First Officer’s Personal Log, Stardate 55006.4. It’s taken a bit of time to set in. I have a son who is almost four years old, and I have another child on the way. I’m trying to piece together when everything happened. Steve and I had a strong fling a little over four and a half years ago. I remember that well, but it’s the month after that may hold the answers.
“Hey” Jaimie said as she entered Sara’s office. “Any luck in the investigation?”
“I’ve pulled the logs of the Renegade, but I’m still having trouble retrieving your medical records.”
“It’s a mess,” Jaimie noted. “Patrick and I have been in contact with Starfleet Medical several times over the past two weeks. They have not been very helpful. What do you say about taking a break from your inquiry. Tiana’s birthday party is getting started in an hour.”
“It’s about time! By the way, how’s the little guy.”
“He’s doing great, though he seems to have a bit of cabin fever. He can’t wait to get on the surface of Aloran. From what I hear, Patrick pulled some of his old toys out of storage, and the girls can’t wait to meet Joshua.”
Jaimie and her son were one of the first to beam down to the surface of Aloran, where they were greeted warmly by the four sisters who called the planet home. “Hey,” Jessica stated, “how are you doing?”
“Fairly well,” Jaimie answered, “considering I have one on the way.”
“More than that. This must be Joshua. Hi, I’m Jessica, I’m one of Bridget’s sisters.”
“Hi,” Joshua replied. “Are you a big sister or little sister?”
“Bridget is my little sister. She’s the baby, and the most precious,” Jessica answered before turning back to Jaimie. “Patrick told me about what happened to you. It sounds like you are strong enough to take this challenge.”
“No matter what happened in the past,” Jaimie retorted, “he is my son.”
“What, do you suppose, might have happened?”
“Well, that’s the trouble. I was assigned to a security detail to transport a shipment of medicine to Archer IV. The night before the mission, I got a checkup. I remember that the attending physician had a terrible bedside manner. I’m glad Baldwin has a more personable, yet more efficient, medical staff. Anyway, after being inoculated, I went straight to my quarters for rest, and did not leave there until an hour before my deployment. After Steve took a moment to wish me well, I reported straight to the shuttlebay. I was issued my sidearm and sent with the first team. Once we got to the surface, that’s when things went downhill. Just as we were ready to enter the hospital, we were bombarded with photon grenades. I provided cover fire while the medical staff successfully delivered the medicine.”
“And for that,” Patrick commented as he entered the conversation, “you received a Starfleet Medal of Commendation. Did they ever identify the attackers?”
“No, they did not. However, scuttlebutt continues to persist linking this incident to the Syndicate.”
“Well, enough of this talk about the past. We’ve got cake and ice cream coming up in a few — ” His thoughts were interrupted by the proximity alarm.
“I think we have a little company,” Jessica stated.
“Oh, you think,” Patrick answered sarcastically as he checked the sensors. “It’s the Arikaree. Opening hailing frequencies.”
“Hey, Patrick,” Anna stated as she responded to her brother’s hail. “I’m sorry we’re late. We had a little trouble with Wildfire‘s engines that Steve had to fix before he was willing to head out. Hope we haven’t missed anything.“
“You’re just in time for cake and ice cream. We’ll see you when you land.”
“So, this is Joshua,” Anna stated as she headed out of the runabout.
“Indeed,” Jaimie said. “Joshua, this is your dad.”
“Hi,” Joshua said shyly.
“So, I hear you have a friend having a birthday. Did you make a present for her?” Joshua. nodded in the affirmative. “Good,” Steve answered before turning to Jaimie. “Any luck in solving our little mystery?”
“Nope,” Jaimie answered before Patrick called every one to attention.
Patrick lit the candle on a small birthday cake as he led everyone in a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday.’ He encouraged his little girl to blow out the solitary candle as Bridget cut a slightly larger cake for the rest of the party to enjoy. As everyone took turns receiving the cake, Steve started to make small talk with Bridget. “You must be my opposite number on Baldwin.”
“You must be Steve,” Bridget answered. “We finally meet face to face. How’s life on Wildfire treating you?”
“Fairly well. Settling in, still cleaning up that mess the ‘great shockwave’ made. Thanks for the advice, by the way.”
“No problem,” Bridget answered. “So, how does it feel to be a father?”
“I guess that little shock when Jaimie told me hasn’t quite worn off. Still, I wonder how no one noticed that Jaimie was pregnant with Joshua, much less determine that he was, for lack of a better term, kidnapped.”
“It’s a question we all want answered,” Bridget responded. “Knowing Patrick, he won’t rest until he gets answers.”
“I will stop for air once in a while, though,” Patrick interrupted. “I’ve done as much pushing as I can to get Jaimie’s records from Renegade. So far, it’s been all red tape.”
“While you’re up for air,” Bridget retorted as she pecked her husband, “could you take care of little miss messy face over there.”
“Sure, hon,” Patrick answered. “Before I do, I’ve got to remember to do one thing.” He promptly grabbed his camera and took pictures of his baby girl’s frosting covered face. “You know, one of these days Tiana, I’ll have to blackmail your boyfriend with these pictures. Then again, I’m sure his mom and dad will have some pictures of their own.” The young girl vocalized happily in response.
After everyone had their fill of cake and ice cream, Patrick called everyone to attention. “If I could have everyone’s ear for just a second: A couple of days ago, I received a message from Starfleet command. Jaimie, please step forward, and Joshua, you can come to.” Jaimie approached Patrick with her son in tow. “About four months before Tiana was born, you led a team to rescue me and destroy a ship that fell into the wrong hands. Although it seems like forever, Starfleet did not forget the bravery and leadership you displayed during the mission. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure in presenting you with the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor.” Applause rang out as Patrick pinned the medal to Jaimie’s uniform. “Hang on, I’m not done. I also have the pleasure to announce that you have been promoted to the rank of Commander. Come here, Joshua, I think you should do the honors.”
Patrick grabbed Joshua, handed him the box with the rank pip, and showed him which pip to replaced. As Jaimie’s son changed his mother’s rank pins, the gathered crowd resumed their applause while Bridget took pictures for her husband. After Joshua was finished, he proceeded to give Jaimie a kiss on the cheek. With that showing of affection, Patrick released Joshua to his mother, who gave her son a big hug before putting him down on the ground.
“This one is the best of the bunch,” Bridget commented as she and Patrick were looking over the pictures from the day’s events. “This one of Joshua putting the pip on Jaimie is precious.”
“You should know,” Patrick retorted, “you took that pic.”
“I had a good teacher,” Bridget answered as a ring indicated an incoming call. “Are you expecting someone to call?”
“No, but I’ll answer it anyway,” Patrick replied. The identification information indicated that the call was from Starbase 375. “This is Captain Ingrum, USS Baldwin.”
“Hi. My name is Jennifer Guaraldi, I’m Steve’s sister and a medical tech here at 375. I understand you’re having some trouble with some records off of Renegade.”
“Yes, we’ve been trying to get those records from Starfleet Medical for some time now.”
“I tried pulling her records to see what the problem was and found out they’re locked down. Someone has marked the records as classified. You’re going to need a sigma-nine clearance just to find out who ordered them sealed.“
“Thanks, Jennifer. That’s good to know. I’ll take it from here. I’ll see if I can get some friends at Starfleet Intelligence to help me out.”
The next morning, Patrick promptly followed up on the tip he received from Jennifer, making secure calls to Starfleet Intelligence. “Good morning, Captain,” answered an officer at Starfleet Intelligence’s headquarters on Earth. “How can I assist you.”
“I need to get access to some records that I’ve been told are sealed,” Patrick replied. “Specifically, I need to pull the medical records of Jaimie Petrelli from between Stardate 50620 and Stardate 50932.”
“Okay, it looks like those records have been sealed as part of an ongoing investigation. Is there a particular reason that you are interested in these records?“
“This investigation affects one of… make that my most important member of my crew.”
“Understood,” the intelligence officer replied. “It looks like Admiral Donaldson has been anticipating your request. There’s a personal handling note indicating that he is willing to have you read into the investigation. How soon can you report to Starbase 159.“
“I always keep a runabout waiting. I can be there tomorrow morning.”
“Understood. Also, I suggest you bring your legal officer along. We’ve done most of the legwork we need to do to give her clearance, we just need her to fill out some paperwork.“
En route, a message was sent to the Neosho. “Incoming transmission from Starbase 159,” Sara stated as a sequence of beeps alerted her to the message’s presence.
“I’ve been expecting it,” Patrick answered as he downloaded the contents of the message onto a PADD.
“What’s this for?”
“Starfleet Intelligence has pre-authorized you for a sigma nine clearance level. You just need to sign here to accept it.”
“Understood,” Sara replied as she signed the clearance form. “I take it that’s why you brought me along instead of Stephanie or Bridget?”
“Precisely,” Patrick answered. “I think Admiral Donaldson wants a JAG officer in the loop, which is probably why they fast-tracked you for clearance.”
“Enter,” Admiral Donaldson stated as his doorbell rang. “Captain Ingrum, I’ve been expecting you. Before I start, I must remind you that this investigation remains classified, and the details of this meeting must not be disseminated without permission under penalty of court-martial.”
“Understood, Admiral,” Patrick and Sara responded.
“Very well. We are investigating Orion trafficking network. Young females from around the edges of Federation space are being kidnapped and eventually sold into slavery, as well as being forced into becoming surrogate mothers for stolen fetuses, much like Commander Petrelli’s son. Our number one suspect is a very potent female named Malina. We couldn’t get anything to stick to her regarding trafficking, however, she did get sent to a Romulan Prison on another charge.”
“Kemocite smuggling,” Patrick commented, “along with destroying a Warbird and killing its crew.”
“You’ve crossed paths with her before, then?”
“Not directly, but we gave the Romulans a hand in capturing her.”
“We believe that she may still be running the operation from Romulan space. We have insiders that suggest that the prison guards can be bribed easily. We also still have the issue of a possible mole in Starfleet.”
“Indeed,” Sara commented. “Jaimie has an ironclad account of her whereabouts for the entire duration of the Archer IV mission. The traffickers would not have had the time to perform the procedure planet-side. That’s part of the reason why we sought out those medical records in the first place.”
“We’ve already gone over her records with someone from Starfleet medical,” the Admiral explained. “He noted that two separate physicals of Miss Petrelli — taken before and after the Archer IV mission — were identical. I’m an intelligence officer, not a doctor, but even I know that means that something is not right.”
“In other words, whomever placed those records in Jaimie’s file had something to hide.”
“Both records were signed off on by Dr. Claude Eccleston, Renegade‘s CMO. Unfortunately, our attempts to locate him have been less than fruitful.
“Are you sure he was not a casualty of the Dominion War?”
“He was assigned to the Comfort for most of the war. Once the war was over, he was eligible, requested, and received a honorable discharge. Since then, he’s been off the grid. We’ve been trying for months to find him.”
“You think he’s our best lead into this part of the syndicate?”
“He’s our only person that we know, besides Malina, that could be involved in this trafficking scheme. Everyone else has managed to hide behind a cloud of anonymity.”
“I know someone who might be able to locate him. I’ll need to pull a few favors, but I figure she can find him within a couple of weeks.”
“Hey,” a female patron said to the bartender as she came up to the bar. “Aldebaran whiskey, straight.”
“Sure thing,” the bartender replied. While the bartender prepared the woman’s drink, a middle aged man approached her. “That’s kind of a strong drink.”
“Don’t worry,” the woman answered, “I can handle my liquor. Name’s Rebecca Davies.”
“Just call be Claude,” the man replied. “I’ve seen you in an out of here a few times over the past couple of weeks, and I can’t help but notice that you’ve been watching me in particular.”
“Sounds like you’re either paranoid,” Rebecca responded, “or you’re hiding from someone.”
“Very astute, Miss Davies,” Claude replied. “I also know that you’re a former Vredo assassin who misjudged a certain Starfleet officer.”
“The emphasis is on former. I’m retired from the killing game.”
“So, what’s a former marksman like you doing in a place like this? Did the Syndicate send for you.”
“Why would they want to hire a washed up two-bit hit man to not kill you. Let’s just say I have a friend who wants to know about your time on the USS Renegade.”
A look of panic spread across Claude’s face. “They told me nobody would be hurt and that nobody would notice. I’m sorry that Commander Petrelli got caught in this.”
“The way you talk, you seem less worried about Starfleet than you are of the Syndicate.”
“It sounds like your fishing for information from me.”
“Like I said, I have a friend who wants some information. Whether or not you want to discuss it with me right now, or wait for a professional interrogator — that’s up to you.”
“All right, I’ll answer your questions, on one condition.”
“What would that be.”
“You buy my drinks tonight.”
“I can do that,” Rebecca stated with a sly grin. “Besides, I want to see how much alcohol a former Starfleet doctor can take.”
“Captain,” Donna announced, “we have an incoming vessel coming in at a good clip.”
“On screen.” Patrick quickly observed the ship on the viewer before giving his next instruction. “Alert shuttlebay two that they have an incoming vessel. Open a channel.”
“Rebecca, I wasn’t expecting you for some time now. I assume you managed to find our person of interest.”
“I did,” she replied, “and after that, I drank him under the table.“
“Very well. You’re clear to land in bay 2. You can debrief me in the ready room.”
After being debriefed by Rebecca, then having lunch with Bridget, Patrick called a meeting between Patrick, Rebecca, Jaimie, Sara, and Bridget in the Astrometrics Lab. At 1300, Patrick contacted Admiral Donaldson and asked him to join the conversation. The Admiral also cleared Jaimie and Bridget to hear information that may otherwise be classified. “I must find it a bit ironic,” the Admiral noted, “that Miss Davies is your informant. She did, after all, attempt to kill you.“
“It wasn’t personal. Hell, I even came to enjoy it when his brother visited me in New Zealand. Anyway, I did a little bar hopping. Just as you suspected, Claude was living off the grid. However, it wasn’t Starfleet he was running from.”
“Oh, really?” Admiral Donaldson commented.
“I didn’t call you up to talk about Dr. Eccleston,” Patrick stated. “Tell the Admiral what you learned about Malina.”
“According to the doctor, he and Malina were raised together, that his father and her mother were business and sexual partners. Apparently, when Malina was in her teens, her mother noticed that her libido was low. Malina’s mother considered a mental illness that she was not addicted to sex. Anyway, according to Claude, she was taken to Adigeon Prime to ‘correct’ her deficiency.”
“It was a bit more than that,” Patrick chimed in. “I contacted Dr. Murrow. He confirms he re-sequenced the DNA of a teen-aged Orion female during his time on Adigeon. In addition to boosting her sexual drive, her physical and mental capabilities were enhanced. In short, if the Wild Roses were the pinnacle of Dr. Murrow’s career, Malina is their prototype.”
“It seems,” Bridget indicated, “that this ‘black rose’ has been made into someone who is cunning, manipulative, and irresistible.”
“Based on what we can tell,” Admiral Donaldson added, “she has legions of operatives in the palm of her hand. This information makes it clear that she is one of the most dangerous persons in the Alpha Quadrant.”
“One thing I should note,” Rebecca chimed in, “Although Claude was involved in Malina’s crime ring, he is doing everything he can to avoid her grasp. I might be able to help get him into Starfleet custody. If it means breaking away from Malina, he is willing to accept his fate.”
“Very well,” Admiral Donaldson noted, “Make it so.”
Inside a Romulan prison cell, Malina awaited the prison guards to bring her evening meal. Even though she was imprisoned, her operation continued to run. She knew how to ‘charm’ every guard into passing information back to her lieutenants, and also made sure they were handsomely rewarded for doing so. Today, however, her servants were running late. What’s taking them so long, she thought. Those guards have always been punctual.
After a few minutes, a different set of guards, armed with disruptors, entered her holding area. “Orion Prisoner,” stated one of the guards, “you are being sent to the isolation area.”
“That’s no fun,” Malina replied as she gave her hostile company her best pout.
“You’ve had your fun,” the guard replied. “You will either come with us or we will be forced to terminate you with extreme prejudice.”
“I’d rather do neither,” Malina replied as the guards dropped the force field. Before they could react, the Orion had bolted in between both guards, grabbed their shooting arms, and crushed their wrists. She immediately grabbed the disruptors. “You know,” she said, “killing you with guns is much too easy.” She promptly placed one disruptor in her right hand and began to squeeze the firearm into a tightly packed ball. “Betcha never saw that one coming,” she said as she punched a hole into both of the guard’s heads.
A remote center was monitoring the vital signs of both of the guards. Upon notification that both had been terminated, alarm klaxons began to sound. “Attention,” stated the warden over the PA system. “This prison is under lock down until further notice.”
No rest for the wicked, Malina thought. However, I do know a good shortcut to the shuttlebay.
Patrick had just left the sonic shower when his wife approached him in an embrace. “Something’s troubling you, isn’t it.”
“Yeah. Intel reports from Romulus indicated that Malina has demonstrated the full extent of her abilities.”
“In a shuttlecraft with a cloaking device, no less. It’s very likely she’ll be able to make it all the way to Federation space.”
“You know everyone in Starfleet will be after her if she gets anywhere near a Federation world.”
“That may be so, but she’s got a way with just about every gender of every warp-capable species in two quadrants. She’s capable, even more so than a typical Orion woman, of making anyone do anything she wants. However, two Romulan guards tried to resist, and they wound up with an 8-centimeter hole in their skulls.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Bridget noted as she began to embrace her husband, “besides, you’ve got yourself seven sisters who would be more than happy to take her on.”
“Point well taken,” Patrick commented as he took a deep breath. “You know, there’s something about you. When we’re close like this, I feel the tension melt away.” As he collected his thoughts, Patrick came to a quick realization. “That’s it. Pheromones.”
“What about pheromones?” Bridget asked.
“Orion Females have a set of pheromones that can trigger arousal and aggression in most males. If Malina had everything else boosted by her genetic augmentation, it would make sense that her pheromone output has also been boosted.”
“And you think that my pheromones are even stronger.”
“In a way. I’d say yours have a more calming effect, perhaps as a enhancement to your personable nature.”
“Oh, yeah,” Bridget retorted. “So, tell me, what are you feeling right now.” Without a further word, Bridget grabbed Patrick’s wrists and turned her piercing emerald green eyes into her husband’s. “Your eyes have dilated, and I can feel your pulse rate picking up.” Bridget promptly wrapped her arms around and gave Patrick a big kiss before continuing. “I’d say I have a little bit of control over my pheromones as well. I do see where you’re going. The best way to combat a augment is with a augment that we can trust. So, if we can get one of my sisters planted in the middle of Malina’s trafficking ring, we can bust it wide open. Brilliant.”
“You think you can find someone up to the task?”
“Sure I will, as soon as I finish what I’ve started,” she stated. Patrick looked into his wife’s eyes and saw the lust and desire that she had reflected on him. “It’s going to be a long night,” she said as she pushed him onto the bed.
“Captain,” Donna stated, “we have a bogey bearing 210 mark 5.”
“Let’s get a visual.” The main viewer changed to display the craft. “Magnify.” As the viewer zoomed in on the craft, Patrick breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s a Starfleet fighter. Open a channel.”
“Channel open,” Donna remarked.
The main viewer changed from displaying the fighter to showing the craft’s pilots. “Jessica, Katie,” Patrick stated, “it’s good to see you. What brings you out here?”
“Bridget called this morning, she said something about busting a ring involving Joshua.“
“Absolutely. Donna, clear the fighter for bay 1. I’ll discuss the details with you once you are aboard.”
Claude Eccleston was packing his clothing, ready to move on to his next destination. Although the Starfleet agent he encountered was nice enough to cut him loose, he couldn’t afford to stay put any longer. “Going somewhere,” came a voice from behind him.
“What are you doing here?” Claude inquired.
“Watching out for my own, little brother,” Malina responded. “I’m not about to give up on you that easily.”
“Haven’t you gotten enough blood on your own hands?”
“I take it you heard about how I freed myself from that Romulan hell hole. I’ve been thinking I’ve been holding myself back too long. Why settle for little old trafficking schemes when I can have the entire quadrant in the palm of my hand.”
“Many have tried, all have failed. Even a fellow augment had a go at it, he’s basically penned up in his little zone of comfort.”
“That sounds like a challenge,” Malina responded with an evil grin on her face. “Why don’t we start by showing Mr. Khan just how weak he has become.”