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In Silentio Nominis Umbra

Posted on Mon Jul 27th, 2020 @ 1:14pm by Major Viktoria “Spectre” Yu
Edited on on Mon Jul 27th, 2020 @ 1:14pm

Mission: S1: Prologue
Location: Classified
Timeline: Day 1 at 0030

[Backlog]
[Date Unknown]
[Time Unknown]


"There's nothing...we've come so bloody close, and there's nothing!" Came the exacerbated shouting from Asimov. Each operative of the Sigma-31 group utilized a code name...in this case, Asimov was the handle for a young woman of African lineage. Her accent placed her as South Africa, in fact, and had strong Afrikaans inflections in it.

She ran her hands roughly through her closely cropped curly black hair and then paced to the otherside of the small apartment that had been set up as a make-shift HQ. "We've chased shadows across the known sectors for the last three years, took down pirates, terrorists, and mercenaries...made so much progress...and then nothing! We've been running dry for weeks now!"

The de facto superior of the group was a stern man of stocky build, who went by the callsign "Susano'o"...or as everyone had taken to calling him over the past years, "Susan". He had the Imperial bearings of his distant British and Ottoman ancestors, right down to the neatly kept voluminous moustache. "Please Ms. Asimov...have seat and decease your pacing." He stated calmly. "It's not all been for naught."

"That is definitely true." Came a third voice, this one from the couch that lined the far wall of the room. A small but athletically built woman lay there, her features denoting a mix of ancestries from Earth's old distinct groups. Her accent was a little harder to place, but a few distinctive slips had allowed for her teammates to place it as one of the "Canadians". This was the team's primary field investigator, known as "Spectre".

"We've managed to establish that it's not mere rumours of shadows, that we're chasing, eh?" She stated with a small grin across her lips. "We started off with nothing but some rumours and a pattern we could see, but not describe...we've got definite evidence now of a common thread...a common hand leaving that pattern of intent."

"Specs is correct." Susan added, twirling the points of his moustache. "At the very least, we know we're not raving conspiracy theorists. The Nausicaan raid, the take-down of those Vulcan regressives, and that recent fight with the deserters from the Imperial Guard...they've all proven quite illuminating."

He gestured to a nearby screen that took up a portion of another wall. Names, pictures, and notes...all with collecting lines drawn between them...were displayed upon it.

"We've even got a name." Spectre continued as she sat up from her resting position on the couch. "Granted, it's a name translated over at least three languages. Tempest?"

Tempest was the last member of the investigations group who was present in the room. A lean and willowy figure of a man with long blonde hair and beard, both kept in a series of braids. Tattoos of celtic knot-work creeped up his neck from beneath his street clothes, the latest in Rigellian causal robe-wear, complete with a hood that he currently had kept down.

"Ja. The Blues referred to a Vessaaaryim supplying them with information...the Nausicaans had the Hshrak-kh-Joutla as their employers...and that Vulcan cult-"

"The Fangs of the Sehlat" Susano'o noted, as he paced to the 'board' and tapped one of the linked entries, bearing an ancient Vulcan runic symbol. "Those were some tough bastards, yes?"

"Definitely showed why Vulcans keep their emotions in constant check." Spectre said with a brief shudder, remembering the encounter that had descended into vicious hand-to-hand combat...she would be hard pressed to forget the sheer savagery and strength of an openly enraged and fanatical Vulcan for the rest of her life. The field team barely made it out of that moon-based lair alive, and Operative "Grendl" was still in traction, months later.

"I'll take your word for it." Tempest replied, before continuing. "...but yes, the Fangs of Sehlat...they used an Vulcan phrase that the universal translator didn't quite pick up, but-"

"Da'al Shaa'yaeh." Spectre said, her voice briefly effecting an accent with odd intonations in an attempt to nail down the proper pronunciation. "It's from an old, pre-Warp Vulcan dialect. Roughly translated as 'The Killers' Path', or slightly more accurately as, 'The Way of the Executioners.'"

"And that last translation is backed up by the translations of the other languages." Tempest continued again, sending a glare across the to room to express his disapproval at being interrupted, yet again. "The fact that all three and most deifnitely the other incidences, all were acting with help or instigation from these 'Executioners' is definitely not a coincidence..."

"And the effect if their plans had continued, would've added up to the same on the macro-level." Susano'o quipped as he followed the lines on the board with his finger. "Destabilizing the known quadrant's political structures and relations."

"...and now they're free to continue doing that!" Asimov exclaimed again as she fell back into a large padded chair with a huff. "Because we haven't had any new leads, clues, or even hunches, in the last six weeks! Either these executioners have given up, gone to ground, or just gotten better at covering their steps...because we haven't found a peep from them since those blue deserters got taken down for piracy!"

"Asi does have point." Spectre let out a resigned sigh. "We may have run this line of inquiry right into the coldcas-"

The athletic woman was interrupted as the door chimed: Someone was here.

Suddenly, everyone in the room was on edge and on the move. Susano'O hit the screen, and it switched it's display to a screen capture of the station's dockyard. Tempest was a flurry of motion at his computer terminals, locking down them down with a speed that would set records; Asimov ran into the apartment's bathroom and hid there with particle rifle that was retrieved from under the sink; Spectre drew a hold out from under the couch and hid it behind her as she rose to her feet.

"Yes, who is it?" Susano'o stated as he hit the local door-comm button, glancing around to make sure everyone was ready for whatever responded back.

"It's the man in black, Johnny Cash. From the Lake of Fire." Came a voice from the other end. There was a feeling of relief from the dezigns of the apartment. That was one of the code phrases Sigma-31 was using for this assignment.

Susano'o opened the door and then stept to oneside, drawing a Tellar hand-stunner from his coat pocket. Better safe then sorry, even with the right code phrases.

The door whisked aside into the bulkhead walls, and a tall man with red hair and a neatly put together professional black suit, entered. Susano'o moved quickly to the man's side and held the stunner to the his neck. The man simply stood there, as Susano'o then motioned to Tempest, who took out a tricorder and began to scan.

"Is it him?" Susano'o asked the team's blonde-haired computer analyst.

"Scanning...foreign object detected in the wrist..." Tempest stated as he walked closer to the new figure in the room, increasing his scanning resolution. "...nano-filament materials detected...encoding secured...ident chip confirmed. It's him alright. As far as this thing is concerned, this is Mr. Orange."

'Mr. Orange', the red-haired gentlemen, turned to look at Susano'o and offered a small smile. Susano'o could feel a shudder run down his spine...Mr. Orange may have been their closest handler, liaison and ally within Sigma-31, but there was always something...unsettling...about him. Susano'o swallowed every instinct of his that told him to pull the trigger on the stunner right then and there, and instead let the handler go putting the stunner back in it's coat pocket.

"Are we clear and secure?" Mr. Orange asked, his voice raspy from some sort of chronic condition (Specs had placed her money on a gaseous attack of some sort, Asi favoured the theory that Orange was one of those last living 'smokers' in all of Humanity...).

Susano'o nodded and Spectre relaxed and unveiled her pistol hand, popping out the charge pack as she shouted back towards the bathroom.

"Asimov! We're clear! It's just the 'Brass'."

There was the sound of a high-powered weapon being powered back down and then Asimov walked out from her ambush spot and placed the depowered rifle on the coffee table in the middle of the room.

"I'm not sure you know what that word means, Spectre." Asimov said with an audible snarl as she graced her eyes upon Mr. Orange.

"Play nice, Asi." Spectre said to the younger woman, her voice cold, even though she offered a small grin.

"I see you've kept up with the protocols I wrote." Mr Orange commented as he moved further into the room and sat down on the couch. "That is good. Usually units that have been out in the metaphorical 'woods' for as long as you all have, they get sloppy. They go...local."

"Er, yes..." Susan said as he moved to sit at the work desks, followed by Tempest who put away the tricorder. "Our Spectre here is a stickler for running drills."

"Well you won't be needing to run drills much longer...well, not these ones at least." The ginger Handler stated.

"Do you have a lead for us? Some news for us?" Asimov said, her apprehension for the unnerving Agent being temporarily replaced by guarded excitement.

"Yes and no." Mr. Orange answered, gesturing for the operatives to sit in the other chairs around the room. "No, I do not have any leads...and since yours have dried up, Sigma-31 has decided that circumstances warrant that the United Earth's resources be devoted elsewhere given the current crisis."

"Wait wait wait..." Susano'o interrupted. "What other crisis?"

Mr. Orange raised an eyebrow. "I suppose the news hasn't reached this far out yet...I blame the comm bouys and ion storms..." He paused for a moment to draw in a deep breath. "A little while ago, the border skirmishes with the power known as The Romulan Star Empire, erupted into a full blown conflict. The United Earth is now at war. Our other analysts groups have determined that your target phantom organization has used the chaos of the situation to evade Sigma-31's inquiries and for all we can determine, they've simply vanished into the void."

"...if we've entered in a full war status with another power in the quadrant, then maybe they've gone silent because they've achieved their goals." Spectre mused solemnly. "We suspected their motivations were destabilize the quadrant...a serious armed conflict would definitely do that, especially since it's only been a few years after the Greens and the Blues cooled their heels off, eh?"

Mr. Orange give a small nod. "That is also amongst our analyst teams' theories."

There was a quiet that fell over the room after that, before Asimov once again broke it, speaking with a more reserved tone then her earlier consternation...at least at first. "So...what happens next?"

"There will be a full debriefing process, as well as the standard 'decompression' period." Mr. Orange stated, folding his hands together. "After that, you're released back into the regular population on your recognizance...pick up where you left off before Sigma-31 approached you or do something else. Your life is your own again."

"Well, that's bullshit." Spectre swore as she met Orange's gaze with her steely eyes.

"I agree!" Asimov added, her consternation returning. "We've spent years on this...those bastards are still out there! We've come closer then ever! There must be something we can-"

"That's not went I meant, Asimov." Spectre cut her younger contemporary off, mid-rant. "It's bullshit that we're being released on our recognizance...that's not how these sort of ops work."

"What?" Tempest said, a flash of paranoia starting to cross his face. "Is that true?"

"Again, yes and no." Mr. Orange leaned forward and tapped his left hand on the coffee table in front of him. "After the decom, you will be released free and clear...however, at the very minimum, tabs will kept on you by the Organization...should we ever have need of any of you in the future. The Organization hates to let skilled and knowledgeable assets go to waste."

"Tabs? Why the bloody hell would you keep tabs on us?" It was becoming obvious to everyone in the room, that the news was just piling on for Asimov...and in her relative youth, she was not handling it well.

"I just explaine-"

"No, you bloody damn didn't...if we're free and clear, why are you keeping a watch out? Make sure we don't spill the beans on what we've learned, eh? What happens if we-"

Asimov's growing rage was cut short, once again by Spectre's cool, if stern, voice. "That's enough Asi."

"But-"

"That. Is. Enough." Spectre placed her hand down, also on the table, to emphasize her point. "While I am sure information security is high on Sigma-31's priorities list, I believe what Mr. Orange is trying to communicate should be clear to us all."

Susano'o twirled his moustache slightly with his left hand and then nodded in response. "The investigation isn't over...just suspended for the time being." He mused outloud.

"Exactly." Orange leaned back once again into the couch. "If these phantom executioners of yours' pop up again, Sigma-31 will want it's top experts on the matter to reopen the case...that's you. All of you."

Susan, Spectre and Tempest nodded their heads, while Asimov slumped back into her chair. "So it's not over then?"

"It's never over." Mr. Orange stated. "All of this, is never over."

 

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