Intelcraft

By ginamr

Rating: G

Genres: adventure au drama general romance virtual season

Keywords:

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Star Trek: The Continuing Voyages of the Enterprise
A Virtual Season 5 Series

By Ginamr

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Only new characters and plots are mine. The original characters belong to Paramount. I receive no monetary reward for my work; my only reward is the joy of creating.
Summary: Continuing story of my Virtual Season 5 series

Author's Note: I know I keep changing which canon details I'm including. I've decided for certain to throw out the fact from TATV that Trip and T'Pol ended their romantic relationship after Terra Prime as well as the fact that Trip dies in TATV. So this is your warning: what you're about to read might throw some canon you've been shown by B & B out the window. I'm going out on the limb here so please don't stone me! ::cowers::.

The four # are for otherwise unnoticeable point-of-view shifts.

Oh and in case you all were ever curious, Trip's height is 5'11. I found it here (it follows logically that the character is about the same height as the actor in most cases so...).

Also, all of Season Five will be posted in revised format here under the penname ginamr since I most likely won't finish this next story until after New Years.

 


 

Last Time on Star Trek: Enterprise...In Body and Mind

 


5.12-Intelcraft, Inc.

Summary: There's trouble when Reed discovers that one of Starfleet's highest ranking officers, Admiral Greene, might be a traitor. Can he, with the help of T'Pol and Trip, reveal the truth?

 


 

UES Sanctuary-Reed's Temporary Quarters
November 20th, 2155-1143 hours

Reed sighed, massaging his temples in an attempt to ease the throbbing that had been building over the last several hours. He'd looked through Greene's record several times over and he still hadn't found anything to support his suspicions. So far, Gannett's findings were holding up. The man's record was spotless, which made him wonder if it hadn't been doctored by Greene himself.

He straightened when a vague court-martial record caught his eye. He dug deeper, running a search for any news stories over the last six months that made mention of Greene and a court-martial. He grinned with satisfaction as he noted at least two complete matches. He opened the first one, skimming the contents. Only a few months ago, Admiral Greene had been taken into custody by Starfleet Security on accusations of fraud and embezzlement of Space Probe Agency funds. 

Reed frowned. "The charges were later dismissed when the person who had come forward with these charges admitted to reporting a false incident under the duress of an unknown party whom she refused to name. The female, a former member of the Office of Starfleet Security, died of a heart attack while serving a two year incarceration at Starfleet's Lunar Penal facility," he read. 

The circumstances were certainly suspicious. It seemed that, even if the accusations were false, someone had been out to get Greene. The details of the charges set the wheels of his mind in motion and the words fraud and embezzlement struck a chord. Could it be possible that Admiral Greene was one of several agents handing information off to the Romulans? What did Intelcraft, Inc. have to do with all of this? 

Reed frowned and his headache intensified as he tried to formulate a logical conclusion from all of the events of the last several days. There was a great deal of information to enter into the equation, making the solution even more complicated with each added piece. He was getting ahead of himself. This needed to be taken step by step. First, he needed to investigate Admiral Greene and, if necessary, expose him for what he was. 

He looked up when he heard the doors open, and Trip entered with T'Pol behind him. "Any luck?"  

Reed smiled and nodded. "A little. I think we may have our first lead."

 


 

Earth-San Francisco, California-Chronicle Headquarters
November 28th, 2155-1345 hours

The woman behind the desk was staring at him as though he were the devil incarnate. "You want to see who?"

 "Melody Harpe," he replied, exasperated.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. It was the third time she'd asked and she was still making no move to help him.

She made no movement toward the phone, instead asking, "And why do you want to see her?"

"Bloody hell," he muttered. "Just tell her Malcolm Reed wishes to speak with her."

The woman turned toward the phone and picked up the receiver. A moment later, she began speaking. "I apologize, ma'am, but there's a Mister Malcolm Reed here who insists on seeing you." She paused, listening for a moment. "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yes, ma'am. I understand. I'll take care of it ma'am."

Setting the receiver down in its cradle, she turned back toward Reed, almost smirking. "She doesn't know you, you don't have an appointment, and she doesn't want to see you."

Reed hesitated only a moment before moving toward the office door, the other woman protesting behind him. He opened the door to find a prim, dark-haired woman with large, round spectacles sitting at a desk staring at a document reader.

Out the window was a view of the industrialized city of San Francisco, complete with skyscrapers tickling the bottoms of the sparse clouds, the ocean, and the sun glinting off of the spectacular structure of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

He returned his attention to the woman at the desk, who was now staring at something beside him. Turning, he found the secretary next to him, looking flustered.

"Ami..." Melody began.

The flush of Ami's cheeks deepened and she looked on the verge of tears. "I'm so sorry, ma'am. He pushed right past me.

Reed grinned wryly. "Now that I'm here, perhaps we should talk."

Ami opened her mouth to protest, but Melody smiled and nodded. As Ami exited the office, she glared at Reed and raised her nose in the air, closing the door behind her.

Melody removed her spectacles and gestured at the chair in front of her desk, the smile gone from her features. "Please sit down, Mister Reed."

"I prefer to stand," Reed replied his face a neutral mask.

She nodded. "Very well, then. Let's get on with this. What's so important for you to speak with me about that you had to shove past my secretary to do so?"

Reed raised his eyebrows, unsure if she was stringing him along. She must have known why he was here to have dismissed him so quickly. "An article that you wrote concerning Admiral Greene's court-martial."

She glanced at him, a somewhat curious expression crossing her features. "I've written a lot of articles in my time, Mister Reed. You'll have to be more specific."

He smirked, now certain that she was stringing him along. "The charges were later dismissed when the person who had come forward with these charges admitted to reporting a false incident under the duress of an unknown party whom she refused to name. The female, a former member of the Office of Starfleet Security, died of a heart attack while serving a two year incarceration at Starfleet's Lunar Penal facility," he repeated.

Her eyebrows shot up, though she carefully kept her features neutral. By the simple eyebrow gesture, he thought that perhaps she was surprised that he had remembered that paragraph word for word. "Ah. Yes, well...you may ask, but I can't guarantee that I'll answer," she replied.

His brows furrowed in an expression of intent and concentration. "Your investigation of Greene..."

"Was interrupted," she finished, grinning wryly.

"How? In what way?" Reed asked.

She stiffened in her seat, her face becoming a firm mask. "I'm not at liberty to say."

"Miss Harpe..." Reed began in a serious tone.

Her spine became even more rigid when she realized he wasn't about to let her get away with a statement as bland as that. "This conversation is over," she stated firmly. "Chris will show you out."

He turned to find a tall, muscular man with dark hair and a large nose standing right behind him. She must have summoned security between my entering and my questioning, he thought.

His gaze lingered on the man for several moments. It wouldn't do to make a scene. If Greene heard that Reed was here in San Francisco, it could cause the man to become suspicious and possibly to flee.

His gaze returned to Melody, his expression promising that she was by no means rid of him, and then exited the office, walking ahead of the security guard.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Outside Chronicle Headquarters
November 28th, 2155-1412 hours

Reed turned back around to stare at the tall building, an agitated expression on his face. He would get her address from Harris and go to see her tonight.

"I take it things didn't go well?" a voice asked behind him.

He turned again to find his two colleagues standing behind him, Trip smirking.

Reed sighed. "Not as well as I'd expected, no." He scowled. "She's most definitely hiding something."

T'Pol's eyebrows shot up. "Perhaps she knows more about the Admiral's court-martial than she is offering."

Reed nodded, his brows furrowed. "I intend to find out."

"At least let me go with ya this time," Trip said, frowning.

Shaking his head, Reed scrubbed a hand over his face. "It'll look even more suspicious if there's two of us. I'm better off going alone." He paused, his gaze sliding to T'Pol. "How did your investigation go at the Vulcan Compound?"

"Not well. It would appear that my clearance has been revoked," she replied levelly.

A confused expression crossed Trip's features. "Did ya know?"

She shook her head, her brows drawing together in concentration. "No. This is a recent development."

"That seems awfully suspicious," Trip added, his confusion growing.

T'Pol raised an eyebrow. "It's logical considering that my commissions with the High Command and the Security Ministry were terminated."

"Yeah, but," Trip countered, "...your commissions were terminated months ago. It would make more sense for them to have revoked your clearance then, too."

T'Pol paused and nodded. "Which logically means that either those at the compound were attempting to hide their errors in security or that they are covering up for the being who replaced the assassinated junior ambassador shortly before his death."

Reed nodded. "We'll look into it after we've investigated Greene. Let's concentrate on one thing at a time."

T'Pol nodded and the three headed toward the Glenmark Motel, the quaint little motel a couple of miles down the street where they were staying.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Outside of Melody Harpe's Apartment Building
November 29th, 2155-0001 hours

Reed looked down at the paper again to be sure he had the right address. Once he'd confirmed that the two addresses matched, he strode toward the locked front door. Checking to be sure that no one was watching, he pulled a computer-like device from his pocket, connected it to the little machine that served as a lock on the door, and then entered the decoding sequence.

Moments later, he smirked when the little screen showed him the code. He disconnected the device and slipped it into his pocket. Again, he looked around to be sure that no one was watching and entered the code the screen had shown him. There was a soft click and he turned the handle, slipping inside the building.

He climbed several flights of stairs before he at last reached the sixth floor and moved quietly down the hallway until he came to apartment 666. Knocking lightly on the door, he stepped back slightly. A moment later, the door opened and revealed a woman very different from the one he'd seen this afternoon. Her spectacles were gone and her long, black hair hung in waves behind her shoulders. She wore a thin, knee-length periwinkle blue nightdress with a matching robe that was pulled back at the shoulder just enough to reveal a sliver of her milky white, bare shoulders.

She slipped her spectacles on, and once she realized who it was she stiffened. "What are you doing here?"

Reed smirked. "You really didn't think you'd get rid of me that easily, did you?"

Glaring at him for a moment, she sighed and gestured him inside. Once she'd closed the door, she moved off toward her bedroom to change into something more decent for male company. Reed checked the room thoroughly before making himself comfortable on the couch.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Ruby's Place
November 29th, 2155-0003 hours

Trip took a drink of his beer and looked around the room. Some faces were familiar and some weren't. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched T'Pol sipping the tea that Ruby had made especially for her. For the fifth time since they'd entered the bar, he found himself wishing that they'd gone to the teahouse T'Pol had recommended.

He'd mainly chosen Ruby's so that the two of them could keep an eye on Malcolm, but a bar was no place for a Vulcan, much less a lady. A round of loud, obnoxious laughter from the table in the corner drew his gaze and he saw two men, one bald and overweight, the other with dark hair and in fairly good shape, talking while gesturing wildly at T'Pol.

The man on the left had one hand in his pocket and was giving T'Pol lustful looks between snatches of conversation. The one on the right, however, appeared to be having a laugh at his colleague's expense and had only glanced at her once. Trip glared at the two for a moment before turning away from them.

Another beer was set in front of him and he looked up, encountering Ruby's smiling face. "Here you go, Trip," she said.

Trip smiled and nodded his thanks before downing the remainder of the one that he'd been drinking. "Thanks Ruby."

Her eyebrows shot up and her smile widened. "Well? Aren't you going to throw out another round of guesses? I don't think there's a time that you've been in here that you haven't."

Trip paused and shook his head. "Ya know, I don't think I will. I must have gone through every Human name in the book." He frowned. "They're not Human names, are they?"

She smirked. "Maybe...maybe not."

Chuckling, Trip took a drink of the beer that she'd just brought him. He supposed he hadn't ever wanted to marry her. Guessing her kids' names had been more of a challenge than anything and Trip Tucker never turned down a challenge

**

T'Pol watched the camaraderie between the two, her brows furrowing. She felt as though the two were in their own world and that neither was even aware of her presence.

**

Trip smiled, sensing her reaction through the bond, and turned toward her. "Ruby, this is T'Pol."

Ruby nodded. "I remember." She turned to T'Pol and a smile crossed her lips. "If it hadn't been for that gentleman, I might have had to teach those drunks the proper way to treat a lady."

T'Pol's gaze locked with Ruby's and, if Trip hadn't known any better, he could have sworn he saw the T'Pol's lips tilt up slightly. "Indeed I was very fortunate. I believe his name was Eric Jameson."

Suddenly, someone was shouting across the room. "All right, all right!" Ruby shouted back. She inclined her head at the two and moved to help the impatient patron.

Trip frowned. "You know Cap'n Jameson?"

T'Pol nodded and paused. "I wasn't aware that he'd been promoted to Captain. I must remember to congratulate him." She turned away, taking a sip of her tea. "He was the first Human who treated me with kindness, despite...biological...differences."

Again, the loud laughter rang through the bar and again, Trip turned toward the table in the corner. The bald man had an expression of agitation and intent on his face as he gazed at T'Pol. Looking away, Trip dug in his pockets and threw several credit chits onto the table, hoping that it would cover the bill. He then stood and gripped T'Pol's arm.

"Come on," he whispered.

T'Pol raised an eyebrow and Trip, sighing in exasperation, jerked his head toward where the two men sat. Her gaze locked momentarily with the gaze of the overweight man, catching the intent in his eyes before returning her gaze to Trip and nodding, then allowing him to pull her from the bar without protest.

Once they were a meter or so from the front door, they heard a voice shouting after them. Trip turned to see the overweight man following them. His grip on T'Pol's arm tightened slightly and he increased his pace.

**

Sensing his agitation, she pulled her arm gently from his grip and slid her hand down to his, interlacing her fingers with his. She gave a reassuring squeeze as the two rounded the corner of the avenue away from the bar.

**

Tom frowned, staring hard at the two as he tried to remember what they looked like. The moment they'd rounded the corner out of sight, he headed back toward his condo in the opposite direction. The boss would want to hear about this.


B<>Earth-San Francisco, California-Melody Harpe's Apartment
November 29th, 2155-0013 hours

Reed sighed. "I think you know why I'm here, so why don't we skip straight to the point."

She stiffened. "Yes, I know why you're here. I also know that you have no right to chase after me in this manner. I could contact the authorities and have you arrested."

Reed grinned, his gaze locking with her. "You could...but you won't." He stood, striding toward her and placed his hands on her shoulders. "If you know anything else about Greene's court-martial, you need to tell me. I believe he might be connected to Intelcraft, Inc.'s miraculous financial recovery."

She glared coolly at him and placed her hands on top of his, sliding them off of her shoulders. "Add assault to the list."

He sighed, running his hands through his hair. "Melody..." he began, hoping that a less formal tone would relax her.

"That's Miss Harpe to you," she retorted angrily.

Grunting in frustration, he scrubbed a hand over his face. "Bloody hell. Miss Harpe, then. This is serious. Not only will the Romulans invade Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar, Alpha Centauri, and Denobula, but Earth as well. I need you to tell me what you know."

She pouted. "I can't."

"Can't...or won't?" He reached out a hand and lifted her chin so that their gazes locked. "Can't...or won't?"

She looked down, examining her hands. "Both."

Reed frowned. "Someone's after you, aren't they?"

Her eyes met his, surprise evident in her features. "I..."

The fear in her eyes brought back memories of his first assignment for Section 31 as a naïve ensign. He'd been ordered to kill a man who was considered a threat to Section 31's security. As though he were there again, he saw the glint of the blood-covered knife, the scent of oxidized iron reaching his nostrils as he held the weapon in his bloody, shaking hands. His stomach churned at the smell and the knife fell from his hands moments before he turned, dropped to his knees, and wretched up the meager late night meal he'd eaten.   Sighing, he shook his head in an attempt to push the memory away.

**

His eyes were locked with hers and she could almost see the horrors unfolding in his memory. His eyes were wide and his face was pale as though he'd seen a ghost. She gripped her lower lip between her teeth and sympathy flooded her. No doubt the horrors of his past were like ghosts, as fresh in his mind as if they'd happened yesterday. He did seem to be in the sort of business where new horrors were recorded into his mind each day. His face contorted in a half-grimace as though he were going to be sick. She pulled away, ready to retrieve a glass of water for him when he broke her gaze and seemed to snap out of his trance.

**

He cleared his throat once again meeting her gaze. "I can protect you...but you can't stay here."

She gaped at him in disbelief. "But this is my HOME. Where would I go?"

He closed his eyes for a moment before opening them and sighed heavily. "You can't stay here. It's too dangerous." He paused a moment. "I have connections with the Captain of the UES Sanctuary. She'll take you anywhere you'd like to go."

She stood before him, speechless for a moment. "I...I couldn't take advantage of you like that. I..."

He raised a hand to cut her off, a small smile forming on his lips. "You're not. This is a trade. You tell me what I need to know and I'll protect you by any means necessary. Do we have a deal?"

She hesitated only a moment before smiling in return and taking his extended hand. "We have a deal, Mister Reed."

His smile widened. "Malcolm, please."

Her eyes glinted teasingly. "All right...Malcolm." She paused. "I have a friend. His name is Marcus Phelps and he was a mailroom clerk at Intelcraft, Inc. before he was fired for inappropriate office behavior. I'll have him meet you in the alley behind Kat's Place at midnight tonight."

Reed nodded, releasing her hand and moved toward the door. When he was halfway out he turned back toward her. "I'll see you soon, Melody."

She nodded, still grinning, and he closed the door behind him.

**

After he'd gone, she looked down at the palm of her hand and saw a piece of folded paper there. She opened it and found his contact information. She immediately moved toward her desk and opened a communiqué, being sure to use the encryption procedures.

Moments later, the shabby face of Marcus Phelps appeared on the screen, his eyes red as though he was suffering from an intense hangover.

"Marcus, I need a favor," she began.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Starfleet Headquarters-Greene's Office
November 29th, 2155-0956 hours

Greene frowned, staring at the screen. "A Vulcan? Who was she with?"

Tom paused, his eyes narrowed in concentration. " 'e was white with short dirty blond hair, about 5'11...he looked to be in his mid-thirties."

A wry grin crossed Greene's lips and he sighed. "The Engineer from Enterprise. What did he do while he was at the bar?"

Again, Tom paused to think. "He had a good amount to drink and talked to Ruby for a bit."

"What did they talk about?" Greene asked with a slight amount of anxiety in his voice.

Tom shrugged. "I was too far away to hear."

Greene grimaced and nodded. "Thank you for informing me, Tom. Miss Butterfield will have your payment."

Tom nodded and smirked. "Yes, sir. Pleasure doing business with you." The communiqué was then cut and the smile slipped from Greene's face. The next time Cross contacted him, they would discuss why Cross hadn't informed him that Commander T'Pol had left Enterprise. It seemed the man needed to be reminded of his duties.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Alley Behind Kat's Place
November 30th, 2155-0022 hours,/B>

Reed looked around the alley once again, narrowing his eyes in search of their contact. Melody had said he would be here at 0000 hours. It was now 0022. He was beginning to suspect that she'd only said what she had to get him out. The memory of her face floated to the forefront of his mind and he shook his head. He was almost sure that she'd been genuine.

A loud crash snapped him out of his reverie and he was instantly alert, his gaze narrowed at the set of garbage cans where the noise had originated. Tension surged through every muscle in his body and his heart raced as he waited for the emergence of the spy that was sure to follow.

"What?" Trip asked behind him, but he didn't answer.

He stared at the cans for a moment longer, sighing in relief when a black, bandy-legged cat bolted down the alleyway from behind the receptacles, and his body relaxed.

He was surprised at how fast his training had come back to him. It was as though he'd never left Section 31. His reflexes were as sharp as they'd been just before he'd resigned.

He turned to find Trip and T'Pol waiting patiently, though Trip was beginning to shift from foot to foot. T'Pol stood at attention, her expression neutral and her hands clasped firmly behind her back.

"Malcolm Reed?" a voice from behind him called.

He turned in time to see a stout, shaggy man stepping into the flickering streetlamp. Reed narrowed his eyes, simply staring at the man for a moment. "Who's asking?"

The shaggy man grinned. "Marcus Phelps."

Again Reed stared at the man for a moment before replying. "You're late," he said austerely.

Phelps's hazel eyes glinted in amusement. "Don't get yer undies in a twist. I showed up, didn' I?"

Reed's features tightened as he restrained the urge to turn and walk away. The man clearly had a death wish. He turned, exchanging a look with Trip, whose expression was one of mild amusement. He arched his eyebrows and shrugged. Reed turned back toward Phelps, his eyes boring into the man in warning. "If you can't be bothered with showing up on time, how do I know that I can trust your information?"

Phelps chuckled. "This information," he began, waving a pad. "Comes from me partner, Bennie. He's a janitor at Intelcraft. He and the big boss are best buddies."

Reed smiled wryly, shaking his head. "And how do I know I can trust your partner, Bennie?"

The man was far too at ease. He was acting as though he did this sort of thing every day. Considering the man's appearance and attitude he might well be a spy on the inside of several large companies, selling confidential corporate information to whoever offered the best price. Still yet, this didn't feel genuine. Reed sensed that something was wrong.

"Oh, for an agent, Bennie's as honest as they come," Phelps replied earnestly, handing the pad to Reed.

He took it, skimming the contents. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Trip looking over his shoulder. He didn't doubt Trip would pick up on the fact that they were being given warehouse schematics where Greene no doubt had a trap set for them.

He glanced up to see that Phelps had disappeared and turned fully toward Trip and T'Pol. "Our source was oddly cooperative, don't you think?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.

Trip grinned wryly. "Yeah." He paused. "Ya know, schematics aren't usually that detailed. Believe me. Some of the ones we use in Engineerin' on board Enterprise usually have really crucial sections missing from them."

Reed nodded. "Yes. It seems that he has the warehouse rigged."

Trip exchanged a significant glance with T'Pol his eyebrows furrowed. "So then, what're we goin' ta do?"

Reed paused, seeming to be deep in thought. A moment later, he sighed and replied, "We break in, I suppose."

Trip frowned. "But if we do, we'll get caught, won't we?"

"Yes. Which is why we're going to break into his office at Headquarters," Reed replied.


<>IEarth-San Francisco, California-Outside Starfleet Headquarters
December 1st, 2155-0006 hours

Trip looked up and down the street, his face itching from the woolly black ski mask pulled down to conceal his identity. Reed was bent over the door handle, entering the code from the pad Harris had given him. He heard a faint click and, out of the corner of his eye, saw Reed open the door and enter the building with T'Pol following him. Taking one last look around, Trip entered behind them.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Starfleet Headquarters-Lobby
December 1st, 2155-0010 hours

Reed held out an arm to halt his colleagues, his gaze searching the room. A few moments later, his eyes fell on a black box on the opposite wall. He motioned for Trip to follow him, then edged along the wall. The two reached the box and slowly removed the cover so that they didn't set off any alarms.

"Hold this," Trip whispered, handing Reed a flashlight. The Lieutenant held the light up to the box and Trip squinted. "A little higher and a little closer...Perfect."

Trip studied the matrix of wires for a moment before reaching into his hidden pocket and removing a pair of wire cutters. He first severed the red wire, followed by the green, and then last, the blue. Stripping the ends of each, he connected the red wire to the circuit for the blue, the green to the red, and then the blue to the green.

"That should do it," he whispered, replacing the cover.

To ensure that the system was disabled, Reed pulled a shilling from his pocket and rolled it slowly on its edge across the floor. Several long seconds later, the coin fell flat on the floor. The two men sighed in relief and made their way toward the staircase, T'Pol following.

Reed pulled a communicator from his pocket and placed it in Trip's gloved hand. "If you see anyone coming, let us know. If my communicator's been disabled, get out and contact Harris," Reed whispered.

Trip nodded and the other two headed up the stairs, stopping occasionally to be sure that they weren't tripping any alarms.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Starfleet Headquarters-Corridor
December 1st, 2155-0015 hours

Once they'd reached the top of the stairs, Reed looked ahead of them and then to the left, tilting his head toward the latter. T'Pol nodded, moving ahead of him and holding up the hand-held light, searching the name plaques on the doors for Greene's. When at last they found it, she pointed the light at the panel while Reed entered yet another code Harris had given them.


Earth-San Francisco, California-Starfleet Headquarters-Greene's Office
December 1st, 2155-0022 hours

The door opened and Reed stepped inside cautiously, entering the code Harris had given him for Greene's individual system. After it had been disabled and the contents of Harris's pad erased, he turned to find T'Pol already making herself comfortable at Greene's computer. He moved to stand behind her. The movements of her fingers halted and she turned to look at him, both eyebrows raised.

He brought his hands up and stepped back, giving her space to work. Several dozen keystrokes later, a message box popped up on the screen that read 'passcode required'.

"Try his service number. SC0112436," Reed offered.

She entered the letters and numbers only to get another box that read 'passcode denied'. Again, she turned toward him. He frowned, his brow furrowed in concentration. "Try the code for his security system. 6401125."

Turning back toward the monitor, she entered the numbers. 'Passcode accepted' the box read. Moments later, the desktop had finished loading and Reed scanned the files.

"Open this one," he said, point to a file titled 6401125.

Inside, T'Pol found the profiles of several prominent Starfleet officers, among them Lieutenant Washburn, Lieutenant Anna Hess, Commander James Kelby, Commander Jesse Cross, Commander Charles Tucker III, and Captain Eric Jameson.

Reed frowned as he examined them, Trip's and Kelby's in particular catching his eye. "Now why do you suppose he has these specific profiles saved in this file?"

"Perhaps he intends to recruit them," T'Pol offered.

Reed shook his head, once again looking over the names. "They must have something in common. He didn't choose these names randomly." A file titled 'Battle Plans' caught his eye and he pointed at it. "Open this." She opened the file and Reed skimmed it frowning.

"These are not Starfleet documents," T'Pol observed, eyebrows raised high.

Reed nodded in agreement, pulling a pad from his pocket and setting it on the desk beside the monitor. "They look Romulan. This could prove Greene's been exchanging information with them. The battle plans might also help us keep a few steps ahead of them."

Just as T'Pol entered the commands to download the information to the pad, Reed heard footsteps. He listened for a moment before moving to press his back to the wall beside the door, pulling a weapon from his pocket and holding it ready. T'Pol echoed his movements, her gaze locking with his. His other hand slipped into his pocket and disconnected the main wire of the communicator.

After a long wait, the door slid open and they turned to the inside, pointing their weapons at the door, only to find to larger weapons pointed directly at them. Reed's eyes once again locked with hers and he nodded, dropping his weapon to his side. T'Pol lowered hers as well, though with more reluctance.

He scrutinized the faces of the two men and recognized them from their profiles as Captain Jameson and Lieutenant Washburn. His eyes widened slightly as T'Pol's words from earlier echoed inside of his mind: Perhaps he intends to recruit them.

Reed grimaced, not quite wanting to believe that Trip could have given in to any of Greene's demands. It was quite possible that Trip had been blackmailed and had been part of the plot to lead them here.

His attention returned to the doorway as two shadowed figures stepped into the light. He recognized the figure on the left instantly as Greene, a smirk of pure pleasure on his face. To Reed's utter bewilderment, Melody Harpe stood to Greene's right with a neutral expression on her face and a weapon pointed directly at his chest.

"Melody," he whispered.

"No," she said firmly, her hand shaking slightly as she kept the weapon trained on him. "I am Ael."

His mind raced as he struggled to comprehend what was happening. "It was a trap. You knew I would recognize the warehouse schematics and would come here." He grimaced when she nodded.

 

Could he trust anyone? he wondered, his gaze flitting briefly to T'Pol.

 

"Drop your weapons," Greene ordered.

 

He bumped the switch on the side with his thumb, activating the homing beacon, before tossing it to the ground at Greene's feet. He nodded and out of the corner of his eye, saw T'Pol do the same.

 

Washburn and Jameson held their weapons steady as Ael searched each of them in turn. Reed stiffened, nearly protesting aloud when her hands came dangerously close to his behind. She looked up with a slight grin on her lips before she moved her hands down to his legs, patting them down. On the way back up, she found the communicator that Reed had hidden in his secret pocket as well as the pad that had once contained the codes that Harris had given him.

 

Ael handed the pad to Greene, which he skimmed, frowning. He then pulled the communicator from Ael's hand and walked toward Reed. "How does this communication device work?" When Reed didn't reply, Greene raised his weapon and pointed it at T'Pol's temple. "Tell me how it works or she'll die."

 

"You see that little button on the side there? The red one? You press that to talk," Reed replied coolly.

 

The moment Greene pressed it; the device fell from his hand and shattered on the floor. Rounding on Reed, Greene stared him directly in the eye before turning toward T'Pol and striking her hard across the face. Reed jerked forward in protest only to receive a sharp blow to the nose that would have sent him to the ground had Washburn not been holding him up.  Licking his lips, Reed tasted the tang of blood and felt his stomach clench. Spitting the foul-tasting liquid from his mouth, he desperately fought down the nausea.

 

"If you harm her..." Reed panted.

 

Greene chuckled. "You have nothing to threaten me with, Lieutenant." The older man then turned to his guards. "We'll take them with us to Paris. When the President discovers that they were caught sneaking around here accessing files above their clearance, it will divert attention from our activities."

 

A moment later, Reed felt something sharp jabbed into the side of his neck and then knew nothing but blackness.


Earth-Marseilles, France-Inside of An 18-Wheeler Cargo Hold

December 1st, 2155-0832 hours

 

Groaning, Reed opened his eyes and instantly regretted doing so as it caused the throbbing in his temples to spike sharply. He hissed at the sharp pain in his neck where the hypospray had so carelessly been jabbed.

 

Opening his eyes again, he looked around, noting that they were inside of the cargo hold of an 18-Wheeler. How they'd managed to get hold of such a vehicle in these times, he didn't know. Companies hadn't used them to transport goods for decades. The last time any company had been recorded as doing so had been around the turn of the century.

 

Reed's eyes gradually adjusted to the minimal light and spotted T'Pol lying a few feet away. He struggled against his bond, scooting toward her. "Commander. Commander, are you alright?"

 

T'Pol shifted a little so that she was facing him and nodded. "I'm fine, Lieutenant."

 

"I don't see Commander Tucker. It looks like he's managed to escape our fate. With any luck, he'll be able to make contact with Harris," Reed said, not voicing his suspicions that it may have been Trip that had turned them over to Greene.

 

Unexpectedly, the vehicle lurched sharply to the left and both slid across the floor, slamming hard into the wall. Reed winced as his side was enveloped in a sharp, flaring pain. The vehicle straightened and Reed rolled back toward the center of the hold, wincing.

 

T'Pol's eyebrows shot up. "It would appear we're moving."

 

Reed nodded. "Yes, but where are we and where are we going?"

 

Suddenly, there was a quiet sputtering sound and the vehicle slowed to a halt. Reed listened closely, hearing two men arguing toward the front of the truck. There were several successive clicking noises and Reed tensed.

 

As the rear door was lifted, bright light poured in and temporarily blinded him, forcing him to close his eyes.

 

"Malcolm," he heard a feminine voice whisper. He opened his eyes slowly to find Ael kneeling in front of him. "Hurry. They're checking the engine. It won't be long before they discover it has been sabotaged."

 

His gaze narrowed at her, not making a move. "Why should we trust you? You practically led him to us."

 

Ael sighed. "You have no idea how difficult that was for me." She looked at him with pleading eyes. "At first, I was simply supposed to find out what you were doing back here on Earth so soon before Enterprise's return. They weren't set to return until tomorrow."

 

"And now?" Reed prompted.

 

She paused. "And now...I want to help you like you wanted to help me. I don't think that what he's doing is right." Hesitating, she met his gaze. "Can you still help me, Malcolm?"

 

A tense silence hung between them before Reed's lips turned up in a slight smile. "Of course," he replied.

 

Ael grinned in relief, removing the bonds from Reed's hands and feet and then from T'Pol's. "All right. If we can take down the guards, there's a town two miles a..."

 

Before she could finish, a weapon's blast hit her and knocked her unconscious. Reed turned abruptly to find Trip standing outside, lowering his weapon and slipping it into the holster.

 

"Come on. Before she wakes up," Trip said, urging the two out of the truck.

 

T'Pol moved toward the edge of the truck bed without hesitation and Trip gripped her waist with both hands, helping her to the ground. His gaze then returned to Reed, who hadn't moved.

 

"Come on," Trip urged.

 

Reed eyed him warily, not sure if he trusted Trip after what he'd seen of the files on Greene's computer, but there was a part of him that wanted to believe Trip.

 

"The guards have been neutralized," came another voice, growing closer.

 

The owner of the voice stepped into his field of vision and his eyes widened slightly as his gaze fell on none other than Gary Wilkes, one of his fellow Section 31 agents.

 

The wiry blond-haired man smirked and chuckled softly. "Good to see you, too, Lieutenant."

 

"Wilkes? Wilkes, is that you?" Reed asked disbelievingly.

 

Wilkes's eyebrows shot up. "Surely I haven't changed so much that you don't recognize me."

 

Reed moved toward the edge of the truck and jumped to the ground, still staring at Wilkes. "By God, you have no idea how good it is to see you."

 

Wilkes chuckled. "Oh, I have some idea," he replied, jerking his head toward Ael's unconscious form.

 

Reed turned to stare at her body before sighing. "We need to take her with us."

 

Trip stared at him incredulously. "Are ya out of your mind? She nearly got ya killed!"

 

Reed's gaze locked with Trip's. "She was freeing us, Trip. She was trying to help us."

 

Without waiting to hear Trip's protest, Reed climbed back into the truck and moved toward her, lifting her unconscious form into his arms. He moved back toward the edge, passing her body to Wilkes while he climbed out of the truck.

 

"We need to get out of the country...somewhere isolated," Reed said, his eyes narrowed in concentration.

 

Trip nodded. "Yeah. That's why we've got three tickets ta the Bahamas." He sighed. "Looks like we'll need to get another one now that we've got her with us."

 

Reed turned to Wilkes, smiling. "I don't suppose you have a vehicle we could borrow?"

 

Wilkes motioned at the older model hover car parked behind him. "Just be careful you don't scratch the paint. My wife just had a paint job done from my last accident."

 

Reed nodded, sliding into the driver's seat. Trip sat down in the passenger's seat at his side while T'Pol got into the back with Ael's unconscious body.

 

Once everyone was settled in, Reed turned back to Wilkes and stared for the longest time before extending a hand. "Thank you," he said.

 

Wilkes took the proffered hand and nodded. "Good luck, Lieutenant."

 

Reed nodded, pulling his hand away and pressing his foot toe the gas. Moments later, the car was only a distant blob on the horizon. Wilkes turned to see his ride approaching. He threw one last glance in the direction the others had taken off in before the shimmering blue light enveloped him and he was gone.

 

TBC...

 

 


Comments:

Asso

Absolutely attractive, as always.
So rich, as always.

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