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[2376] Entanglement of Chaos

[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Observation Lounge | USS Voroth]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Ensign Zark stared out window and the planetary sphere that was known as Cardassia with a blank face that masked mixed feelings.  This was not how she'd seen her career starting off.  Granted she'd graduated from the Academy with the Security division, but she'd specifically applied to be a medic so she should have been at Starfleet Medical undergoing advanced field training.  This was not at all where she'd found herself.  The Andorian linked her hands behind her as her mind wandered back to that bittersweet moment when the universe suddenly made less sense.  Ens. Zark had tried to hide her disappointment when she'd received the change in orders during her pre-deployment leave.  The main issue was her bondmates knew her too well and they'd tried to make the best of it.  The blank expression smirked for a bit as she remembered a lot of what her husbands and wife had done to cheer her up, and it had been warm and fun, but still.  The war was over, she'd done her bit and was hoping to take some time to do something that involved healing.  She had the basics for healing with several other skills that were the diametric opposite from her Academy undergrad.  The security officer sighed as she thought about this familiar rabbit hole before burying it back in it's box and hoping it wouldn't turn up any time soon.  Beam down was in another half an hour.  No use brooding.

Instead, she turned her mind to the present deployment.  It was a two year stint and she was part of a fifteen person security detachment that was replacing some who were on a short deployment before going home.  There were also several other people, such as administrative, intelligence, and diplomatic staff that were bring brought in to help bring the embassy up to full staffing.  This was particularly important on a war ravaged world that needed the Federation's help to rebuild, and hopefully reduce any future resentment that could lead to a re-opening of the conflict.  The Andorian turned and sat at a table and stared at her PADD for the umpteenth time. Despite the importance of the posting, Ensign Zark hadn't seem much to fill her with a lot of confidence.  She guessed that Starfleet and the Federation's diplomatic corp had scrambled to refill the embassy after the war's end, and that most of the work done seemed to be in the nature of re-establishing old contacts and networks.  The only one that had stood out was a human, one Enyd Isolde Madsen.  A diplomat by training, though not through the Academy.  Not a bad thing, just a different, which also meant different perspectives.  She'd been noticeable because of her project with various civilian groups that seemed to take her into the less well travelled and glamorous areas of the planet to help establish the democratic system.  Most noticeable was she would disappear for days on end with little contact, and she didn't seem to feel the need to take too many people with her.  Especially security personnel.  Zark smirked.  As the human's put it.  A real cowboy, or was it cowgirl?  The moniker especially applied to one from Montana.

Sipping the last of the ketheka 15 minutes later, Ensign Zark went to her quarters and grabbed several bags for her stay on the planet before heading to the transporter room.  Arriving as a transport cycle completed and seeing several people step off, it finally sank in that she was going to be away from home for a while, and now she was really glad she'd taken the tartan patterned bag that held her musical instruments.  She was quite sure a lot of the locals and staff were not going to appreciate the blaring hum it produced, but she'd need it if nothing else to remind her of where home was.  An eyebrow quirked for a moment at the trio of crates that occupied the centre of the transporter pad since it held weapons markings, and the other information said it was the new model phaser rifles. Hm. I guess it's time those got swapped out.  She'd probably have to store those away after she met with the Chief of Security.  As the senior person on the pad when she stepped on, Ensign Zark nodded to the operator after confirming everyone was in place. "Energize."  With a nod and a slide, the world dissolved into a bright shimmering blue and as it disappeared, she found herself into a stylistically identical room, with a Caitan standing behind another console.  Ensign Zark suddenly blinked. That Caitan and the console were normal.  What she had not expected so quickly was to see a human female with green eyes, red lip stick, and well arranged brunette hair waiting to greet the new arrivals.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #1
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Transporter Room | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

The tips of her ears still stung—proverbially speaking—from the dressing down she’d received from the lieutenant. While her efforts on the city's outskirts and on into the ravaged “wilds” of the territory were proving effective, as unorthodox as they were, they weren’t meeting the expected standards for certain brass. Enyd wasn’t trying to make trouble and certainly wasn’t trying to make her superiors look ineffective for “following the book,” it just seemed to come naturally. It was both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness, this outside-the-box thinking, and tendency towards pragmatic creativity in diplomacy. For all her time in officer training, this trait had been part of what set her above many of her peers and directly in the line of fire for her teachers, who found her untraditional methods threatening. And it seemed that this posting would be a continuation of her solving a problem effectively but, in the process, creating more problems for herself with her supposed colleagues.

Glancing at C’Tarr on her way into the transporter room, Enyd offered the Caitan a smile before taking her place just shy of the platform. They’d bonded over a shared love of hoplogy only a few night’s into their posting the year prior, and since then, they’d made it a habit of meeting once a week to train with various bladed weapons. Sometimes they were cultural artifacts bought from the planet’s markets, official ones and not on the black market, and sometimes they were standard issue. C’Tarr had been slightly surprised at Enyd’s enthusiasm for blades, obviously not expecting a diplomat to enjoy anything remotely violent. Enyd had also been surprised to find the Caitan preferred blades, considering most of his people were stalwart pacifists.

The new transfers materialized on the platform a few seconds have her arrival. Enyd first noted the Andorian beauty standing at the forefront, arms filled with her gear. Enyd couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow in a Vulcanoid fashion when she noted the tartan-patterned bag. Instead of commenting on it in front of everyone, Enyd shifted her gaze quickly to meet the eyes of all the newcomers and smiled.

“Welcome to Cardassia Prime. I’m Ensign Madsen, diplomatic corps assisting with the rebuilding efforts. Not to hoist my own petard, but I can guarantee this will be the warmest welcome you receive.” Enyd shifted away from the platform and gestured to C’Tarr. “This is Ensign C’Tarr, our chief transporter. Magic fingers.”

C’Tarr purred out a chuckle, “Only until my chief gets back.”

“Then she has the magic fingers?” Enyd winked at her friend, gleaning added energy from the Caitan’s tail flick of feigned annoyance. Gesturing for the newcomers to follow, Enyd led them to the door, “Don’t worry about the gear,” she’d noted a few glances had been spared for the crates still on the platform, “a few members of security are on the way to store them. C’Tarr will remain with them until the transfer is made. This way.”

Enyd led them from the transporter room and out into the embassy. If it could even be called that. Before the war, this had been a marketplace, ancient by some standards. The materials used were part of the reason why these low-lying buildings had withstood the aerial bombardment better than the more modern buildings, which included the official government buildings. Now this marketplace served as Federation embassy, government headquarters, and, when necessary, brig and hospital all in one. Each kiosk served as a type of office, with the branching hallways and courtyards assisting to connect everything together. Maintaining a secure perimeter was a nightmare, to say the least, and Enyd thanked the security detail every day for their valiant efforts.

“Castellan Ghemor’s offices are down that corridor.” Enyd pointed down the hallway. “Our offices are that way,” she pointed down another hallway, “and our quarters are down this way.” She gestured to yet another hallway situated across a small courtyard. Glancing at the Andorian first and then over to her colleagues, Enyd smiled. “Do you have any questions about the posting? What to expect from the locals? What to expect from the brass?”

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #2
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Federation Embassy 'Compound' | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Ensign Zark knew that theoretically, diplomats had a sense of humour.  They had to, otherwise how would they be able to adjust their negotiation approach and shmooze with all the various government officials and the self important muckity types that made government and diplomacy possible.  Still, to actually encounter one who actually used it, and on people as lowly as a one of the guards or her own staff was thoroughly unexpected.  Then again, looking at the sole pip on her collar, the fact that she hadn't attended the Academy, and she generally did what she wanted, when she wanted meant that Ensign Madsen was possibly an extreme outlier where diplomats were concerned.  That one pixel at the end of an even distribution chart on the number of diplomatic staff and their personality types.  The main result of all that theory and guessing was to ellicit a snort and a smirk from the Andorian as she hefted her musical instrument bag a bit higher on her shoulder as she followed the local guide out of the transporter room.  A half dozen mustard shirts went into the room after the newly arrived party left while one pushed a hover cart.  They were all armed and stone faced as they went to secure the weapon pallets on the pad.

Ensign Zark shook her head as she followed Ensign Madsen and took in the Embassy compound.  It was highly unusual since most embassies were in a walled building of some sort, but as soon they exited, Zark had to pause as she had a sudden flashback of a different place, not too long ago where death seemed to stalk everyone, just like it had done here.  She couldn't really smell it in the air, but it felt like it since there seemed to have been some sort of psychic gash torn open in the fabric of the universe from the death of several hundred million Cardassians in such a short time.  The air seemed permanently greyed from the smoke of the bombardment and the Andorian's step faltered for only a moment before she mentally shook the feeling and kept going, but the small smile was now long gone. 

The blank faced Security Officer followed the human around and took in the locations as they were pointed out and a snow white eyebrow arched when she heard that the Castellan's office was just down the corridor.  That would make the assignment interesting since it guaranteed that Starfleet Security and the Castellan's body guards would run into each other.  Her mind pulled up a security briefing recalling that the security situation hadn't fully stabilized, and the Andorian cast a measuring glance at the human woman leading them around.  Part of it was the feeling she didn't fully appreciate the gravity of the situation she was in, but that was the initial instinct.  She'd been on planet for a while now and wasn't dead or missing despite the locales she chose to visit, so she probably had other talents the open portion of her dossier hadn't listed. The one bears watching.  Ah!  Our rooms are that way. When she felt the green eyes looking over her, then past her, Zark paid more attention to what was going on.  She quickly discarded the first and third question since what the diplomats had in mind about the posting wouldn't necessarily be what the Security Chief needed, but it never hurt to get the lay of the land, especially from their inhabitants.  Unusually enough, nobody had been waiting for her or had been sent to get her for that particular meeting, so she'd just followed Ensign Madsen out.  On the other hand, they were in a pretty central location, and Ensign Zark knew what her next objective anyway, so she decided it was better to just ask when no one else would. "How are the locals taking our presence here?  Generally friendly? Hostile?  I'm asking because I don't know about the rest of you, but there seems to be, understandably, somewhat of a pall in the air.  Also, sorry, before you begin, which way to Lieutenant Commander Herasin's office?  I didn't see a sign for Security, so is it with the brig?"

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #3
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Embassy | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“The locals are interested in getting to a point where they can be left alone again.” A honeyed voice interrupted, purring from further down the corridor.

Enyd knew without breaking eye contact with Ensign Zark precisely who was heading their way. Not only did she recognize his voice—warm, accented, carrying a rumbling timbre that left her insides wobbly—she could feel his gaze on her. The amber-colored gaze was ever always intense, searching out the secrets of her soul and yet carrying with it a promise. A dangerous, mysterious, illicitly seductive promise. Still without turning to face the taller, lithely muscled Cardassian, Enyd gestured toward his approaching mass with a polite smile.

“This is Javec Praar, one of the castellan’s aides.”

“One of?” Enyd imagined the heat of his body filling hers when he stopped just an arm’s distance from her. She still refused to look at him, afraid, as always, that if she looked at him too much, he’d see her desire to accept his unspoken promise. “I am THE aide for all your department is concerned about. I am the castellan’s liaison with the Federation. I work closely with Ensign Madsen,” as if to punctuate his point, Praar shifted his weight closer for a fraction of a second before settling back onto his heels. “The pall you’re sensing,” his eyes glanced down Zark’s uniform before continuing, “ensign, is the pall of surviving tragedy. Not everyone agrees with the method for rebuilding, nor with the ‘who’ is heading up the rebuilding. Hence, while the official response is one of humble gratitude,” Enyd withheld her snort and somehow managed to keep a neutral expression, “for the Federation’s support, we will not deny there are splinter groups among our people who would rather a different method and a different ‘who’ at the head of our recovery.”

Enyd finally glanced up at Praar, barely hiding the shiver of awareness that slid through her body when they made eye contact. She gave a curt nod and to his credit, Praar returned the gesture before shifting back in a nonverbal move to signal she could resume control of the conversation. How magnanimous of him. Moving her gaze back to rest on Ensign Zark and the others, Enyd nodded more firmly.

“That is where my department comes in. We are working closely with Ghemor’s aides to bridge gaps and break down barriers, doing what we can to unify these splinter groups under the castellan’s banner. And that’s where security comes in as well,” Enyd gave Zark a smile, “Commander Herasin’s office is attached to the brig across the courtyard and down the hall that way,” Enyd pointed out the direction Zark would need to take, “the commander expects to see you and the rest of the new department transfers in about an hour.”

“Speaking of an hour’s time,” Praar again interrupted, “are we not due to attend the castellan’s speech in the south quarter in a little over an hour?” Enyd nodded, unsure where Praar was going with the line of questions. “Will these new transfers be joining us?” His eyes settled warmly on Zark for a moment before he looked back to Enyd, offering a quick, “Merely curious. If so, I will brief the castellan on the new faces.”

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #4
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Federation Embassy 'Compound' | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Ensign Zark's head swivelled to the new voice, and she quirked a cool eyebrow at the interloper that was answering on behalf of the diplomat. While she did not hold a grudge against the Cardasaians, she was still wary of them, after all, they hadn't stopped being the enemy that long ago. Nope, her reservations were for the Jem'Hadar since she'd spent so much time fighting them. It was with this sense of caution that the security Ensign listened to him, and at the same time watched the diplomat to see her reaction his explanations.

Her antennae literally quivered before they began focusing on the Human and Cardassian.  Her eyes also narrowed slightly in speculation. When someone came out from security, and they were also married to a police officer, this tended to create an environment of jovial suspicion of the household. At home it was balanced off by being open and honest about most things, and choosing to turn a blind eye to everything else. They didn't always get the mixture right, which did produce it's share of spectacular misunderstandings. Still, Ensign Zark wasn't at home, she was on a post war ravaged world, and her war time instincts weren't that dulled yet. It was more of Ensign Madsen's deliberate refusal to look at him that set her antennae off. There was something there, but the words and body language didn't convey disgust, so was it......? Zark filed that tidbit away in the mental Madsen file and continued listening. Praar's subtle shift wasn't entirely missed either and that went into the mental filing cabinet which now held a tenuous, but real thread between the two. It bore watching.

When Praar out forth the question on whether Zark would be attending the speech, the white hair shook a negative. "The Commander is expecting me in his office at that time, so I don't believe so. On the other hand, I would definitely like to see the high lights of the speech. I only have a general idea of what the Federation is doing to support the rebuilding effort, so getting some more details would be fascinating to get a better overall understanding of how things are going." Ensign Zark paused for a moment as she though ahead.  "Well, there is one thing that I would like to know about.  I'll be getting my own briefing on this later for sure, but I'd like a Cardassian perspective on this. We're both very tempting targets with the Castellan just down the door. The security Ensign soon began rattling off her own list of questions since she figured a high placed government aide had a great memory and could organize on the fly.  So, what can you tell me about the various rogue factions and splinter groups?  Are there any in particular that we should worry about in the immediate area, or any in particular that we should keep an eye out for?  Who's got a more violent bent, and who's in it for power?  How much of what's left of the Obsidian Order is mixed into these groups? Aside from weapons and funding, what else do they seek to get?"

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #5
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Transporter Room | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“You must know nothing about Cardassians to presume you never have to worry about some, while you only have to worry about others.” Enyd rolled her eyes at Javec’s poor attempt at humor in response to Zark’s question. “The names change, the faces too, but the hills to die on remain the same, sometimes painted differently or spoken about under different banners.”

Javec’s nonchalant voice may lead some to believe he felt nothing about these splinter groups or didn’t take it seriously, but Enyd knew he very much did take it seriously. It was just one of the ways they spoke of serious things in their culture. If you spoke of it casually, it meant you were in greater control than if the notion of talking about something led to you panic or fear. It was a part of their culture Enyd respected and found she enjoyed. It was, in fact, one of the areas she’d begun building a foundation with Javec over.

Enyd turned to face Zark, interrupting Javec before he could further annoy the Andorian—which Enyd presumed he was doing on purpose just to test the woman’s mettle. “The Directorate is a leading splinter group with a high percentage of former Order members among its ranks. It has been cannibalizing many of the other groups that helped it form in its efforts to create a united front against the rebuilding efforts of the leadership of the present Castellan.”

“What does any top predator wish for?” Javec spoke up immediately after Enyd’s voice died out, his eyes alight with passion though his features remained neutral, if not mildly bemused. “Prey and undisputed territory to hunt it in. Be it the Directorate or this new government, your precious Federation is helping to establish, we Cardassians wish only to steward, protect, and deal out justice as any sentient predator would wish to do within its rightly won territory.” Javec leaned back on his heels, feigning a look of boredom. “Funding and weapons are but tools to the true desire of undisputed power wielded from one’s wished-for ideology.”

“In summary,” Enyd interjected again, drawing attention back to herself and away from Javec’s arrogant smile, “not everyone hates us but not everyone loves us. We are tolerated for as long as we prove useful to the equation of rebuilding.”

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #6
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Federation Embassy 'Compound' | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Zark frowned hard, which made it look like she was pouting, as she was about to question Javec's choice of literature to describe their current situation.  However, one particular maxim came through in her mind.  The first report is never correct, so Zark held her tongue.  This proved fortuitous as Enyd came through with an actual explanation as to how the Federation was viewed by the populace.  While this was less dire than the poetry the aide had tried to use, it still didn't bode well since tolerated could quickly become intolerant.  It seemed though that the general population was reluctantly backing rebuilding effort despite the aid coming from a former enemy.  That must be humiliating, but on the other hand, few societies, more like only the Federation would be willing to provide that aid without a second thought.  The next best option was the Ferengi, and that would be hideously expensive.

The Andorian munched on the more immediate thought that worried her more in the immediate term than the hostility of the general population, and that was the how The Directorate was targeting it's recruiting from the lethal Obsidian Order.  The order had been virtually annihilated in it's unsanctioned operation against the Founder's home world in 2371, and the dreaded security organization that had emerged during the Dominion War was a pale shadow in terms of skill, but still highly fanatical to the former 'glory' of the Cardassian Union, and just as ruthless.  If these people were made up the core of the Directorate.

Zark shook her head at the implications and she suddenly felt naked as she gripped the strap of her tartan patterned bag, and wishing it was the strap of the new phaser rifle that was being shipped to the armoury. The Ensign was sure Lieutenant Commander Herasin would let her know about any threats that he thought were important, but it never hurt to keep an eye on other factors.  "That sounds ominous." the Andorian started as she turned to Javec first. "What sort of activities seem to have Ditrectorate backing? Intimidation? Kidnapping? Murder, bombings?" The next was more specific to Ensign Madsen as the blue head turned towards the human. "Are they getting any sort of traction with the general public?"

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #7
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“Ominous is one way of putting it,” Enyd laced her fingers together behind her back and shifted her weight from one foot to another as she listed out the known activities, “coercion and bribes are the lighter sides, kidnapping and ransom demands, theft, intimidation tactics that are often connected to resources disappearing or people being threatened, sometimes body parts being strategically delivered to places of work,” Enyd let go of her hands and shrugged, eyes moving to study Javec a moment before looking back to Zark, “As far as we know, so far, no murders have been linked to them and no bombings. They seem to be keen on toeing the line of what the general public is willing to tolerate and what they aren’t.”

Javec shifted forward, verbally and physically, to add, “The groups that have been bombing and attacking in the streets are smaller, more ‘grassroots’ factions, and these are the groups the Directorate has slowly been overtaking. The average Cardassian is willing to accept the existence of an order that kidnaps or bribes to make a point, but they are less interested in living with a group that attacks directly and without discretion. The last bombing was near the Cardassian War Widows Wing of the hospital compound, and by our last count, at least two dozen widows were killed, with another dozen grievously injured.” Glancing over his shoulder a moment and noticing a colleague motioning him away, Javec was quick to add, “It is worth remembering, however, that it would not be entirely beyond the Directorate, as it is gaining members from the former Obsidian Order, to be creating and then destroying these smaller factions in a grand ploy to win over favor to themselves once more.” Without warning, Javec reached out and snagged Enyd’s hand in his own, bending over it in a formal bow, not quite kissing it but making quite the show nonetheless. “Hope to see you soon,” his eyes darted up to Zark, and his smile grew, “and you as well.”

Only once he left, did Enyd break the silence she’d held with a sigh, “Well, then, right.” Clapping her hands together, she faced Zark and the others once more, cheeks still tinged pink with a blush. “I’ll leave you now to get settled with your department heads while I check in with my own. I’ll be accompanying the Castellon to his speech later and,” she smiled at Zark, “while I know you’ve just arrived, I do hope you’ll join if possible.”

She pointed the newcomers in the directions they needed to go before giving one last polite smile and hurrying off to change into her more formal uniform. She hated wearing the skirt when going out into the streets, always aware that things could turn nasty quickly, but she also knew it was expected of her position to wear that version of the uniform since her department head would be wearing the trousers uniform and together they presented the expected hard and soft measures of the diplomatic corps.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #8
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Federation Embassy 'Compound' | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Zark blinked in surprise as she was sure several in the group had as well at the assessment on how successful The Directorate was being and also just how ruthless they were in securing their support. Actively slaughtering ones members in order to gain public supper was an anethema to the Federation culture. Faking ones death was the extreme case, but actually recruiting just so they could be killed? Zark mentally shook her head at the notion. It did present an interesting opportunity, but a very dangerous one if word was getting around about the ultimate fate of some of The Directorate's newest recruits.  This little bit of analysis was filed away as Ensign Madsen brought the introductory meeting to a conclusion and the group began separating into their departments. Zark smiled and nodded in agreement. "I hope so as well and a pleasure to meet you Ensign Madsen." Zark finished as a Security Lieutenant grabbed his duffell and signalled the rest of the group to follow a Petty Officer that had shown up to guide the group to their quarters. 

Ensign Zark hefted her instrument and watched the brunette diplomat walk away with several other uniformed and civilian colleagues and privately thought to herself that her initial assessment was correct that Ensign Enyd Madsen was of the most interesting person in the posting, and she hoped to see more of her at some point.  The Andorian's ruminations were brought to a halt when the Petty Officer touched her arm to get her attention.  Zark raised an eyebrow inquisitively as man indicated to bring her head closer, which she did not that her curiosity was engaged. "Commander Herasin wants you in his office after you drop your stuff in your quarters.  And he says to expedite." Zark's head couldn't quite help but pull back in surprise at the order she'd just received.  She'd only just arrived on planet, what could the head of security possibly want with a new Ensign?  She wasn't in trouble already was she?  Figuring there was only one way to find out, Ensign Zark nodded and followed everyone to their billets.  As the group made its way over, Zark could feel the eyes on her.  No doubt some were staring at her well shaped ass, but there was also the feeling of inquisitiveness as each person tried to suss out the other.  The Petty Officer hadn't  been the most circumspect when he'd brought the news, so other soon began to wonder what was going on with her.  What made her special.  In fact, the one who seemed to be the most curious was the Lieutenant leading the group.  It was hard to define, but he was almost trying to hard to ignore her, but maybe it was the way one of his ears kept aiming in her direction, as if he was trying to eavesdrop on anything being said about her that figuratively twinged her antennae.

Zark shook her head.  Maybe she was being too paranoid.  The PO, pointed out rooms on a PADD with most of the enlisted going two or four to a room, while officers got their own space.  Space was still somewhat limited, so the Zark got the same size room as the Lieutenant.  Punching in the provided door code, it whooshed open to something quite standard issue, a bed, and desk, some shelving, and a sitting area.  The only thing that was missing was a replicator.  She'd have to figure that out later as she changed the door code and quickly looked in a mirror to smooth out any excess wrinkles before tying her hair in a pony tail and quickly exiting to go see Lieutenant Commander Herasin.

Tracing her steps, and following the instructions Madsen had given her in the beginning, Zark made it to the Chief of Security's Office in short order.  There was a name plate beside the door with his name and position.  The Andorian stopped before she entered the door and wondered again why she'd been ordered to hurry to see the boss.  Zark closed her eyes and took a steadying breath.  Opening her eyes, they betrayed nothing as she was determined to find out what was going on first before deciding whether she would have to defend herself.  Pressing a button, she heard the chime along with an unexpectedly higher pitched "Come!"  Ensign Zark stepped though the door and came to attention. "Ensign zh’Ptrell reporting to Lieutenant Commander Herasin as ordered!"  She was looking a regulation 5cm above the Bolian's head, but a general look revealed a tall, somewhat lanky Bolian male with a stern demeanour and more interestingly a scar on his head and another on his bottom lip.  Considering reconstructive technology, the Commander must have chosen to keep the scarring as a reminder of something.  Ensign Zark looked back in her memory, and pulled the open portion of Herasin's file that she'd perused.  A no non-sense Security Chief who'd served with distinction during the war.

The Chief of Security stared back and evaluated his find.  He would freely admit that the Ensign standing in front of him was beyond striking, but there was toughness to her.  He could see it in the way she held herself.  She may have tried to be standing still, but from a professional perspective, she was like a coil that was too tense, ready to pounce at any sort of threat.  He briefly considered making her just stand there to see how long she could hold that pose till she squirmed, but having read her entire file, she could probably choose to stand in that same spot till the local star ran out of fuel.  Seeing that would be a waste of time, he decided to launch into his special briefing for Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell.

"Sit Ensign, sit"  he gestured at the chairs on the other side of his desk in a jerky waving motion as if he had too much energy that hadn't quit his body.  He waited for the Andorian to comply before launching into what he needed done.  "Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell, or Ensign Zark for short.  Magna Cum Laude from the Academy, Marksman with phaser pistols and rifles, Expert in Hand to Hand, graduate of the Hostile Environment and Advanced Leader course, and supposed to have been headed for Starfleet Medical for field training.  Saw combat time during the war.  Is this all correct?"

Ensign Zark stared at her boss and fought the urge to narrow her eyes into slits to glare at the Bolian, but her antennae gave her away as they peeled back against her head as if she was getting ready to fight.  "I'm not playing power games Ensign.  These are some of the skills I need, so is this information correct?"  Commander Herasin continued.  "Yes sir."  Zark answered. What else was there to say? The Bolian nodded. "Good. Good!"  The man took a breath and settled back into his chair before he continued to give a brief of the situation. "Ensign.  I have fifteen people who are going home.  They deserve it and I'm sad to lose them.  I got 16 replacements."  Zark's eyebrows rose at this.  It was fairly unusual to be told a post was getting more than had been requested.  Commader Herasin could see the gears turning in her head and nodded in confirmation. "That's right Ensign, you're the extra, and you're here for a good reason.  Have you met a human diplomat here? One Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen?"  Ensign Zark nodded her confirmation. "Yes Sir, she greeted us at the transporter room."  The Bolian nodded again as he cut to the heart of the matter.  "And I can presume you read the dossiers of the embassy staff and hers in particular?"  The Andorian nodded again and began to wonder what Ensign Madsen had to with her assignment to Cardassia. 

Lieutenant Commander Herasin could practically hear the question her mind asked as she nodded her affirmative again.  "Good, I thought her file would make interesting reading at the very least.  Here's the thing, I'm in charge of trying to keep the embassy staff alive, but Ensign Madsen has a penchant for going off to do what she thinks is right and seems to have completely forgotten that this planet was once a war zone."  The Bolian leaned on his desk. "As much as Security has tried, we need someone special to keep an eye on her when she goes off the campus so to speak."  Zark felt her stomach begin to drop as she guessed what her assignment was going to be and all she could was point at herself.  The Bolian Lieutenant Commander nodded.  "That's right Ensign. You're official assignment is to be Ensign's Madsen's partner and keeper as long as she's assigned to this Embassy. Where she goes, you go."

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #9
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“You realize those are not exactly standard issued?”

Huffed breath thrusting tufts of hair away from her forehead, Enyd looked up from her fight to secure the second leg holster to see the Bolian quartermaster staring at her with bemused curiosity. Keeping her gaze on the quartermaster’s face, Enyd’s deft fingers moved over and around the numerous buckles and straps.

“I believe leg holsters ARE standard enough in Starfleet.” Enyd knew that was not what the woman was speaking about, but Enyd had learned in her short span of time in the field that volunteering information beyond what someone referenced directly was rarely a good thing.

As expected, the Bolian snorted, rolling her eyes, and walked away, obviously washing her hands of whatever Enyd was up to. With her formal skirt hiked up, barely covering her bum, Enyd had been working to secure two sets of holsters on her things. One pair was for the various vials of antidotes to the known poisons the factions preferred using against enemies. The second pair was for the hyposprays of truth serum and other such concoctions she could use and had used to get information and get out of difficult situations, as well as the throwing knife her uncle had given her for her last birthday before getting stationed here. Her left leg of holsters and their contents were for defense, her right for offense. She’d worn this set-up before, more than once. One would think that by now, not only would she be more skilled with getting the holsters into place, easily hidden under the thicker material of her uniform skirt, but that the quartermaster would stop giving her grief over her requests for the holsters every time she went into the field.

Hair already falling in wisps and tendrils from its intricate pinning, Enyd resumed her work with an amused huff. She still had a few minutes to finish here before meeting with the Castellan and his posse to head toward the district where he’d be giving his speech today. She was so engrossed in getting the holster secured, Enyd didn’t hear him enter, nor did she note his presence until suddenly a pair of scaled hands hovered over hers, inches away from the sensitive skin of her thing. Swallowing her gasp, Enyd tensed, looking up, and finally noticed Javec crouched at her side, poised to assist her efforts, an amused smile gracing his handsome features.

“I always knew you were a diplomat of surprises,” his honeyed voice washed over her nerves like an accelerant teasing the edges of a fire, “I didn’t realize how many. I must say I’m impressed.”

His eyes moved pointedly back to her bare skin, traveling over the holster before looking back to her in question. Enyd swallowed again, not quite finding her voice yet. How many times had she dreamed of him touching her? Too many to count. How often had she rationally thought there’d come a day when he would? Never. She honestly hadn’t thought he would want to. Verbal repartee was one thing, and Cardassians adored it, but physical intimacy was something else entirely. Volunteering to touch her, to help her, like this…Enyd’s mind was racing, and all she could do physically was give him a curt nod and let him push away her hands so he could work the buckles himself.

“You really like to be in control, don’t you?” His touch was light whenever his fingers brushed over her skin, yet it was still enough to send a rash of goosebumps up and down her leg, something he likely noticed. However, Enyd wasn’t sure if Javec understood human physiology sufficiently to realize what it meant.

“Diplomats are problem solvers. It isn’t so much we like to be in control as we like to have an element of control, no matter the scenario.” Not knowing where else to put her hands, Enyd crossed her arms over her chest and stared down at the Cardassian as he worked diligently to secure the holster.

“Are you certain you’re in the right field?” Javec didn’t take his gaze from his work as he filled the various compartments on the holster with the vials she’d laid out for it. “It sounds as if you would have made a good operative for Intelligence.”

The other two holsters and their contents lay nearby, obviously beckoning for attention once he finished with this one. Nibbling her lower lip, Enyd was curious if he’d see through her, that her desire for him would be out in the vulnerable open if she asked him to put those on too. Instead, she pushed hair from her face and hid her vulnerability behind information sharing.

“My grandmother would have tanned my hide if I’d joined.” Javec paused, glancing at her with amused questions written clearly across his face. Enyd smiled, “That means she would’ve been very unhappy with my decision. She’s been my guardian ever since my parents died, and she raised me alongside the ranch hands back on Earth. Very traditional methods for discipline and family rearing.”

Enyd knew that culturally speaking Cardassians rarely felt the reciprocal need to share personal information when they had personal information gifted to them by another. Often they came across as rude and inconsiderate to outsiders for the absolute lack of reciprocity they seemed to feel about nearly everything. But having grown up with highly independent ranchers, many who preferred to keep to themselves and doubted overly friendly outsiders, Enyd had never found their seemingly cold nature offensive. If anything, it reminded her of home.

“What is a ranch?” Javec asked his question while also picking up the third holster, letting it dangle between them in a silent question. Enyd breathlessly nodded, surprised that he’d want to continue to help her and continue the conversation.

“It is a large swathe of land where you raise cattle or animals for food or farming. You can also farm on ranches and do any sort of things of that nature. Typically isolated from cities, and far from the hustle and bustle of politics and the like.” Enyd knew this description would likely sound terrible to the average Cardassian and had chosen her words specifically for that reason, curious how Javec would respond, as the response was often telling.

His calm demeanor and simple hum to ensure he was attentive didn’t give her much to go off of, but Enyd was at least satisfied to know Javec didn’t find the description appalling or anything. Even for being coy to a fault, Cardassians were typically open with their disdain. Enyd relaxed her stance further but almost tipped over. Reaching out instinctively, she grabbed his shoulder to steady herself, just as he reached up and wrapped a warm hand around her wrist. Their gazes locked and not for the first time Enyd was curious what his kiss would taste like…

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #10
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Federation Embassy 'Compound' | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Commander Herasin and Ensign Zark were discussing the current political security situation when his terminal beeped with a priority message and the Bolian held a hand up for a pause while he brought the message up. His eyes moved quickly over its contents, and the corner of his mouth tugged in what could have been considered a grimace. Zark realized at that point that the despite the blunt energy the Chief of Security wielded, he was quite good at having his face shown what he wanted it to show. He turned back to the Andorian and gave her a wry grin. "You're aware the Castellan is going to be giving a speech soon?" The Ensign gave her assent to this question and he nodded back. "Looks like you're going to get an immediate start on your special job for me." Zark clocked her head to one side. "I take it, it involves Ensign Madsen being an attendee?" . The bald blue head nodded. "She's in the armoury at the moment loading up on equipment that frankly has no place at a political speech." The security chief seemed to huff, but that was hard to say, and became irrelevant when he handed her a small PADD. "Here's a requisition form. Fill it out on the way and keep an eye on her."

Ensign Zark took the PADD and nodded before deciding to ask something anyway. "Just so I'm clear sir, you're not ordering me to disarm or restrain her. So you're not against the way she equips herself. " Lieutenant Commander Herasin grinned at the question. "No, I'm not. Despite my rather bleak description of her, she does know how to fend for herself. At the moment. I want to make sure we never go beyond that, especially in light of her interactions with the aide, Javec."

The Andorian quirked an eyebrow at this. "Those two get on remarkably well, and they make a great bridge for building better relations between us and the Cardassians. But that sort of relationship is also a potential vulnerability and liability." Ensign Zark nodded her understanding. Her 'women's' intuition said there was possibly more going on between those two, and if enemies of both the Federation and the current Castellan figured it out, there would be hell to pay all over.

Taking her leave, Zark walked and quickly typed as she though about the equipment that she'd use for asset protection. She made a check of the security code and found that weapons for Starfleet Security had already been authorised. Blue fingers flew. Type 1 and 2 phaser, standard issue combat dagger with concealable belt scabbard. Push blade in boot. No need to mention the spring blade she kept under her boot. Tricorder, battlefield trauma kit. A pair of disc grenades. One explosive, one flash, and a couple of micro smoke grenades to go in her pockets. A length of climbing wire was also useful.  Oof, very heavily loaded. The Andorian thought to herself. 

A couple of plastic fast ties, and a light tac vest went into the order just as Zark arrived at the armoury door and pressed the button to enter.  Looking up, the Andorian stopped and blinked, then smirked as she caught sight of Ensign Madsen with her skirt hiked really high up, one arm around his neck, and the other hand in his hand.  If it wasn't for the fact that the security officer's trained eye had picked out several scabbards and holster, the two could easily have been mistaken for dancing.  The Zhen was married as far as her society went and she knew exactly what she was looking at. Oh Spirits, they have it bad for each other. Mindful of her boss' warning, the Andorian simply cleared her throat as she gave the Human and the Cardassian a measuring glance, then walked passed to the desk and handed the requisition over.  Javec nodded his greeting to the Andorian and continued working to fit the diplomat as if nothing had happened at all.  Miss Madsen on the other hand.  Zark suppressed a snigger as she went to the desk to greet the Bolian armourer and handed over her PADD.

The Bolian looked over the form and looked up at the Andorian. Who was this woman? flashed through her mind at the veritable arsenal.  Her eyes flicked to the human being dressed by the Cardassian, only to be blocked as a smiling Andorian stepped into her field of view.  Ensign Zark cocked her head to one side as her antennae pointed at the Bolian.  "Is there an problem with the requisition?" the security officer asked with cool reassurance and the armourer stopped her speculation as she was brought back to the task at hand. "Uhh. No Sir.  It's just an extensive list.  I have a few questions about the sizing.  The Ensign nodded and the two worked their way through the particulars of the items to make sure they fit.  Ensign Zark could understand the curiosity the two were bringing on themselves, and she was sure this was going to be reported to the Chief of Security anyway, but it would also be reported that the Andorian was pretty much on station.  Hopefully he was going to draw the right conclusion that the Ensign was already at work and keeping and eye on her charge.

The quarter master handed over the phasers, but had to head to the replicator to produce the other items and turned away to get to work.  The Andorian grabbed the energy weapons and walked her way over to where Enyd was still getting herself dressed very slowly and the Zhen put the Type II phaser on the table with a clatter as she stood near the diplomat and began conducting checks on the cricket. Ensign Zark had considered being surreptitious about why she was here, but she didn't see the point in trying subterfuge when she needed Ensign Madsen to trust her.  "And we meet again Ensign Madsen." The Andorian opened with a bright smile. Javec's attention shifted at the Andorian who was inserting herself into their moment, but being a smooth operator, he merely gave the toothy blue woman a calculating glance as he officially waited for the other shoe to drop.  "Since Lieutenant Commander Hersain insists, read orders, me to be your partners, we're going to be seeing each other quite a bit."  Zark offered brightly.  Javec had guessed as much and he grinned.  "I don't see a need for it Ensign.  The speech Ensign Madsen will be attending is hardly the most threatening environment to her health so as to need a body guard. It will also be one of the most heavily guarded locations." Javec offered reasonably in a whisky smooth voice that had generally gotten him the desired result in the past.  Zark merely continued smiling as her gaze shifted to the Type 2 phaser and continued her inspection as the telltale hum of a hover cart could be heard approaching.  "Well, Ensign Madsen seems to think other wise with the knife and other items hiding on her legs underneath that skirt, and I've been ordered to be her partner, I'm gonna have to trust her judgment that something could be a bit amiss about this event."

The cart arrived and Zark thumb printed the PADD confirming receipt of the requested items.  Through long practice, she stripped off her tunic and grabbed the body armour first.  It had a good chance of protecting a person from a kill setting, but it would hurt like the dickens if she got shot.  Next, the Andorian began attaching the the blades, tools, and explosives.  Javec frowned slightly at the display of hardware. "Will Miss Madsen be receiving the armour as well?" The Andorian shrugged as she zipped her tunic jacket back up and began fitting her utility belt with various items. "If she wants." was the only answer Zark could provide since she couldn't order Enyd to wear it as much as she wanted to.  Instead, the Andorian continued talking while he equipped herself.  "Well, Madsen what's this speech about that we're going to attend."  Zark asked with a bit of an emphasis on the joint nature of the trip.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #11
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

While Javec took in Zark’s abrupt appearance with poise, Enyd jerked with greenhorn surprise. She should’ve expected something or someone like Zark to show up to interrupt the moment with Javec. That was the story of her life, after all. One successive failure after another, always getting to the point of sealing the deal, then something or someone—often her own idiocy—impeding seeing things through to completion. She wasn’t just inexperienced with Cardassians in the ways of making love; she was inexperienced in every way and with all species. Swallowing the sigh of frustration she was oh so tempted to let out, Enyd instead smiled at Zark and gave the Andorian a polite nod of greeting. The woman’s comment had Enyd raising a single eyebrow, glancing down at Javec a moment before narrowing her gaze back on the security personnel working at strapping various articles to her vest.

“Did the lieutenant commander really insist, or did he just read you the orders, and you accepted without question?” she waited until after Javec commented on the speech, and then Zark sarcastically indicated Enyd’s penchant for over-preparation, with a pointed look at Enyd’s thigh holsters and the location of Javec’s hand still pressing warmly over Enyd’s knee. Knowing how much Zark protested, this new posting would go a long way toward knowing how much she could trust or rely on the Andorian.

Enyd gave Javec a half smile at his question about body armor. He was in jest; she recognized that, but based on Zark’s response, the Andorian hadn’t quite caught on to Cardassian humor just yet. Javec thought Enyd’s efforts were overkill and so lumped Zark’s preparations into the same category of “too much.” Still, he was the one who had lived among the underlying tension the entirety of his life, so it was easier for him to note when it was best to bow out and when it was best to stand one’s ground. Enyd was still learning the difference, and her upskirt tricks had already saved lives—her own included—and secured negotiations. She wasn’t about to stop with the overkill preparations if they’d already proven successful, even if the hot Cardassian thought she was an idiot for her efforts.

Javec resumed his assistance without further comment, his movements more professional and less lingering now that they had a could-be audience in Zark and the lurking requisitions officer behind the desk, staring at the pack of them as if they were all mad. Enyd gave Javec the floor to answer, not disappointed when his melodic voice filled the space in explanation.

“The Castellan is giving a speech on overcoming the ghosts of the past to secure the health of our children and the future in the same place where the Changelings detonated a chemical device that killed most of the students in a junior high school, along with the teachers and administrators.” After finishing his work, Javec pushed to the stand, eyes carefully tracking Enyd’s movements as she dropped her skirt back. “Of course, not themselves, but through their misguided Cardassian cohorts in the last days of the war. He secured the financial backing of a few off-world stakeholders who will finance the rebuilding of another school in the same location. While there are some rumors that one of the splinter groups of the Gremor Syndicate may make an appearance during the ceremony, they were not known for doing much more than throwing rotten fruit and setting off tear gas in crowds.”

Enyd rolled her eyes at his flippancy, be it feigned or true, and looked to Zark, “The Federation ambassador will also give a short speech after the Castellan and I am there to hold the plaque that the ambassador will later hand off to the Castellan, you know, to satisfy everyone’s need for pomp and circumstance on the doorsteps of past death and destruction.” Enyd tried not to sound sarcastic, but knew she wasn’t entirely successful in her efforts. Studying the Andorian a moment longer, Enyd smiled and gestured toward the door, “Ready? We will be walking there from here, as it is only a few blocks away and the public transport system still hasn’t returned to normal operating status.”

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #12
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

"Yep, lead the way local guide." Zark smiled as she waved at the door.  Stuffing a last grenade into one of the pockets, Ensign Zark followed next to Madsen as they left.  It was a short walk to the gate where all three of the party had to sign out.  As Enyd signed out, Zark caught the fulminating look the guard gave Enyd and the sympathetic one he gave her.  Huh. The boss was right.  Been giving everyone the run around. The Andorian thought to herself and it translated into her twisting her lips a bit as she tried not to smile at the gate watchers unhappiness with the diplomat.  After completing her own thumb print, the gate was opened and Zark entered a different world. 

If it hadn't been for her own war service, the Andorian would have been shocked at the destruction she saw.  Usually civilizations that had been around for a while tended to build a sense of history with their architecture, but in this case,  many of the buildings looked very new or were a patch work of various states of repair.  A low three story building just outside the compound was  a case in point as there was a slight discoloration cut diagonally across the building.  It was only by trained eye that the material on the upper half seemed to be a bit lighter and shinier than the rest.  Many people also moved about with a depression borne of the need to not feel as they worked on repairs.  In some cases, stacking debris into trucks for transport to the industrial replicators for reclamation and processing into new materials. 

"Javec, Enyd.  I have a question.  Granted the Federations is also rebuilding, but surely there was more that could be sent?"  Zark knew it was a naive questions, which was quite fair for her under the current conditions.  Javec looked at her for a moment to guage the Andorian, but Zark's face pretty much remained open and honest, and not knowing the woman, he decided to take this one at face value; simple curiosity, and maybe a chance to educate. "True, the Federation could send much more, and there are those who argue they should have.  Between us, when the initial negotiations began on this topic, the Ambassador actually offered much more, but the Castellan whittled down the amount."  Javec grinned and chuckled at that memory.  The look on the Ambassador's face had been priceless.  When he looked at the Andorian one more time, he let out a rich laugh that felt out of place in the street.  Zark's face was almost a mirror with one eye brow arched high, the other low and her mouth looking like she was getting ready to save up spit.  The aide sighed as his amused demeanour softened. "We are a proud people Ensign.  Yes, we make mistakes like any other culture, but nobody likes to be considered a poor beggar."  The light began to dawn on Zark's face as it returned to it's more neutral expression. "Rebuilding one world, while still a massive undertaking, is not all that difficult for space faring civilizations such as ours.  Cardassia would be just one more world.  Look how quickly Bajor was brought back to its natural splendor with Federation assistance."  Zark jerked slightly at that remark since in her mind the Bajorans really really disliked their former overlords and Javec picked up on it. "Just because they were in our thrall at one point doesn't mean they can't be appreciated after we've left Ensign zh’Ptrell."  Zark blushed at being caught out like this, but Javec ignored that as he looked around as a crane held a metal panel in place and several people on scaffolding began welding it in place. "We know we're indebted to the help you've provided, but we have to get our hands dirty to take ownership of process and remind us that this is our home and heart. Even if it means doing things the hard way."  Javec finished rather dramatically with a smile as he lifted both arms up like he was lifting weights and Zark could see the traces of the muscle bulging underneath his tunic.

Zark nodded at this. It made a lot of sense as she digested what Javec told her.  Also nodding along with Madsen's insights, the trio continued walking towards the speech.  The security Ensign suddenly stepped ahead and her arm went up to push the other two back for a moment while her hand went to the phaser on her hip.  There was suddenly a splat a couple of meters ahead of the group and Zark's sense of smell was assailed by rot and fermentation as her antennae began to whirl around like an ancient radar.  "Off world whores!  You especially!" and despite the distance, it definitely felt like the finger was being pointed at Javec.  "Begone from this place foul aliens and Glory for Cardassia!"  The cape flowed as the figure stared his disgust one more time then disappeared into the alleyway.

Zark had stood, leaning and  poised for action, but hadn't drawn her weapon nor moved her head as she interposed her body between the fruit thrower and her now two charges. With her antennae pointed in the direction he disappeared, she subconsciously felt his presence receding as people stared on. Standing up and releasing the phaser's handle, the blue woman turned to the Human and Cardassian. "Well, that was interesting. At least it wasn't a bomb. " The security officer took one more look around and while not happy, was satisfied they were safe for the moment. "Let's keep going." Zark told the other two, making sure to step around the splattered fruit.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #13
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

Exchanging a look with Javec, catching his matching note of awareness, Enyd nodded to Zark’s suggestion to head out and led the way to the gate. Javec would walk with them to one of the street corners outside the compound, then leave to liaise with the rest of his group who were departing from a different gate—one assigned primarily to Cardassian officials and therefore guarded by Cardassian guards. The guard on duty at the Federation gate seemed off-put by Javec’s presence but had the aide sign out the same as everyone else. Cardassians didn’t often come through the Federation-guarded gate, but they were authorized to do so if a Federation member accompanied them.

Enyd continued to lead the way outside the compound, schooling her features into a placid expression that denoted approachability despite the circumstances. As they moved past buildings leveled from the war, with a populace equally leveled in spirit, Enyd couldn’t help but look over to Zark, curious if the Andorian was shocked at what she saw. In her time on the planet, Enyd had encountered more than a few individuals who, at first arrival, spoke of the Cardassians as if they deserved what had happened to them but, later, upon seeing the extent of the destruction, seemed to swallow their prideful claims. Though Zark had not been vehement in any expressions for or against the Cardassians, it was always telling how someone new responded to the evidence of war. And for Zark, the mixed expressions playing across her blue features told Enyd that the woman had good character.

Javec was the one to answer Zark’s question, giving the Andorian a crash course introduction to Cardassian culture in the process as he walked her through the reason why the Castellan would decline more aid instead of asking for it. Enyd smiled at Javec’s adept ability to read Zark’s body langauge when he also pointed out the silliness of a presumption that Bajor was never much of anything before the Cardassians got ahold of it. The aide was quite the showman—one of his many qualities Enyd found intriguing—and it seemed from the subtle wave of Zark’s antenna at the end of Javec’s flourishing gestures, that the Andorian was not unaware of Javec charm or physical presence.

“We cannot force aid upon any people,” Enyd added at Javec lowered his arms back to his side, “where I come from back on Earth, there’s a phrase that could apply here. You can take a horse to the river but can’t make them drink from it. In this instance, we can maintain a presence here working within the parameters the Castellan indicated, showing a united front, and remain available to adapt to any new circumstances as they arrive.”

As they neared the area where Javec would leave them to join his own people, Zark suddenly raised an arm to bring their small party to a halt. Javec shifted to stand just ahead of Enyd, a move that had Enyd quirking an eyebrow upward, but his shoulders relaxed, as did Enyd’s when none other than Modirt Mit tossed a bit of fruit in their direction and screamed out his common insults at them. Enyd was thankful Zark wasn’t a shoot first ask questions later type guard, otherwise, they’d have even more problems on their hands.

“Modirt Mit is fairly harmless. He lost his family and his unit in the war, and as you can see, most of his mind.” Javec shook his head, voice clouded with the sound of disappointment. “It would have been better if he’d died as well instead of living this half-life.” Before Zark could throw judgment at him, as he presumed she would, Javec continued, “He has moments of clarity in between the madness, and in those moments, he weeps for those he lost and begs for death. I suggested to the Castellan that we formerly charge him with anything to fulfill his lucid wish, but the Castellan has refused me so far. Something about needing even a madman in the remaking of our world.” When Zark suggested they continue, Javec politely shook his head, placing a hand on his chest and giving both Enyd and Zark a semi-formal bow. “I must join up with the rest of the Castellan’s aides down this way,” he pointed to the side road near where they’d paused, “I will see you both at the speech.”

Only once they were alone, moving along what was left of the sidewalk, did Enyd speak up, “What’s your prior experience with civil unrest, Ensign?”

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #14
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

The fact that Javec knew the pour soul by name spoke volumes of the number of incidents that he'd personally been involved with this individual and Ensign Zark nodded sadly as she felt the husk of a man disappear back into the abyss to be haunted again by his ghosts.  Unfortunately, as much as she wanted to help, it was well outside her jurisdiction, and her skill set as well.  Even if she'd attended Starfleet Medical, this was a job for proper professionals to work on.  As the trio got closer to the speech site, Zark kept her senses alert in case there were any other attempts to disrupt their arrival.  Zark didn't really see how leaving the man in his current state helped, but once again, it wasn't her call.

Nodding as Javec bid his farewell to join the Castellan's party, the Andorian stuck to the human's side.  Zark twisted her lips as she considered Enyd's question.  "Not much in the way of real experience with civil unrest." Noticing the increase in the number of troops up ahead, the security officer allowed herself to relax a bit and turned to face her charge as they talked. "We know to leave the main negotiation up to the diplomats, but at my level, we usually work with forming a cordon and just trying to keep a situation from getting any worse.  That could mean just patrolling the streets to forming a shield wall if things are getting out of hand."  Zark shrugged at this. "I generally prefer patrolling the streets since there are fewer emotions to feed off of, and there's a good chance we could come across something that could help to stabilize the situation.  It's more straight forward police work to be honest.  Most of the times though, we're mainly there to show the flag and stay out of the way of the local authorities till they request assistance."  Zark made a quick sweep of their surroundings. "In most cases though, it's up to someone much higher whether we intervene.  From what I understand it, the main basis for the decision is the saving of lives, so we provide a security presence to protect the medical and engineering crews that are going in to help the injured and restore basic services.  Stabilizing the situation politically is up to the locals to figure out.  As far as I know, the diplomats step in only when it's clear the sides are at an impasse."  Ensign Zark shrugged as she offered a tight smile.  "I guess it makes it easier for everyone to chat when the heat is on and people can still get food on the tables.  Makes the situation look a lot less dire than the fear mongers want."

This view point carried them into the area where the speech was occurring and both had to register themselves with security before going any further.  The apprehension from the guards was palpable when the scanners picked up all the hardware that the two women had on them.  Zark was covered by her COs authorization, while Enyd's body was considered diplomatically sacrosanct.  The guard's simply settled for giving the two of them dirty looks to which Zark returned the look with a blank stare though her antennae had started to angle back against her head as an indication of how annoyed she was.  Nonetheless, they were passed through. 

When the two were out of ear shot, Zark started talking again, but about more immediate concerns. "Well, they're a lovely bunch.  Doing their jobs, but a lovely bunch nonetheless." The Andorian started in a tone so dry it would have turned a lake into a desert.  Having gotten that out of her system, the Andorian continued. "Enyd, I can't be up on the stage with you, but I'll be patrolling along the perimeter.  If there's any trouble, hopefully they'll think a lone guard is easier to take out than the pairs that typically rove about."  Zark knew she sounded as crazy as the plan was foolhardy. "Hopefully nothing untowards happens, but we are living in interesting times."  Before the pair headed their seperate ways, Zark turned and smiled as she offered her hand to Enyd. "Good luck to both of us."

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #15
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

Enyd appreciated the insights Zark shared as they continued to the speech area. The Andorian’s answers were not surprising, and Enyd nodded to many of the statements the woman shared. The crowd was already gathered when they made it to the square and moved through the checkpoint into the secured area nearest the stage. The guards on duty knew Enyd’s zealous nature in remaining prepared for all scenarios. While some found her over-preparedness a nuisance and fairly insulting against their capabilities, others wrote her off as a heretic diplomat and did their best to ignore her.

“I’m sure hell will break loose,” Enyd shook Zark’s offered hand with a shameless look of bemusement, “it always does. And that’s why I always prepare for the worst.”

Enyd took her place along the edge of the stage while Javec escorted the Castellan from the other side. She wasn’t the highest-ranking member of the diplomatic corps here and did not merit a seat close to the Castellan. At least not by Starfleet protocols. However, before Enyd could settle her bum in the uncomfortable chair provided, one of the Cardassian aides she’d forgotten the name of whispered into Enyd’s CDO’s ear, lightly gesturing toward Enyd. The CDO frowned but nodded, glancing toward Enyd and giving a quick head jerk for Enyd to follow the aide.

Stepping close to the CDO, Enyd paused on her path to follow the aide as the man whispered, “Don’t let your guard down, Madsen.”

She responded with a firm nod, following the aide until he gestured for her to sit next to Javec, who sat between her and the Castellan. Using the excuse of getting settled in her chair to lean close, Enyd whispered to Javec, “Your doing, I suppose.” He grunted an affirmative response. “But why?” Enyd leaned against the hard highback of her seat, gaze scanning over the crowd to ascertain why Javec would be so obvious with the protocol break.

“There will be an attack. The Castellan already knows.” Enyd stiffened, gaze immediately moving to grab Zark’s, hoping the Andorian could sense her foreboding. “I figured our odds of survival are higher if we sit together.”

Enyd frowned, “Does my CDO know?”

“It is not my job to inform your officers of everything.” Javec put his hands together in applause as the Castellan bravely took a position at the podium, as if he didn’t know about the threat. Javec leaned down to whisper, “If he doesn’t know by now, that is his own fault.”

Enyd’s hands felt numb as she clapped alongside the others, uncertain if she should make a scene and tell her superiors and colleagues or if it would be safer for everyone just to let things play out. If the Cardassians knew of the attack, they likely already had a contingency plan in place. And if they knew, the CDO likely knew by now, or at least had a suspicion, considering what he’d told her as she passed by. Again searching through the crowd, Enyd kept her eyes peeled for both Zark and any hints of the presumed inevitable attack.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #16
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Ensign Zark strolled the perimeter in a casual looking manner while her antennae made lazy circles above her head. Taking in the sights as she kept an eye out for potential ambushes, the Andorian subconsciously stretched that strange sixth sense that was common to the species. Her war time service had honed that link to a finer edge than was considered normal in any Andorian due to the need to watch out for cloaked Jem'Hadar who would literally appear out of thin air to stab, bludgeon, or shoot the Starfleet and Klingon personnel as they fought across the surface of Kalandra not that long ago.  Thankfully for the moment, there was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was a harder to read a situation unless the threat was directly against her or her general close vicinity. So looking like an armoured tourist, Zark linked her hands behind her and continued strolling.

[Jamar Triatt and Sudraytt Gerre | Terris Prett Garden]

Hidden behind a series of bushes, Jamar kneeled down next to a bag and pulled out the hard Cardassian military uniform.  Taking a final look around, he stripped out of the gardeners overalls that was his actual work uniform.  Off to the side, he could hear Sudraytt dragging a body away into the work shed where they stored their usual gardening tools.  Jamar would have preferred the corpse that Sudraytt was dragging away was a couple of the filthy off worlders, but they were concentrated near the square's entrances and had traitors with them.  Jamar quietly scoffed at the turn coats and figured the two that were dead now were a good down payment for their treason in not actively resisting the invaders like he and Sudraytt were doing.  This job had taken some time and planning, but after the bombing of the War Widows wing, the two former members of the military had understood that eventually it would be rebuilt and as a public relations show case, it was irresistible for high ranking people like the Castellan to show up.  Weak Pandering Politicians Jamar thought to himself.  Truth be told, Jamar had no idea who'd blown up the wing and he found the act disgusting, but he hated politicians even more.  Damar, the weakling, had sold them out when the Eleventh Order had been left to rot then get slaughtered on Septimus III.  Both Jamar and Sudraytt had been injured early in the fighting in the region and had been lucky enough to be evacuated back to Cardassia, just in time to watch it all fall apart.  They'd barely made it out of the military hospital before the Jem'Hadar had stormed in, killing everyone.  A lot of their friends hadn't been as lucky, and that damn Damar was responsible again when he'd turned his coat.  Being a weakling was one thing, but a traitor as well!  Shaking his head, Jamar wondered what would have happened if Dukat hadn't gone down fighting on Terek Nor like a true Cardassian and had survived to keep leading the Union. 

Sudraytt returned, and Jamar set about getting a bottle out and opening the top to add water.  The powder inside the glass vessel began to quickly dissolve when the liquid mixed in and Sudraytt placed another innocuous looking glass bottle on the ground next to him before heading back into the storage shed to get the final piece.  It had taken time to assemble all the seemingly innocent pieces together, but once it was all tied together, Jamar had a powerful and toxic binary explosive.  If the explosion didn't get the Castellan, then the toxins would eventually kill him.

Jamar's head turned when he heard the sound of something hitting metal from the direction of the shed and his brows furrowed in confusion.  Pulling a knife from his boot, he held out as his other hand was ready to deflect any attacks that came his way.  "Sudraytt?" Jamar called out.  Silence was all he received.  Moving cautiously, the Cardassian moved towards the shed where his partner was supposed to be "Sudraytt?" he called again as his heart rate began to climb.  Where was he?  Jamar's head turned left and right when he got to the shed door and saw nothing. Taking a breath, he pressed a button to open the door and slowly moved in.  Suddenly there was pain in his leg as it buckled and twisted sideways as he went down on one knee, then his world blacked out and he saw stars as a leg flashed out of nowhere and smashed into his face.  The knife went flying somewhere behind him and he tried to get his arms up to protect his head. Blinding unbelievable agony roared through his body and he let out an animal roar of pain as a boot slammed down between his legs.  The agony was too much as his hands reached to cover his manhood and he tried to roll over and curl into a ball.  He'd been demolished and dominated so quickly and brutally that tears began to flow as he desperately gasped for breath.

[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark)]  

Zark blew a loose hair out of her face as she looked at her victim with only a small trace of satisfaction.  She took one more moment to drive a punch into his head and bounce it off the ground, leaving him stunned before grabbing his unresisting arms and binding them with some gardeners string.  It took a little more effort and a bit of grunting to pull him up against the wall, then bind his feet together.  Zark finished with lashing the two bindings together.  If he tried anything, the force of pulling his own body was going to make it much more difficult.  Pulling up a box, the Andorian waited for his pain to subside and senses to return.

When he was coherent enough, the Cardassian looked shocked at the lithe blue alien calmly watching him.  He thought he'd been beaten by a Klingon! The Starfleet symbols registered and he spat "I'll tell you nothing!"

Zark coldly smiled back.  Once consequence of the war that her family had noted was that the Zhen seemed much more ruthless.  Zark seemed to take more chances than she would have before. It was as if a part of her had become much more merciless after coming face to face with the death and horror.  Starfleet Medical had also noted this in her file, but had added an addendum that she did not seem to use her ruthlessness too willingly.  On the other hand, her ability to use it at a moments notice had eluded the psychiatrists.

"No need to be so cliche and dramatic. I'll make this easy to start, and you get one chance to tell me what I need to know before I start pulling it from you." 

The Cardassisn scoffed at this.  "You're Starfleet, you don't have the stomach for it." Jamar practically sneered, especially the word Starfleet.

Ensign Zark gave a sad smile.  "You'd be right with a lot other people, but not after what I've seen the Jem'Hadar do. Have you seen their technique for stabbing someone with a bayonet?  It's really like gutting a fish." 

Jamar's eyes widened at this description and the security officer tilted her head.  "You do know what I'm talking about.  Saw it in person I take it?"

Jamar said nothing, but his throat bobbing in fear pretty much confirmed that he had some sort of trauma regarding this, and Zark moral compass warred with itself for a moment to decide if she should take advantage of it.  Mentally nodding to herself, she committed.

The blue woman slowly approached the sitting Cardassian and subtly undulated her hips, then placed a hand on one knee.  "Tell me." she breathed. "Who's the target and what's the plan?"

Jamar didn't want to think that this thing in front of him could be attractive, but she was making a good case for it.  His crotch still hurt though and was letting him know, he didn't need to get excited.  "I will tell you. Nothing"  he gritted out.

Zark's lips twisted into a seductive smile. "You've got nowhere to go and this part of the plan has fallen apart. Surely you can get yourself some leniency by helping me?"  Zark shrugged as she pulled her knife out and began tracing it along his leg before stopping at his aching crotch "Otherwise" and began pressing the point in slightly.

Jamar tried to hold out, but the worsening pointy pressure against his pained manhood broke him as he gasped. The thought of being mutilated in such a fashion was simply too much for a man to bear, especially from the cold eyes of the blue alien over him. Tears rolled down in shame as he knew he broke. "Alright! Alright!  Just please don't, just don't!" The pressure stopped but didn't retreat though. "We're supposed to use this bomb at the speech, but if it doesn't work, we have guards who will go in and kill him.  If we don't show up, he's to be killed when he gets the plaque."

Zark looked at the man.  Read his motions, and emotions, sussing out if he was telling the truth.  Maybe he was a bully at heart, and push come to shove, he'd broken off.  Maybe the thought of being castrated was too much.  It didn't matter, the beaten man seemed to be telling the truth, and Zark's sense of the perverse took over as she cupped his chin and planted a kiss on his lips. "Thank you for not making me brutalize you."  Pulling a hypospray from a pocket, she swapped the vial. "What are you doing?" Asked the confused Cardassian.  "Sleepy time." Zark responded and she injected Jamar as he struggled to get out of his bonds, then fell limply on the floor.

Taking a breath, Zark tapped her combadge.  "Zark to Enyd and Herasin, we have a problem." and the Andorian quickly laid out what she'd found as she made a mad dash back to the Castellan and the speech.

OOC: Jamar rolled a willpower test at disadvantage. Roll results were 17 and 7.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #17
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

Enyd heard Zark’s muffled voice over the din of the applauding crowd. Glancing at Javec, she gave the aide a pinched look, to which he nodded. Pulling a small PADD from the interior pocket of his uniform jacket, Javec typed in a series of instructions before deftly putting the PADD away. While he’d likely not heard Zark’s warning, he understood the look well enough. Enyd noticed a device on the Castellan’s belt blink and watched as the Castellan’s body tensed, one foot sliding back behind the other in a brace position.

Javec tugged at Enyd’s elbow, guiding her to stand closer to his side, “You might want to cover your ears. You have more sensitive hearing, after all.”

Before Enyd could ask what he meant by the instructions, a series of loud sirens sounded around the courtyard. The crowd tensed and then moved in a panic. They had not heard these sirens since the Dominion had turned their weapons against Cardassia Prime. There was not one among the crowd who had not lost a loved one or precious resources to the Dominion’s destructive force. Without an explanation for the sirens, the crowd was left to stew and festered in their lingering traumatic memories, surging to and fro in an effort to flee the courtyard to somewhere safer.

As this happened, the guards closest to the Castellan pulled him back and shielded him as they led him to the rear exit to the stage. Enyd noted that this exit had not been there moments before, yet now both the Castellan and her CDO were moving down the ramp and into the ruined shell of the building that had been at their backs as if they’d known it was there the whole time.

“What’s going on?” Enyd managed her question once they were inside the building, and the wail of the sirens was at their backs.

Her CDO glared at Javec before answering Enyd, “Fighting fire with fire. They’re using the press of the crowd as their cover to retreat.”

Unlike her CDO, who obviously found this tactic contemptible, Enyd applauded the ingenuity. So long as no one was killed in a panicked trample, it was a good tactic if they could walk away from this without loss of life. Enyd continued through the rubble behind the guards leading point, the Castellan and his security detail directly behind them, her CDO directly in front of her, flanked by his security detail, Javec at her side.

“Should we-“

Enyd’s words were cut off as the bright-colored beams of disruptor fire smashed into the ruined column just before her. The guards and security detail responded instinctively, pushed the Castellan and her CDO down as they took up position, and responded to the ambush. A protective arm draped over our shoulder and pulled Enyd into a crouch close beside Javec.

Her CDO glared again at Javec, “Who knew about this alternative route?”

Javec didn’t bother to respond as another front suddenly opened behind them, nearly taking out the CDO directly if it weren’t for Javec’s rough pull on his uniform sleeve while also pulling out his weapon and taking aim at the new opponents. Reaching under her skirt, Enyd pulled out her weapon and took position alongside the Cardassian aide. Behind her, Enyd heard the CDO call for backup, citing their location, before unholstering his weapon and working alongside his security detail.

“Hold this,” Enyd handed her phaser to Javec before reaching under her skirt again, this time pulling out the flash grenade she’d felt compelled to include in her regular ensemble today, “maybe we can get out from under the fire if we blind them. Do we have an exit route?”

"That depends on when the cavalry arrives," one of the security details gruffly called in response, aiming at one of their attackers and growling when they ducked back into cover before getting the shot.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #18
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

The dashing Andorian barely even slowed down as the harsh wail of warning sirens sliced through the air. Then there was the screech of a weapon being fired and a scream pierced the air as pandemoneum took hold. If anything, it just made her go faster knowing a price would be paid later, but in the mean time, there was trouble ahead and her charge was in the thick of it, though certainly not by her choice. Herasin's voice came over the combadge quickly. "Ensign Zark, Herasin here. I'm in the main security room and we've tied into your tricorder. It's chaos ahead of you. I have the ambassador, several other aides, and Madsen bunched together. Okay, there's weapons fire up ahead. Bates! Is the system tracking hostiles? Good. Okay. We're tentatively tagging hostiles and friendlies based on which way the fire is going. Ensign Zark you are authorized to engage under Yellow Alpha. How copy?"

The security officer quickly huffed out an acknowledgement as she ran the last few meters to the speech square. She hadn't really expected any other call  from the Commander when he'd authorized the Rules of Engagement. The Security Chief had pretty much ordered the Ensign to preemptively stun anyone she thought was a threat. If she'd been told to go in under Yellow Beta, she'd be required to be threatened first, which amounted to someone had to point a weapon at her. Red was a blanket kill order, and Green would have required Zark to order someone to drop their weapon or cease and desist first.  In Zark's mind, red was overkill, but acceptable, where as green would have been ignored as non sensible.

Slowing as she got near the fighting, Zark dropped into a crouch and leapord crawled her way to a concrete embankment. Thankfully her garden diversion meant she wasn't part of the regular patrol pattern, and it showed with Cardassian bodies thrown about in various states of cauterized death. Zark had to pause at one point when she saw a pair locked in a death grip with each other, a knife in ones neck, while the other had a blade sticking out of his chest. Whatever was going on was a serious attempt at the Castellan, maybe also the ambassador.

Reaching the embankment, the Andorian gripped the edge and poked her eyes above the edge to get a read on the situation. This was a lot easier since she wasn't getting shot at, but there was certainly quite a bit directed at the stage. "Herasin here. The reaction team hit a roadblock and are taking fire. They're working on getting around. They have one dead so far. Local security forces are enroute to your location, but they're in confusion at the moment. Someone blew up their transporter relay. I also can't reach Linetti or Mgabe. I think the plants got them at the gate. " Zark winced at the news. First day on the job and there were three dead. Her lips curled into a snarl as the killer inside her demanded a blood price. "The Voroth is sending reinforcements, but they'll need some time to assemble. Zark, I'm pulling the reaction team back, find a secure zone that I can beam them in, then you take them in and get our people out."

"Acknowledged" Zark quietly replied as she gripped the cover in front of her and surveyed the scene. While it was chaos, calm observation picked out what looked like a half dozen people in the hard rubber uniforms of the Cardassian military trying to push through the throng towards the stage. A pair had taken up an over watch position on a balcony and we're peppering the stage to cover the attack.  The Andorian happened to be looking in the direction of the stage when one of the Castellan's body guards took a hit and was knocked over.  She had to make a decision quickly before the situation became more dire and the Starfleet party risked capture or death.  The security officer saw a path forward, but it was very high risk and would most likely earn her a disciplinary for being reckless, but she didn't see too much choice.  She was a good shot, but it was easy to be unsure about firing into the crowd.  Pulling her phaser, she set the weapon for level 2, not the highest for the ranges she was thinking of working at.  "Sir, set beam down to my current coordinates, I'm going in." The Andorian gritted her teeth as the reply of "What you do you mean you're going in?!  Ensign, hold!"

The acrobatic Andorian vaulted over her cover and quickly closed with the crowd.  She had a generally very good idea of the threat axis as she pushed her way into the crowd, hunting for her prey.  People of various sizes flashed past in all directions, many dressed in a professional, if plain manner.  Her quarries though, they all looked the same and Zark hunched down a little bit more to make herself less visible.  It helped that she wasn't making a scene and the crowd was running in every direction. She snaked through the crowd, twisting and bending like a blue ethereal huntress, only occasionally being jostled by random on comer, but never losing sight of her prey.  Hard focused eyes tracked the nearest one, but kept a look out in the general direction of the others.  Her quarry had tunnel visioned, oblivious to the hunt being performed on it.  He would never know what hit him.

She was like a snake sliding out of the foliage, phaser close to her chest and ready to strike. She about a meter away and for a moment she had a clear line of sight as she brought her phaser onto her first victim and depressed the trigger.  An orange beam caused pain suddenly overcame his expression before he collapsed to his knees and his head hit the ground. One. Ducking a bit, she dashed towards the second one, and had to wait for a child to run past then shot him in the side.  Surprise was complete as he fell over and rolled away from his attacker, asleep. Two. From hard experience, Zark knew she was within throwing distance of the balcony and the blue wraith reached into her pocket and hurled the smoke grenades at the balcony. The two above had seen something coming and tried to seek cover against what they thought was going to blow them into bits of messy wet flesh. Instead the chemicals reacted with the oxygen and a white cloud billowed about them, concealing their vision.

The Andorian had no time for this as she headed deeper into the rapidly thinning crowd. Number three also never saw the shot that got him, but four had heard it and was turning to face the new threat. He had no idea what was interfering with the plan when his shoulder was knocked back by an orange beam, then another one knocked him out cold. Five and Six realized they had problems on their flank. This was not part of the plan, in fact, none of it was going to how they thought it should. The Castellan's body guards had proven more adept than expected, and the bomb they'd been planning to use was no where in sight. Now something was attacking them from a different direction. So the assailants froze as they tried to decide what to do. Beams came in from the stage and one man yelled as he was struck down by lances of energy. The other one ducked from a near miss and brought his weapon to bear on the strange blue assassin in their midst. Zark sidestepped at the last second and winced as  the yellow beam flew past her and a civilian screamed as a hole was burned into his leg. This shot exacted it's own vengeance when another beam hit the shooter in the head and he fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

The Andorian paused for a moment with all six ground level assailants wither dead or incapacitated. She didn't know the situation on the stage, but there were two known baddies she could deal with and her instincts shouted in their direction as she took off towards where she saw them last.

[Lieutenant Commander Herasin | Security Operations | Federation Embassy | Cardassia Prime]

The Bolian crossed his arms in front of his chest and grinned. He'd had his doubts when Chief Foreman's letter had included the details about the little sapphire he was being sent. That beautiful little gem was like an ancient scythe going through wheat as she'd methodically picked her way through the assailants in the crowd. Monitoring the situation, he could see her heading in the direction of the last two attackers in that area and he was about to pass on the information when the Voroth interfered at the worst possible moment when dozen security officers and half a dozen armed medical personnel beaned to the specified location and immediately began looking for orders.  His eyes flicked to Ensign Zark's beacon and it she was almost in contact with the balcony assailants. She was on her own, and Herasin instead began to direct the security team towards the stage.  Eight grim faced, rifle armed people headed in the indicated direction as they shook out into a skirmish line.

[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]

The Andorian had a little bit of warning that something was coming, but it didn't help as she collided with a Cardassian woman and they both oofed as they hit the ground and both lost their weapons.  Zark acted on instinct and got to her feet as soon as she was free and charged the follower who was trying to bring his weapon to bear.  The Andorian saw this coming and got inside him before he muzzle could track on her and she jumped in mid air and kicked both her feet out at his chest.  There was a crunch as both her boots connected with his ribs and he cried out as his lungs were momentarily rearranged from the rest of his body while Zark fell on her back and jumped up. She war airborne momentarily as she jumped to deliver a round house to the Cardassian man's head that snapped his head to one side and his brain called it quits.

As soon as she landed, the security officer turned to face the Cardassian woman and Zark grunted as her head snapped from a punch to the head.  Another grunt escaped as a punch snapped her head the other way, and a pair punch slammed into her mid section and she doubled over.  A fast rising knee crunched into the blue face and Zark saw stars as she was snapped backwards into a standing position.  The Cardassian woman took a moment to smirk as she threw a punch at the off worlder's bloody head and her world went mad.  Zark had been in far worse beatings and still continued fighting, so despite her apparently dazed state, her mind had numerous options available, and she deflected the punch to the side.  The Andorian yelled as she used the momentum execute a scissors on the woman's neck, then used her body mass to throw her to the ground.  The opponents head bounced off the ground and Zark jumped on top of her then drove her fist into base of her skull smashing her head into the ground and knocking her out.

The Andorian was breathing hard at the beating and exertion and wiped her hand across her face and noticed that is was wet and darker than expected.  Shaking her head at having been hit, Zark made her way to her phaser and bent over to scoop it off the floor before making her way back to the two Cardassians she'd just fought.  The male was starting to stir showing his brain had reset and the security officer checked the setting on her weapon before shooting him and knocking him out.  Turning, she gave the Cardassian woman one final look before stunning her as well.  Sucking in some air and hearing a flutter, Zark looked around to get her bearing before taking off to find Madsen.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #19
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

With their numbers depleting and little hope for reinforcements to arrive in time, Enyd wasn’t surprised when Javec grabbed the grenade from her grasp, barked orders over his shoulder to his comrades, then threw it. Enyd was then pulled into his arms, head tucked under his chest. Seconds later, they felt the heat of the blast, and as one, they moved—Cardassian and Federation members alike—weapons bared as they rushed from their marginal cover toward the last known exit. They’d made it only a few yards when movement in her peripherals alerted Enyd of a possible attacker. Reaching under her skirt, she grabbed one of her gas canisters, tossing it at the assailant as they first emerged from behind the rubble.

“Move!” She called to those in front, a pair of guards, one Starfleet and one Cardassian, with the Castellan and CDO in the middle, followed by two more guards, and then Javec and herself at the rear.

The gas was not lethal, but it packed a large enough wallop that they’d be vomiting and sneezing uncontrollably for the next five minutes if they didn’t get out of range. The guards up front picked up the pace, though just barely, judging by the acrid scent that still assaulted Enyd’s nostril seconds later, accompanying the retching sounds of the would-be attacker.

“Why don’t you forego the skirt altogether,” Javec grunted at her side, not sparing her a look but keeping his eyes peeled for further attack, “it seems to be slowing you down.”

Under any other circumstances, Enyd would presume he just wanted to see her run around in her underwear and stockings with the dual holsters working double duty, keeping her well-armed and keeping her stockings firmly secured to her thighs. However, she saw merit in his comment and paused long enough to undo the fastenings and wiggle out of the skirt without further preamble. The CDO glanced back just in time to see both the movement and the reason for it, and Enyd caught his gaze just long enough to note the mixture of confusion, appreciation, and concern cross his features before he shook his head and returned his attention forward.

“You’re right,” Enyd resumed her pace at his side, her legs working harder to keep up, “this is much better. Maybe you should try it too.” Unlike Javec’s comment being based on sound logic, Enyd’s was shamelessly based on the desire to see his muscled legs.

Neither of them was left with room to further their verbal or physical repartee. More attacks began, this time from their left flank, sending them behind a series of old crates for cover.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #20
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

It wasn't hard to tell where the fighting was going on as the high pitched multi tonal screams of phaser blasts mixed with much more frequent Cardassian disruptors.  As Zark got closer, her hearing began to be able to distinguish the direction the shots were going.  The area was becoming a veritable hellscape as a smattering of Starfleet security fired at targets while they knelt or lay amongst the wreckage next to other Cardassians security forces or military.  Outgoing gold beams of energy fire mixed with outgoing orange pulses of the new phaser rifles, while beams of the traitor weapons spat back their defiance against a situation.  Sparks of energy impacts and small fires burned forcing the living to shy away while they precariously balanced injury and death in the midst of heated battle.  Zark stopped at a pillar corner to assess the situation and she tried to work out how to get to the fire fight to get more intel on the situation.

Someone called out to cover and in less than perfect unison, Starfleet and Cardassian rose and laid down a withering barrage of fire.  While the Voroth's crew had risen closely together, they couldn't lay down fire superiority without their allies and one human screamed as he was hit in the shoulder and tumbled back.  A red headed teal collar ran up and fired his phaser in the direction of the enemy before grabbing the man and dragging into cover. Belatedly, the Cardassians rose up and added their weight of fire to the situation and one yelled for others to rush to the next position.  It was a cold blooded decision, but as soon as Zark saw a pair of of Cardassian break cover to rush, the Andorian took off towards the firing knowing they'd draw the fire away from her avenue of approach.

It worked as the pile of rubble they ran out from was skewered by lances of fire and one of the rushing men stumbled and fell as his leg was blasted from under him.  Zark dashed through the relative safety and slowed down then took a knee as the medic worked on the injured man.  He turned his head in surprise as Zark made her rapid approach and fumbled for his phaser for a moment before realizing he was looking at another Starfleet officer then grimaced as he went back to work patching up the deliriously moaning man.  "Commander Herasin?  I'm at the road block.  What's the situation." Zark asked as soon as she took a knee next to the medic and watched him while he worked to repair the shoulder.  "Not good.  About half a dozen military or police tried to flank around through the alleys to your left, but they ran into a blocking position there and are pinned.  The group your with is also pinned. The bad guys are still fighting towards where the Castellan is, but it's tough slog on all sides.  The ambassador and Castellan are putting up resistance, but look like they're hanging on by their finger nails.  There's chaos on the Cardassian sides chain of command since they're not sure which units are loyal, so no body else is entering the fight for the moment."  Zark grimaced at the assessment.  "The Minister of the Interior has ordered the Voroth not to send down anyone else declaring this a local matter.  The Captain is trying his best to get that overturned, but he's having trouble just getting past the chief of staff now."  Zark groaned at politics getting involved at a time like this as phaser and disruptor fire lashed back and forth in the background. "Sir, shouldn't a direct order from the Castellan summon more help?" "It should, but one of the bodyguards tried to take a shot at Castellan, so their paranoia is high in space right now."

Ensign Zark made her way to the rubble pile and grabbed the man's dropped phaser rifle and got on her belly on the ground.  Taking a moment to lean out the side of cover, she scanned the resistance ahead.  The Andorian took a moment to contemplate the setup while she formed a picture in her mind of the setup.  "Sir, what are those buildings on the left?"  There was a pause. "Mainly more permanent shops.  We've tapped their comms and the flanking party says they're taking fire from the upper floors. it was close quarters so four of them are down that way.  The other two say they're in cover, but it's more like they're cowering.  Can't blame them really.  What do you have in mind?"  Zark thought furiously for a moment and considered asking for permission to kill, but they're was a way around.  "Sir, I'll head through the buildings on the left."  Herasin's reply came back quickly. "Acknowledged.  Good luck."

Zark nodded minutely as she adjusted the scope and made sure it was on maximum stun.  Given her experiences and career route options, Starfleet had seen fit to send her to train with the Starfleet Marines, and they had a much more liberal attitude towards the use of weapons which fit pretty well with the Andorian.  Sighting an enemy position, she waited till he popped his head out and aimed for his lower jaw, then pulled the trigger.  The single bolt screamed out and the max power knockout bolt hit him square in the face and knocked him out cold with not so much as a grunt.  Zark felt bits of debris dig into her clothes as she took cover to see if anyone had spotted her.  Nothing came her way and she leaned out one more time and scanned for another target.  Spotting two, she waited for one to pop out while the other was hiding.  Another single bolt from an expressionless face knocked back another defender.  The other man hid for a moment, stunned at what had happened to the comrade next to him.  Leaning out to see if there was some other force on the battlefield, his head was just a bit too high giving Zark his position.  A pair of eyes peaked out and ate a stun bolt between them knocking him back.

It was impossible to get a complete picture of the battlefield, and Zark scurried back into cover as the area around her exploded in debris and fire as someone saw her shot and suppressed her but couldn't hit her. There was yelling ahead and Zark rolled take take up another position before stopping next to a crewman who also ducked into cover under the fusillade. His face combined equal parts terror and excitement as he hugged his rifle close to him and stared wide eyed at the bloody blue beauty next to him. Zark gave the crewman a smile then lifted her head over her cover. Ducking down to just in case anyway shot in her direction, she took a bated breath then looked over again. Her sniping of the right side had worked as the trapped defenders had thinned themselves to replace the coverage they'd lost.  It was time to play with the heavy artillery and Zark settled herself onto her butt as she pulled out her tricorder and began scanning the area with the cross references with tactical input being provided by Herasin in the security centre.  Taking a moment to mark several locations, the Andorian then closed the tricorder and stowed it.

Patting the crew man and planting a kiss on him, Zark said good luck into his ear and ran towards the shops. It was still a gauntlet of fire, but less than what she would have had to deal with if she hadn't sniped the traitors and caught them in the middle of redeploying. The other shooters were less enthusiastic as the shots that missed the Andorian sizzled past their own heads forcing them to duck, but it did help to expose a few more defenders who were stunned or killed in the process. A shot blew off the building ahead and Zark winced and ducked as she heard a piece of metal flying by but didn't see the whisps of white hair that were separated from her mane.  Slowing to round the corner, she could hear the a different set of disruptors being fired and she turned one of her eyes around the corner.  Sure enough, there was a pair of Cardassian police, more noticeable by their more cloth like over coats cowering behind a street stall and screaming for reinforcements that weren't coming.  Takign aim with the phaser rifle, she measured the distance to where the fire was peppering the police officer's cover. Pulling out the tricorder once more, she marked the spots on the map and decided to use hopefully a technicality quick enough to save everyone.  "Commander Herasin, I'm uploading targeting coordinates.  Contact the Voroth and have them beam phaser grenades and flash bangs to the indicated locations.  I need one grenade pair from target markers one through seven, then two on eight through eleven one meter apart."  There was a pause then "Hold on." came the reply. Zark took the moment to let the flankers know she was here as she aimed around the corner at one man sticking his body out a window to get a better shot.  He never saw the shot coming and Zark nailed him in the chest and he screamed as he fell out to the street below.  There was yelling as the group suddenly wondered what had hit them and another man stuck his head out, only to get knocked back into the room unconscious as he took a bolt to the head.  "Approved.  The Voroth says they need five minutes to prep the grenades."

"Fuck that, cancel targeting on markers 8 through 11, I'm going in."  Zark fast marched into the alley and fired a burst towards the remaining attackers every time her left foot came down.  This carried her to the door where the last group of holdouts was bunkered and she took a moment to give the building an intensive scan to see who was where.  Everyone was located on the upper floor and she hoped that nobody had gear to mess with the tricorder other wise her quad was going to be looking for a new Zhen.  She didn't try to kick the door or blast it open.  Instead, she activated the hack feature on tricorder and pressed herself against the wall, then pressed the admittance button.  There was a whoosh of hydraulics as the door opened and security officer stepped in rifle raised.  Her eyes were wide and breathing intense.  She'd gotten a good layout when she'd made her scan and she could feel something up the stairs ahead of her.  It didn't  help her cause though when her boots thunked against the floor since everyone's senses were wired.  She did have a trick up her sleeve though as she pulled out the flashbang, armed it, counted to three, then tossed it in the general vicinity of the man up top. 

A bright flash and a bang accompanied yelling of a man shouting he couldn't see and Zark charged up the stairs.  She spotted the blinded man and shot him in the chest and ran past his prone form.  Flipping her rifle over she smashed the butt into the face of another man coming out of a room and fell on him as she yelled and drove butt down again breaking bone and skin as she incapacitated him.  Alarms screamed in her head and Zark whirled around as she dropped the rifle and reached for her personal phaser. She was just a fraction too slow and Zark screamed as she felt a hot knife stab her when the third attacker shot her in the chest.  She was already set to depress her own trigger and the nerve command carried through where a stun blast hit the other shooter in the body and he fell over. 

The Andorian lay where she was, whimpering as she raised her head and stared at the smoking hole on her armour while her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water as she desperately gasped for breath while moaning in pain. "Oh Sprits..." Zark cried out as she pressed the area around the crater and groaned while whimpering, then Herasin's voice cut through the pain.  "Ensign!  Ensign!  Please respond!  Your life signs are fluctuating wildly.  Zark respond!"  Zark coughed but nothing came out, which was a plus since she wasn't bleeding internally, and she struggled to open the mini med kit she'd brought with her.  Her hand pawed at the flap as she struggled with the stabbing heat in her chest, and it finally felt like forever when she gripped the hard alloy device and pressed it into her thigh and injected the pain killer concoction into her.  Her capillaries carried the nerve deadening agents through her body the Andorian's breathing began to settle.  The thrumming hum of grenades going off reminded Zark why she was here and she groaned. "I'm okay." she gritted out though there was a dull yet distant sense of pain that poked at her as she injected herself with a combat stimulant and grabbed the dropped rifle while stumbling to a window to turn her cover fire on the grenade survivors pressing Enyd's position.


Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #21
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“Hold him down!” Enyd growled as she straddled the struggling Cardassian turncoat.

Javec held the man’s legs while the Castellan secured his arms. The remaining Cardassian guard, loyal to the Castellan and still alive, kept up his rate of fire alongside the remaining Starfleet security personnel, giving them temporary safety for this necessary interrogation. If her CDO had an issue, he kept it to himself, just as he kept his eyes averted, training his gaze on their perimeters as he crouched next to the Castellan. Without a thought for decency or mercy, Enyd grabbed the truth serum from her leg holster and jabbed the hypospray into the man’s neck.

Leaning her forearm against his neck and pressing her weight forward, Enyd hovered over his face as she demanded answers, “Who sent you?”

He prattled off a series of words in his native tongue, a dialect from another continent, coupling the animosity with a spray of spittle in her face. She felt Javec jerk at the man’s legs in response and watched the Castellan frown. She didn’t need to know the language to catch the intent. Leaning more weight on her arm against his windpipe, Enyd repeated her question in standard Cardassi. The man’s eyes were glazing over and the fight in his limbs diminished as the serum took effect. Instead of parsing it out, she’d given him the full treatment and likely they’d have only a few more minutes before he passed out completely.

“ Luske Ontatt.”

Behind her, Javec swore. Her CDO glanced over to the aide, “Who is Ontatt?”

“A war criminal even by Cardassian standards.” The Castellan replied before Javec could, his grip tightening on the drugged turncoat. “I’ve had numerous sets of operatives go missing in pursuit of him. The last we knew of him, he was getting friendly with Jassarac, the Orion leader of a militant sub-faction of the Syndicate. Sometimes they’re officially lauded by the Syndicate and sometimes they’re used as the scapegoats but no matter what, they’re the type to employ if you’re wanting to destabilize a government and ruin chances for reconstruction.” The Castellan looked ready to rip the Cardassian’s head off with his bare hands but, given the audience, he held back, and nodded to Enyd, waiting for her to ask more questions.

“Where is Ontatt?” She had to shake him to get his attention again, “Luske Ontatt, where is he?”

He could no longer focus on anything, his gaze wandering aimlessly as he whispered. “Mador Base.”
While the CDO asked another question of the Castellan or Javec, Enyd pressed on with her own questioning. There wasn’t enough time to go back and forth with explanations.

“Is Jassarac with him?”


 “Who else is with him?” Enyd waved a hand at the men around her to quiet down so she could hear his answer.

“Atha Ono.”

Again she heard Javec swore, her CDO joining in as he also knew of the Bajoran terrorist. Intriguing that three sets of terrorists from three cultures, usually at odds with one another, would join forces to come against the Castellan and the Federation’s efforts to rebuild Cardassia.

“What do they want?” Enyd shook him but the man’s eyes closed, and despite her shaking, the Castellan’s as well, a pitiful snore emitted from his nostrils seconds later. Sighing, Enyd leaned back onto her heels, setting her palms on her bare thighs. “It is almost like a badly written joke, sir,” she directed her attention to her CDO, “A Cardassian war criminal, a militant Orion extremist, and a Bajoran terrorist all gather in Elar.”

“We’ve got to MOVE!’ One of the security personnel called over his shoulder. “They’re pressing our position!”

Rolling off the unconscious Cardassian, Enyd pulled another canister from her leg holster and held it out to the security personnel. At his quizzical look, she smiled. “Plug your nose and toss it. It’s basically another stench grenade. Not going to kill, but it’ll make even the strongest stomachs turn.”

The security personnel did as she indicated as their small group broke cover and beat a hasty retreat toward the entrance to the sewers the Castellan remembered were nearby. He’d grown up in this area, with an apartment a few blocks away, and recalled how these markets had direct access to the grey water sewers. If they could make it there, they might outpace their attackers by going directly under them. Pausing to fire a few shots back toward their pursuers while her CDO hustled the Castellan behind a pillar, Enyd couldn’t help but think they were very unlikely to find out the punch line to the badly written joke they were living.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #22
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Ensign Zark stumbling was a very generous description of what she did as she took two steps then fell Over. The alloy body of the rifle clattered as she dropped it and the Andorian groaned when her face landed in the floor. Precious seconds were wasted as Zark had to let the pain subside while her brain worked to reset itself to something approaching normal operations. The yelling of the advancing Starfleet and Cardassia personnel trickled it's way though to her cerebellum and her eyes focused on the dropped rifle and she grabbed at it while gritting her teeth. At this point, while she was sure she didn't have any internal bleeding, there was good chance her torso exoskeleton had been bruised and any sort of bone injury was painful.

She had people in need and a mission to fulfill though and blue eye lids screwed tight as she worked to harness the pain for her own determination and groaned as she shakily got on all fours. A pair of hands lifted her off the ground and the admiring gaze of the two Cardassian police officers she'd stormed past earlier greeted her. "That was the most amazing thing I've ever seen! I mean the way you ran in and then there was a bang, then shooting..." Ensign Zark couldn't help but grin at the praise, but she really needed to add her skills to the fight. "Officer. I'll sign an autograph later, but just help me get to the window."

The police officer looked slightly flummoxed, but realized he'd been babbling and flushed. "Of course. At once!" and he lifted the Andorian to the window sill while the other one opened the window. The security officer wasn't sure how far she would be able to trust the two officers, but they seemed to be on the same side for the moment. Hopefully nothing would happen, but each passing second gave Zark's body more time to cope with its injury to the point she'd be able to operate normally for a limited duration. Zark pointed at the next window over and the door behind them. "Make sure nobody sneaks up on us while I provide cover." Thee other two nodded and set themselves up as they pulled their pistols and took cover.

Ensign Zark took a moment to pray she'd made the right decision then settled the rifle on the window. Typically she'd hide inside the room as a sniper, but in this case, she judged it better to be seen to relieve any pressure from the Castellan's position. Taking a breath and pulling the rifle into her shoulder, Zark settled her cheek on the butt and laid her other hand over her trigger hand, then peered through the sight. Pressing a few buttons, she adjusted the zoom in the weapon and was dismayed by what she saw. The Castellan, CDO, Javec, Enyd, and one guard were covering while nine or ten uniformed Cardassians pushed towards them. Three or four more were forming a rear guard to hold off the reinforcements making their way from the main thoroughfare and the insurgents were being squeezed. This lent a desperation since their only way out was to get the Castellan.  The Andorian had to make a decision on who to engage.

Taking a deep breath, Zark set her sights on the man furthest in the lead towards the Castellan and gave her body a moment to settle, the applied the most minute pressure to the firing stud and a full power stun bolt slammed into the man's back and knocked him out.  She knew that she should have targeted the lead group from back to front, but they were getting to close and she needed something to check their advance as she shifted slightly and targeted the next man and fired.  Her targets slammed bonelessly against a shop stall and slithered to the ground.  The man next to him was wondering what was going on and looked around for a shooter.  A single bolt hit him in the chest and he fell sitting against the same stall.  Zark walked her fire along the line, and the attackers were so intent on getting to the Castellan that they didn't notice the orange bolts being fired their way. The rear guard had too much to deal with and they were soon overwhelmed and lay comatose on the floor. The insurgents continued to push and try as she might, Zark couldn't get them all as a pair of survivors vaulted over final barricade and the body guard jumped in the way and died as he was hit twice, but he'd done his job as the ambassador ushered the Castellan out of the way and into cover while Javec and Enyd began to struggle with final pair of assassins.

The Andorian tracked unflinching through the scope as the scuffle continued. If those two held out long enough, the team for the Voroth and the local security would be on them. If not, Zark hoped they'd be able to create an opening for her to shoot them.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #23
[Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime ] Attn: @RyeTanker

“Javec!” Enyd tossed her dagger to him just in time for the aide to duck under the incoming attack and stab the weapon into the thin juncture of armor at his shoulder.

The human diplomat didn’t have time to praise his quick reaction or warn him of the counterattack as her assailant renewed his attack. Her early tactic of throwing dusty debris into his face had bought her the seconds necessary to assist Javec but nothing else. Her leg holsters were empty of anything remotely useful against his bludgeoning club. They were both equally motivated to win this fight, however. She, to provide additional support to the fleeing Castellan, who had moments before been unceremoniously shoved through the dark opening of the storm drain system by her CDO. And he, to kill his way through her, Javec, and the CDO to get at the wounded Castellan.

“Hold still,” the larger Cardassian snarled, “and your death will be swift.”

Hearing Javec grunt in the scuffle next to her, Enyd glanced in his direction just long enough to reassure herself that he still lived. But that was all the time her assailant needed to pull back his arm and swing his club hard and heavy at her head. Seeing the movement in her peripheral, Enyd had just enough thought to duck. But her assailant was far more lithe than she gave his stature credit for, and as she ducked, he brought his foot up and jammed it against her chest. Air fled her lungs as her body fell back, head clacking against the remains of a deck, knocking her senses loose.

Her body felt heavy, and her movements were sluggish as she tried to roll to the side to escape the downward arc of the Cardassian’s next attack. The weight of it crashed against her shoulder, and an agonized cry erupted from her throat as she felt her shoulder bone shatter and the joint dislocate under the power of the man’s attack. She continued her rolling scramble, body shaking from pain and exertion. Her back was exposed to her assailant, but she couldn’t will her body to move faster. Determining up from down and left from right was more difficult to discern as her head swam and her shoulder throbbed. Vaguely she felt the grinding cut of debris against her bare knees and calves as she tried to crawl out of harm’s way.

“You die now, human!”

Enyd continued her sluggish crawl, wondering if perhaps his claim was true and death would soon rise up to greet her.

Re: [2376] Entanglement of Chaos

Reply #24
[Ensign XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Ens. Zark) | Cardassia Prime]   Attn: @Ellen Fitz

The blue sniper deliberately worked to keep her breathing shallow as she worked to keep the rifle steady. The digitally magnified image presented as nasty scene as any where hand to hand had broken out in the vicinity of the Castellan. She could clearly see Madsen working to buy herself some time by tossing a hastily grabbed handful of dust at one attacker and it checked his advance for just a moment. If her chest hadn't felt like it was being prodded with needles and nails, she'd have risked the shot, but her eye could make out the slight waver in the reticule and it came perilously close to her charge, so the trigger finger stayed where it was. This was many different kinds of frustrating as the Ambassador pushed the VIP out of the way and into the dubious safety of a storm drain while Madsen tossed something towards Javec and she caught the slight glint of metal as it sailed to his hands. "Oh No!"  The police officer quietly exclaimed. "They're on them!" Ensign Zark could feel the officer turning to her. "Can't you do something??"

Ensign Zark twisted her head slightly to loosen her neck but a hard blue-green eye kept itself focused on the crosshairs and the picture in front of her. "Quiet please."  She told the officer conversationally as she watched the struggle.  Javec appeared to be gaining the upper hand, but Madsen was backing away and the security officer noted something about Madsen's choice of moves that she would have done differently if she were down there. The fight settled and she brought the targeting chevron onto the assassin's back, but he moved as a club smash down on the human's body and Zark grimaced slightly as Enyd expression changed to a scream she could barely make out from where she was.  Zark took a breath and held it as Enyd tried to crawl away and the world slowed as she listened to her own heart beat.  The Cardassian seemed to move slowly as he caught up with the human and flipped her on her back.  There was a subtle shift from her finger, the heart beat, an exhale, one more beat, then the index finger pulled the firing stud.

An orange bolt came screaming at near light speed covering the distance between Zark's rifle and the assassin getting ready to place his foot on Ensign Madsen's broken shoulder to inflict a final indignity on the one that had frustrated his mission to such an immense degree.  But he never got the chance as the orange bolt smashed its way through his armour and penetrated his body.  His lungs and heart were vaporized and his body reached insane temperatures as the energy bled out into him.  Sparks blew out of his back and his chest rippled from the shock.  His eyes widened as his body rapidly failed him and he coughed and as small bit of blood coated his mouth.  Confused eyes stared at the human he'd been about to torture wondering how the situation had changed so quickly, and it was the final thought he had in this life as he fell on his knees, eyes closed, and his head crashed onto the ground beside Madsen's thigh.

Ensign Zark surveyed the scene as Javec pushed the other body off him and rushed to where the human diplomat lay.  All the firing had stopped and an eerie calm settled over the area as the Starfleet and Cardassian security team quickly moved forward, checking the bodies on the ground and applying binders to those they came across.  The Cardassians were noticeably more rough on their prisoners, but Zark didn't care as her body continued to remind her how close her own brush with death had been.

"I think it's over." Zark told the security officers with her.  "I agree, it's over."  "Let's join the others.  You two head out first and I'll bring up the rear." Taking advantage of the martial aura and goodwill, the other two nodded and the Andorian pulled the rifle into a high ready position as she followed them out.  It considerably longer to return to the position where she'd helped the security teams break out and a wave of relief washed over her when she saw several teal collared personnel working on the injured at the makeshift aid station. 

She spotted the red headed medic and while the two security officers moved passed the aid station, Zark elected to stop and gingerly began to sit against a stall as she used her rifle as a crutch to help her sit.  A hiss of pain escaped her clenched teeth as her aching body lowered itself against the wall and just sat there in relief as the medic made his way over and began scanning her as she closed her eyes and let her head rest.  Breathing still hurt and Zark kept her breaths short.  "How are you even moving Ensign?"  Came the final analysis. "I've been through worse."  Zark replied wearily.  "This is bad enough."  The chime of the combadge cut through. "Palmer to Voroth. Can we begin transporting the wounded to the ship?  I have a priority two Human and a priority one Andorian who need surgery."

Uh Oh.  That's not good.  Zark thought to herself as she felt a hiss and her mind started to become soupy while the pain started to go away.  The world was starting to become distant as more chatter went back and forth. "Palmer, stand by.  As soon as security can verify the Castellan is safe, we can begin transport.  Keep em stable."

"Fucking bullshit is what this is.  We got injured who need to go now!"  Palmer vented as his need to save lives crashed into a procedural wall.

Another set of voice cut through. "Hey!  T'Reem!  We need you over here, we got a live one, she looks hurt bad!  Ensign. Hold on!  Help's on the way."

"You're the Ambassador?  That's the Castellan? Cyrus, form a perimeter and let the higher ups know we got the Castellan. He's secure!"

"Ensign Zark, can you hear me?  It's Herasin.  What's going on with her and with Madsen as well?" Wanna respond, but so tired.

As Zark began to pass out, the final thing she heard was the command to energize and the musical chimes of a transporter beam whisking her away to the Voroth's sickbay.

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