claimed it was a case of mistaken identity and that he didn’t know Liriss. Jasmine didn’t believe he was telling the truth after all it had happened not once but twice, which deeply concerned her. She closed her eyes for a moment, clearing away all troubled thoughts. When she opened her eyes, the raven haired woman was clear on her next step – speak with the Orion and find out the truth. She tapped on her comm badge.

“Yu to Procter.”

[[Procter here,]] replied the assistant security and tactical officer.

“Lieutenant, please report to the bridge,” Jasmine said. “I have an important matter I need to take care of.”

[[Understood, Lieutenant. I’m on my way. Procter out.]]

Jasmine sighed again, waiting in silence for MacKenzie to relieve her.

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Scene: Deck 39 corridor -> Yu’s office


The corgi puppy yapped, running towards Jasmine as fast as her little legs could carry. Yu laughed, when Wei kept bouncing up and down as if attempting to reach her face but was too small to jump that high. The security chief bent forward, lifting the puppy in her arms and pulled her closer to her chest as she walked down the corridor – the dog barking a friendly greeting at anyone passing them by. She sighed, briefly wondering who had let Wei out of her office but there were more pressing matters at hand.

Harrad-Tor had exited the weapon’s locker and was heading towards her. “Ensign,” she called out. The two officers stopped when they were less than a feet away. Wei squirmed in her arms, leaning her head towards the large Orion and barked.

“Lieutenant, how can I help you?” The green skinned man petted the puppy’s head as Wei continued yapping, wagging her short tail – happy to see yet another person.

“Do you have a moment?” Jasmine asked politely. “I’d like to speak with you privately in my office.”

“Sure.”

They continued walking with Wei yapping again in excitement for the Orion’s company. “How are you doing?”

“Fine, Lieutenant.” Harrad-Tor nodded, giving her a weak smile. “To be honest, I am relieved to finally leave that wretched prison and enjoy some real food. It’s like returning to civilization from years struggling to survive in the wild.”

Jasmine nodded. “I know what you mean.” He was right. The prison was akin to the jungle where it was everyone for themselves and wondering if they were going to live to see the next day. In the away team’s case, the fear of their cover blown was at the forefront of their minds. So she had agreed with the Orion man about returning to civilization where law and order held sway. They had reached her office. Jasmine entered, followed by the Orion. She gestured towards the visitor’s chair, while she walked around her desk and then sat down on her chair. The young woman then gently placed Wei on the floor, the puppy making a dash around the room, barking happily.

A moment of silence passed between them until Yu let out a sigh. “Alright, Ensign,” she began in a calm voice. “I’m just going to come right out and say it.” She noted the change in expression and the furrowing of his brow. “You have served with us for three years.”

“Yes, chief.” He raised an eyebrow.

“In that time, you have proven yourself to be reliable and hardworking,” she said. “I haven’t had any complaints about you since I started working here.”

“Thank you, chief. I am glad to hear you feel that way.”

“Then please help me out with some answers.” Jasmine sighed. “What happened back at the prison?”

The Orion blinked, sporting a bewildered expression. “I don’t understand what you mean, chief.”

“Liriss and the attempts to kill you two times,” Jasmine said calmly yet her tone was firm and noted the nervous looks in his eyes. “According to Joanna Marsters, Liriss is an Orion Syndicate crime lord, operating in the Triangle.”

“I remember hearing that from her.”

“Well,” Jasmine said, leaning forward, elbows resting on the desk. “If I’m not mistaken, you originally grew up in the Triangle before you came to the Federation as a refugee.”

“Yes, that is correct.” He nodded. “Chief, what is this about?”

“Do you know Liriss?”

He opened his mouth, however no words came out as if a cat got his tongue. “Chief…” he said slowly. “I told you back at the prison that I don’t know this Liriss and the Orions’ attack was a case of mistaken identity.”

“I know you did.” Jasmine narrowed her eyes. “But I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. I’d have if the assassins made an attempt against you once but twice makes me suspicious that you know more than you’re letting on and in this case, you and Liriss have some sort of connection.”

“Lieutenant, please believe me, I have never met Liriss.”

“I want to, Harrad-Tor,” Jasmine said. “I really do but those attempted ambushes had placed your fellow team members at danger.” They remained silent for a few moments, the tension rising in the air. “Look, I have always respect your privacy and I generally don’t have issues if people decide to keep their past private, however when an individual serving under me has a past that not only placed himself in harm’s way but others as well, then it’s my duty to find out what we’re up against.”

Another moment of tense silence passed between them and the large man heaved his chest, releasing a sigh of resignation. “Alright, chief,” he spoke in a low voice. “I will tell you the truth.”

Yu lifted her elbows off the desk and leaned back, nodding. “Go on.”

“You’re right, chief. I wasn’t exactly forthcoming to you earlier.” His eyes shifted downwards and then back at her. “For that, I am truly sorry.”

“Tell me about your connection with Liriss.”

“For many years before I joined Starfleet.” He cleared his throat. “I was an operative for the Syndicate – in fact, Liriss’ right-hand man. I was immensely loyal to him and did everything for him with due diligence and never questioned him about anything.”

Jasmine nodded, not entirely surprised that Harrad-Tor worked for the Syndicate but a right-hand man to a mob boss – well that was something she needed time to process. “What changed between you two that led to a blood feud so bad that he sent assassins to kill you?”

“Well,” he said, his voice beginning to crack. “I fell in love with Jeeza, a Risean woman and one of Liriss’ mistresses – his favorite one in fact. Knowing how he would react, Jeeza and I conducted our affair in secret for a few months until a rival found out and ratted us out to Liriss. This rival had been gunning for my position at Liriss’ side for years and used my affair with Jeeza to fulfill her ambition.”

Jasmine nodded, sighing. So a vendetta over a mistress – Liriss sounded like an entitled piece of work – vain and vindictive, regardless of how big or small the betrayal was. That deeply worried her. If Liriss was that obsessive – enough to still desire to kill Harrad-Tor after all these years, then the PHOENIX might potentially be at risk.

“Once our secret was out, Jeeza and I decided to leave knowing Liriss was going to kill us, well me at least.” He gulped and Yu noticed his lips quivering and hands shaking. “I don’t want to imagine what he’d have done to Jeeza.”

“Then what happened?” She listened in silence as Harrad-Tor relayed the rest of his story. Harrad-Tor and his lover had left Rigel with the help of some loyal employees but were pursued by Liriss, who apparently had been seething with rage at their betrayal. They had nearly managed to make it close to the Federation border but an accident that led to the destruction of their transport scuttled their plans. The couple were separated, when evacuating the ship. Eventually, his escape pod was discovered by a Starfleet vessel on border patrol and the Orion was rescued, brought into Federation space as a refugee. However, his lover and the other survivors from that transport were not found – either they escaped to another location or worse, maybe dead.

“And the rest is history.” The bald man shrugged.

Jasmine sighed, leaning back in her chair and processing the information that Harrad-Tor had provided to her. It had been over eight years since he first entered the Federation so a long time for Liriss to be holding a grudge against the Orion officer for his betrayal, which only made the crime boss even more dangerous. Liriss had an obsession to kill Harrad-Tor out of revenge for ‘stealing’ his favorite mistress – so while a petty and vain man, the crime lord was still powerful and dangerous.

“Harrad-Tor,” she said, giving him a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry about what happened to Jeeza and cannot imagine what it must have felt for you to go through the pain of losing her. I’m sure returning here must have brought back such painful memories for you.”

“Thank you, chief,” he said in a low voice, a look of sadness in his eyes. “To be honest, I am nervous about the Orions winning this conflict and fulfilling their ambitions to become an empire. I fear that will only make Liriss more powerful.”

“So you prefer to see the Klingons win?”

“It’s not like I want them to win…” The Orion struggled with his words. “It’s just that…if the Klingons triumph, then it is possible that Liriss may perish in the conflict or become a prisoner and I’d no longer have to live in fear from him.” He then lowered his voice to no more than a whisper. “Because even when I was in Federation space, I still had to always look behind my shoulder for assassins.”

Jasmine nodded. “Harrad-Tor, as long as you are on this ship, we will make sure Liriss won’t be able to touch you.”

“I appreciate your reassurances, chief but he is relentless in his vendetta against me. Jeeza was like a prized possession to him.”

“Well, assuming he was part of the Orion fleet at Alcyonus,” she said. “Then with the battle going on right now, he could be stuck there for a while so will be unable to come after you so hopefully that should give us some time and who knows, by the time he makes it out of the battlefield – that is if he makes it out, our search for the SATET may be over and we’d be on our way home.”

“Well, I hope you are right.”

“I’ll have to report this to the Captain,” she informed.

“I understand.”

“Anything else you’d like to share?” She asked.

“No, chief.”

“Then you’re free to go.” She nodded.

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Scene: Corridor, Deck 39
TI: Ten minutes later


Harrad-Tor sighed, leaning back against the wall. That went better than expected, he thought, recalling his conversation with Yu. He wasn’t surprised at how understanding his boss was, regarding his past as a Syndicate operative. Not many people would be that understanding – one of the reasons he had kept his past private was the fear of ostracism from others due to being a former Syndicate member. But Jasmine seemed a more understanding type, a person willing to give others a second chance. However, he wasn’t sure how the others on the ship would feel now that information about his past was out.

He felt his chest tighten, his stomach acids churning due to being wracked with guilt. Harrad-Tor didn’t reveal everything to Yu – he still had one more secret, one that if it came out would end his Starfleet career. He was now beginning to regret his arrangement with Dhirrisa, the Klingon intelligence agent who had made such a tempting offer – she told him Jheeza was alive and offered to reveal her location if he promised to help the Klingons. In that one desperate moment, when fear of the Orions winning, had overwhelmed him, he had accepted, even violating the radio silence order for this mission to communicate with her and providing information about the Phoenix heading to Alcyonus to find the SATET.

If Yu and the others found out about his arrangement with Dhirrissa, then his career was over and he’d be sent to prison. He placed his hand inside his pocket, pulling out the communicator, the Klingoness gave her and stared at the dark red spherical object with trepidation. He wondered, what if he confessed to Yu – maybe they’d go lenient with him, after all he didn’t really provide any information to Dhirissa that would have endangered the ship and crew. During his interrogation with the Klingon woman back at the prison, the Orion said he was the only one sent undercover to find the SATET crew and didn’t reveal the other team members’ identities to her.

He sighed – then again, Captain Kane would just imprison him in the brig and once the mission was over, he’d stand trial for treason and be sentenced to the penal colony. Maybe he should just remain silent and ignore further communications from Dhirrissa and hope to find another way to locate Jeeza without betraying Starfleet. He sighed again and made his decision to not reveal his secret to anyone.

As he pushed himself away from the wall, something knocked into his leg, jerking him forward, the communicator slipping through his fingers and to the ground. The small object, the size of a golf ball, began rolling away from him. As he bent down to reach for it, the ship’s resident pug trotted ahead of him and grabbed the ball in his mouth. Harrad-Tor let out a sigh of exasperation – it was Smooshy who bumped into him and now the pug was running away with his communicator. He began panicking. No, he had to get it back and began walking at a swift pace after the animal.

“Smooshy,” he called out after the pug. “Give it back. It’s not a chew toy.”

Smooshy trotted rather quickly, navigating around pairs of legs with ease. Then two humanoid male security guards appeared out of a turbo lift. At the sight of the pug, the first guard stopped suddenly and the one behind him knocked into him, forcing both to tumble to the ground, while Smooshy continued trotting ahead with not a care for their plight. Harrad-Tor apologize as he moved around them, chasing the pug, which was too fast for him as he walked - not run to avoid unwanted attention towards him.

“Everything okay, Harrad-Tor?”

The Orion inclined his head, spotting Lieutenant Silsby walk beside him. “I’m fine.”

“Great to hear.” Silsby grinned, turning his attention to the pug. “Now fancy a chase after Smooshy and get him back to Counseling?”

“Sure.” Harrad-Tor nodded, yet his anxiety just increased by tenfold.

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NRPG: Harrad-Tor confesses to Jasmine but doesn’t tell her everything. Will his decision to keep his arrangement with Dhirrisa a secret come back to bite him? Stay tuned! And yes, checking up on Wei and Smooshy too! :)

Another note, regarding Harrad-Tor’s past as well as how he met Dhirissa, a more detailed description was written in one of my previous posts, ‘Next Steps and Preparations’, if you are interested.
~*~
Ranjani S.
Writing for

Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Chief of Security and Tactical
USS PHOENIX


 

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