Beta: The amazing seren_ccd
Warnings: Sex and violence, but only for the deserving.
Word Count: 50000
Disclaimer: Nothing recognisable is mine, and trust me, I'm making nothing from this!
Notes: Written for het_bigbang.
As soon as she got him through the door she went on a flurry of cleaning, stripping the bed and putting the sheets into her wash and sterilise unit and then jumping into the water shower and scrubbing herself with her nicest-smelling body wash.
She didn’t feel dirty, exactly, because what she did was necessary. She hadn’t been forced into doing anything she disliked; it was just another unsatisfying sexual experience and lord only knew how many of those she’d had. She felt guilty, she realised, of cheating on McCoy, which was ridiculous because she’d been the one to sever their connection and walk away.
Of course, he’d been stubborn and refused to believe that the connection was severed. He’d seen her two-year absence as nothing more than a small inconvenience that could be waited out. He’d flat out told her that he’d be waiting for her to reappear in his life.
She desperately wanted to do that.
Christine rested her head against the wall of the tiny shower cubicle. God, her life was complicated.
A small beeping noise told her the tricorder had finished its work. She got out of the shower, dried off, pulled on some sleep pants and a camisole and loaded the data from the tricorder into her computer. She tried to get some sleep, knowing that if the computer told her that Barnaby was human then she’d at least have an ally in her hunt for the real spy. The thought that she might have to kill Barnaby if he turned out to be a genetically altered Romulan was what kept her awake for most of the night.
The computer was quicker than usual in its analysis, as there had been only one sample inputted. The results came almost twelve hours after Barnaby had visited her pod, and Christine had been a nervous wreck waiting for them. By now her message back to Earth would have been sent, including her hidden one with her suspicions about the Section 31 team on the planet, most of whom she hadn’t seen. If he was the spy, Barnaby should have been relieved as her message seemed to imply that his mission had been successful.
When the computer screen finally displayed the results of Barnaby’s genetic scan, she swore. It was almost perfect. To an unsuspicious eye, he would have passed for human. However, the testing Section 31 had demanded was more thorough than usual genetic screening and it had revealed some irregularities which looked to Christine, with her background in biochemistry and xeno-medicine, as definitely non-human.
She ran the results through a comparison database. How they had Romulan DNA in there she didn’t know; no face to face contact had ever occurred between the Federation and the Romulans. They’d been seen, of course, over viewscreens when the treaty that lead to the Neutral Zone being formed had been agreed, but they’d never sat around a table with the Federation. Section 31 at work again, no doubt.
The Romulan DNA was very similar to Vulcan DNA, she noticed, as the comparison was being analysed. Perhaps the Vulcans and the Romulans shared a common ancestor race? It was a pity that the Vulcan homeworld had been destroyed so comprehensively, killing so many Vulcans. Perhaps there had been evidence somewhere in their archives.
Her mood soured when the comparison scan had been completed. The small irregularities in Barnaby’s DNA were definitely of Romulan origin. She heard a high-pitched whine in her ears, and she had to sit down because her vision was going blurry. Panic raced through her, causing her stomach to roil.
This was supposed to be easy, she thought, anger mixing with the panic. Just analysis, no terminations.
Killing Barnaby was her only action, she realised, the small part of her mind that always functioned in a calm, logical way told her. He was a spy, and a traitor. She was alone on the planet with no support system. The other Section 31 agents were researchers, scientists, and she had no way of contacting them other than through Barnaby. She didn’t even know where the Section 31 base was located. It could be anywhere on the planet!
No, the little voice said. Think carefully. Research bases need power and water. This planet only has one settlement with those things. Section 31 is Starfleet. Starfleet built two facilities here. The medical centre, which is tiny, and the ore processing plant, which is huge. Which is more likely to mask an underground base?
It had to be the ore processing plant, she reasoned. Somewhere underneath it all was another facility, leaching their water and power from the giant structure above. After she killed Barnaby she had to get to the plant and find a way into the secret base, convince the scientists that she was right about Barnaby’s DNA and get a message to Earth.
“As long as that’s all,” she said to herself as she tugged a small case out from under her bed. “I’d hate to have a busy day, after all.”
Inside the case was some serious ordinance, given to her by an armoury officer on board the Valient as part of her kit. There were two hand phasers, a selection of grenades that ran from the non-lethal smoke variety to the incredibly deadly explosive kind, a phaser rifle that split into small parts and could be assembled within twenty seconds and even some pressure-sensitive land mines.
“These are nasty,” the armoury officer had said, shaking his head at the manifest list as he had packed the case for her. “Once armed, the slightest pressure causes a massive explosion. You’ll be picking bits off the ceiling. If the ceiling’s still there, which I doubt it will be.”
She selected the hand phasers, and set them to kill. One she put in a holster that sat on a belt, at the small of her back. The other she still had in her hand when the lock to the door of her pod was over-ridden and Barnaby walked into the room.
“Shooting practice?” he asked, raising his own weapon as he came towards her. “Or do you have a particular target in mind?”
Christine let off three or four shots as she jumped for cover behind the sofa. She must have winged him, because she heard him swear and smelt the singeing of his clothing.
His shots were a bit wild, giving her time to move around towards him. She had to get him away from the computer. She hadn’t had time to upload the results of his analysis to a data chip yet. If he destroyed the computer, then her proof was gone too.
“Who are you?” she called to him.
“I’m Lieutenant Jeff Barnaby,” he called back, from his cover behind the bed.
“And the rest,” she said impatiently. “Who are you really? What’s your real name and rank?”
She popped her head over the sofa and fired at the bed, forcing him to retreat backwards and take cover in the bathroom. She used the opportunity to save the data on the computer to a chip.
“It doesn’t matter who I am,” his voice came back from the bathroom. “You’re dead, all of you.”
“What do you mean?” Christine said, ducking as a blast from inside the bathroom cut neatly through the inner wall of the pod and hit the far wall.
“I found your little hidden message,” he said, the sneer in his voice quite clear through the wall. “I was forced to contact my real masters on Romulus. As we speak imperial warbirds are breaching the Neutral Zone on their way to take this planet and the rest of the Territories.”
Christine let loose a fierce barrage of shots at the wall.
“There are children here, you sick bastard!” she shouted.
Fire from the bathroom told her that he was still alive. The computer beeped, and she inched her way over to collect the data chip. Having no free pockets, she tucked it securely in her bra where it sat nestled safely next to her skin.
“A few less to grow up as soldiers for the Federation,” he said dismissively, and that’s what really made her angry. The case containing the grenades and the mines was a few feet away. She sent shot after shot at the bathroom as she got to the case, wriggling across the floor to try and avoid the return fire. She pulled one of the mines from the case, took a deep breath and commando-crawled towards the bathroom door. She placed the mine as quietly as she could by the door, and pressed the activation button. She quickly wriggled back to the weapons case, and retreated further back to the door of the pod.
Her pod was adjacent to the medical centre, which was separated from the main bulk of houses by some distance. Blowing the mine would probably damage the medical centre, but no innocent person would be hurt by it. Just him, Christine thought grimly, and if I don’t run fast enough, me.
When the next shot came from the bathroom, she let out an agonised scream. Her returned shots were deliberately wide, and trailed off quickly.
There was silence from the bathroom, then the door, riddled with holes, hissed open. Christine lay on the floor by the door, feigning death. She heard a hesitant footstep, then another, then a faint click as the mine was activated. She scrambled to her feet and threw herself from the pod, running as fast as she could before the explosion hit.
The force of the blast knocked her from her feet, and the skin on the back of her legs and her neck felt hot as the flames exploded upwards. She was had a few nasty cuts and a few scorch marks on her clothes, but she was in one piece, which was more than could be said for her surroundings.
Parts of the pod, blown skyward by the explosion, came whistling down next to her, as did parts of Barnaby. She grimaced as part of his skull dropped next to her, his eyeball popping out. That calmly logical side of her brain told her that retinal scanning was probably a major feature of the secret base security, and that was what made her pluck the gelatinous eyeball up and secure it as best she could inside her weapons case.
She got to her feet, picked up the weapons case, and began running towards the settlement.
The explosion had caused all the settlement to come running from their homes, and they looked at Christine in shock. She cut over all their cries with a firm “Romulan warbirds are on their way, and they will attack.”
Panic took over, and people began to run back to their homes to collect loved ones and precious items.
“We’ve drilled for this!” called one settler, who had become the town’s defacto mayor and chief organiser. “Into the caves in the hills. Everyone hurry!”
As they all left to start their ground vehicles and make their way to deep caves in the hillside nearby, the mayor turned to Christine.
“You’re welcome too, Miss,” he told her. “You and all the Starfleet people. We’ve laid down provisions and weapons in there.”
“I’ve got to go to the plant,” Christine said, kneeling on the ground to assemble the phaser rifle. “You go, quickly. I’m going to send a message to Starfleet and tell them to send help.”
The mayor looked at her gravely. “It’ll be a long time in coming, Miss,” he warned. “Not too many ships out here that can match a Romulan warbird.”
“We’re going to have to cross our fingers and hope, then,” she said, rifle assembled. “Good luck.”
“You too,” he said, and then returned to the mass of people running for their vehicles.
Christine ploughed her way determinedly through the mass of fleeing people. Several of them tried to call out to her, but she had no time to stop and talk to them. In the ore processing plant the few Starfleet staff and their families were already gathering.
“Romulan warbirds are heading across the neutral zone,” Christine reported to the chief engineer of the station. “We have to get a message to the nearest starship.”
“How do you know?” he demanded. “What was the explosion in the town?”
Grabbing him by the elbow, Christine yanked him away from the crowd of people and into a small office.
“You were here supervising the construction of the plant, right?” she asked.
“Yes, but Ensign, I demand to know...,” the engineer began.
“Then you are aware of the location of the base beneath the plant? The secret research facility?”
“How did you...yes, I am aware,” he replied, frowning. “But nobody else is supposed to. That’s classified information, how did...?”
“No time,” Christine said shortly. “We need to get everybody down into the base and use the communications array there to call for help.”
“Nobody is supposed to know about the base,” the engineer repeated, looking torn. “If I reveal the location then we could all be court-martialed!”
“If you don’t tell me where the entrance is, we’re all going to be killed by the Romulans, so it really doesn’t matter about the fucking court-mart...”
Christine was cut off by the noise of high-powered weaponry hitting the side of the plant, followed by great screams from the other officers and the children. Overhead they could hear the huge Romulan ships powering back for another strafing run.
“Lowest level of the plant, section E. There’s a section of yellow piping, you can’t miss it. There’s a retinal scanning point to the right of the pipes...you won’t be able to...,” the engineer gabbled, but Christine shook her head.
“Got that taken care of,” she said, hoping that the padding of the case was enough to protect the eyeball inside it.
“Take the children,” the chief engineer insisted. “Get them and the non-combatants down there.”
“Okay,” Christine said, making for the door. “But you should all get down there too.”
The chief engineer shook his head. “We need to make the plant useless to the Romulans,” he said grimly.
“If they keep blasting it there won’t be a plant,” Christine muttered at the structure shook.
“Alright everybody, listen to me,” the engineer shouted as they made their way back to the gathered Starfleet personnel. “Ensign Chapel will escort all non-combatants to a secure location on the lowest floor of the base. The rest of us will remain here to render the plant inoperable to the Romulans.”
Christine waited while the few children were separated from their parents and those partners who weren’t Starfleet said what could be their last goodbyes. She began hustling the unwieldy party down flight after flight of stairs, not trusting the lift system to have survived the attack undamaged. There were three children in their party. Danny, the boy who needed constant medication for a heart condition, was the eldest at seven. The others were girls, aged five and just over one. They were being carried by a parent. There were five adults, three men and two women. They all looked terrified, and Christine wondered about the reasoning behind living on a planet so close to the border with Neutral Zone with small children.
“It’s going to fun, Emma,” she heard the mother of the five year old tell her daughter in a shaky voice. “It’s going to be hide and seek. We’re going to hide, and Daddy will come find us later.”
Christine forged on, deliberately not thinking about whether “later” would every happen.
She found the stretch of yellow piping at the end of the corridor, and the retinal scanner tucked innocuously next to it.
“Make them look away,” she warned the parents as she opened the weapons case.
“Oh my God, that’s disgusting,” muttered somebody as the children were all turned away from Christine.
She gingerly held the eyeball up to the scanner, which read it without complaint. The yellow pipes suddenly cracked down the middle and split open to reveal a long corridor which sloped downwards.
“Hurry,” Christine said, fighting the urge to wipe her hand on her uniform skirt.
“What is this?” one of the men demanded. “Why did you need an eyeball to get in here?”
“Explanations later,” Christine said, stepping into the corridor as the doors sealed shut behind them. “Move.”
She elbowed her way to the front of the group and began running down the corridor, but she soon skidded to a halt when a nervous-looking man with a rifle even bigger than hers suddenly appeared in front of her, gesturing wildly with it. It was clear that he’d never held a weapon like that before, let alone fired it.
“Stop!” he shouted. “This is a secret facility!”
“Ensign Christine Chapel, Section 31,” Christine said, with her hands raised. “I was Barnaby’s contact in the settlement.”
“Where is he?” demanded the man.
“Dead,” Christine said shortly. “He was a genetically modified Romulan agent who had managed to breach Section 31 security. He was the one who called in the Romulan warbirds who are trying to blow up the plant on top of this base. We need to get a message out to Starfleet immediately.”
“How did you get in here?” the man asked, his rifle faltering in front of him.
Wordlessly, Christine held the eyeball in the air.
“That’s disgusting,“ the scientist said in horror.
“Catch,” said Christine, tossing the eyeball to the scientist. He dropped his gun as he scrambled to catch the eyeball, which he also promptly dropped.
Christine grabbed the large phaser rifle from him.
“We need to get these civilians somewhere safe, and get a message to Starfleet,” she told him, marching purposefully forward down the corridor. The scientist got swept up by the group of people following after her. She told herself that she didn’t hear a slight squelching noise under her boot.
“There are rooms down there,” the scientist said, pointing towards a corridor to the right.
“Is there another way out?” Christine demanded.
“No,” he said, just as the remaining contingent of Section 31 scientists came running around the corner. “The only way is through the door up there.”
“You have a transporter pad?” she asked.
“We have a pre-programmed one that takes you to a spot outside of town,” one of the other scientists volunteered. “But it can only handle one at a time.”
“She killed Barnaby,” the first scientist told the other two in a sort of fascinated glee. “He was a Romulan agent.”
The looks of horror on the faces of the scientists weren’t faked, but neither was their fear.
“I have to put these people somewhere safe,” she said to the small group. “And I have to send a message to Starfleet.”
Suddenly there was a huge crashing noise from above, and the sound of phaser fire as the whole building vibrated with shockwaves. They clung to each other for support.
“You,” Christine said, pointing at the first scientist, “Get these people into a room. Barricade the doors. Take these,” she said to two of the adults in the Starfleet party without children, giving them her rifle and the one she had confiscated from the scientist. “Anybody who comes through those doors, you shoot, you understand?”
“Got it,” a woman said grimly. “Come on, let’s go.”
The majority of the party went down the corridor branching right.
“Communications room,” Christine told the others. “Now.”