Obsidian Command

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Steiner: Wherever I lay my hat

Posted on 12 Feb 2022 @ 6:47am by Chief Deputy Marshal: Ridge Steiner - FMS
Edited on on 12 Feb 2022 @ 10:12pm

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Obsidian Command - Near space
Timeline: Six weeks ago
1600 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

[FMSC Van Buren Hendrix]

=A= Starbase Obsidian Command; this is Federation Marshal’s Service Cutter Van Buren Hendrix inbound. Dropping out of warp in six minutes, requesting docking vector and hanger allocation =A= Steiner sat back in the pilot’s chair and rubbed his eyes. It had been a long flight out here, the new Atlantic Class Runabout was comfortable enough, but maybe not for extended journeys.

=A= Van Buren Hendrix; this is Obsidian Approach Control; we have you on sensors. Transmitting flight vectors now. You can park it in Hanger Twelve. Welcome to Obsidian III! =A=

There was a beep from the control panel as fight path coordinates came in, Steiner uploaded them to the navigation system.

=A= Copy that Control Data received. Good to be here =A= Except he was not really sure where here was, besides being the far side of beyond…

[Durham Colony Federation Marshall’s Service Field Office: Six weeks earlier…]

Steiner had just arrived at his desk, he set down a large steaming mug of Raktajino and turned on his desk top terminal. He had not even started work when his Administrative Deputy stuck her head into his office. “Chief, I’ve got Senior Marshal Shex zh'Raazne holding for you”

“Huh, put her through” Steiner said, wondering why the Sector’s Senior Marshal was calling him this early. He lifted the cup, turned to the view screen on his office wall and took a sip of the Raktajino. It was still scalding hot, he brought it daily from a Romulan Café in the Mall, and he burnt his lip.

“Dammit” He spluttered, narrowly avoiding spilling the beverage down his tunic but managing to slop some on his desk top instead. ”Sonofabitch!” He wiped it up with his sleeve cuff.

“And good morning to you too Ridge” Came a bemused voice from the view screen. “Still drinking the Romulan expresso rot gut?”

Steiner looked up and grinned wryly and dropped the hand with the damp sleeve below the desk, “Yeah, you know me”.

The voice belonged to a Female Andorian and Steiner’s immediate superior. She nodded, her antenna gently curled in amusement. “Yes… I do”

Steiner and zh'Raazne had graduated the same year and served together during the refugee crisis after the Hobus supernova. They had had a brief but passionate affair, which ended only after they were transferred to different posts after the initial crisis had ended. Neither had much interest in a long-distance relationship, they had parted as friends and remained so ever since. She had been promoted to Senior Marshal just over a year ago.

“So, what can I do for you Shex?” He asked. “This about those Gama Quadrant narcotics?” His latest big case.

“No, but I got your initial report. Follow up on that Bajoran freighter lead will you, that sounds promising” She replied “This is about the Rule Thirty-Four Gang

TheRule Thirty-Four Gang was a term they had given to a group of Ferengi trading in illegal weapons sales to pre-warp civilizations. It came from the Thirty Forth Rule of Acquisition ”War is good for business”

Steiner had led a three-year investigation into the group’s activities, including spending nine months undercover posing as a smuggler. He and his team had built a strong case and four months ago a Federation Court had convicted fifteen of the gang to long sentences in penal colonies.

Unfortunately, the gang had somehow been tipped off an hour before Steiner led a raid on their storage facility. At least four high ranking members had fled and remained at large. They had also incinerated their computer before fleeing and Steiner’s forensic technicians had been unable to get any data from it.

With a few days of the trial and convictions, informants began reporting that a contract had been placed on Steiner.

“The Thirty-Fours? Well, obviously we’ve still got them at the top of the warrant list, but the last we heard they had high-tailed it back into Alliance territory and the Nagus is refusing any extradition.” Steiner said.

“It’s not the Ferengi members, I’m calling about.” zh'Raazne replied, her face turning serious. “It’s their Nausican suppliers and that contract - ”

As well as escaping before the raid, the gang’s leaders had incinerated their computer and Steiner’s forensic technicians had not been able to retrieve any data from it. There was strong circumstantial evidence that a Nauscian weapons manufacturer was supplying the group, but the Marshals had been unable to find the proof and none of the Ferengis would talk. However, of note, the informants were also saying the contract had originated on Nausicaa…

“- Oh, that nonsense?” Steiner cut her off and waved his hand dismissively. “C’mon Shex, we’ve all had death threats before, comes with the job.”

zh'Raazne nodded. “It does but take a look at this” She reached down and tapped into her panel. A few seconds later a file appeared on Steiner’s desk screen.

He opened it and read through the contents. “What the…?!”

The file contained over a dozen images of him, clearly taken at Durham Colony and recently too by the look of it. It was winter and there was snow in some of the picture. There was also a map of the colony. The apartment block where he lived and several places that he regularly visited were marked, a couple of bars, restaurants, his gym, even the Romulan Café where he had brought his coffee that morning.

The most troubling were the last six images, they had been taken inside his apartment!

“These bastards have been in my place?!” He was surprised and angry, very angry. “Gawdammit!”

He got up and paced his office muttering to himself. “Bloody Nauscians! It’s that damn Belax Corporation I knew they were behind the Ferengi! You’ve got to let me go over there and kick some doors in!”

Shex zh'Raazne allowed him vent for a moment. “You’re right, it probably is Belax but you don’t have enough for a warrant…”

“Let me go over there and I’ll find all the evidence we need!” Steiner raged

“Ridge, I can’t let you do that.” She replied calmly

“Come off it Shex, these bastards have been in my home!”

“Yes, they have”: She acknowledged, “And I’d be as angry as you are, but we both know that if you go over there without a warrant, then anything you do find will be ruled inadmissible and we’ll never get them”

“Yeah, yeah… I know!” And he did know but he could not do nothing. “Well then, let me set up a surveillance operation. Round the clock, start tailing their freighters too. I can have something set up by tomorrow” His mind was already working on the details. “And where did the file come from? That’s another angle we can use, trace it back to Belax!”

“All good ideas. And yes, I’ve already got a team working on the file. But… “She winced inwardly knowing this was going to be the hard part “Ridge, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it… you’re off the case

That stopped him in his tracks, as she knew it would.

“Off the …?” Steiner was dismayed “Shex I’ve worked on this for three years! And now they’re in my house?!”

“Which is exactly why you’re off the case. This is serious Ridge! This isn’t some low-life making empty threats. Somebody has put together a detailed file on you, somebody wants you dead! They are tracking you and have accessed your apartment. I cannot leave you on this case.”

“Look, I’ll move in here” Steiner tried “Not like I haven’t lived on my couch before. We can start the survel-”

“- Ridge, there’s more” She interrupted him “I’m moving you off planet. It is my sincere belief, based on the clear evidence, that your life is in imminent danger. I cannot leave you at Durham

Steiner slumped at his desk. “Shex…”

“No Ridge, what would you do if it was one of your team? If you had received this file on one of your Deputies? She asked

Steiner looked away, shaking his head, not meeting her look, already knowing the answer he would give.

She asked again “What would you do Ridge?”

“I’d transfer them…” He acknowledged.

“Yes, and it would be the right decision. The same decision as I’m making now.” She tapped at her panel again. “I’m sending through your transfer orders. I’ve also got you passage on a Starfleet ship leaving there in three hours. They’ll drop you off here and then we will talk more.”

“It better not be the Protocol, Procedure and Policy Office!” He replied, resigned now to the move. The Protocol, Procedure and Policy Office was a dreary assignment attached to the Academy, usually reserved for Marshals close to retirement. “Anything but that!”

“It’s not, in fact it’s probably something you’ll enjoy” She smiled briefly, trying to cheer him up “What do you know about somewhere called “Obsidian Command”?

To be continued…

CDM RK Steiner



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