View Single Post
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 147
# 36 The Centurion (Nahash #3)
05-21-2013, 08:04 PM
Part 1

Part 2


---

"This data card contains the same information as your useless transmission!" The thug elbowed my open wound to emphasize his point.

Something deep inside of me enjoyed taunting the fool, even though it led to more pain. "Did anyone with a remedial amount of knowledge in encryption protocol examine it?" I rolled over to protect my bleeding gut.

"It took an hour decrypt the useless data," the officer in the corner said. "The protocol you gave us before you left didn't work." The brute kicked me in the ear to emphasize the officer's point. There were probably some more words spoken, but at that point I was pretty sure that my eardrum had broken.

"Examine the highlighting and supplemental notes in the text," I grunted. "Any eleven year old could decrypt the data. Run the pattern of supplemental data into the decryption protocol, you fool!" My voice cracked as I raised my voice.

The officer looked away and then turned towards the door. "Beat him until he loses consciousness or a limb, whichever happens first."

---

I woke up to that strange feeling of being transported. Most sentient beings get used to that feeling after the second or third time, but waking up to that always feels wrong. Anyway, I materialized in what appeared to be a decent medical bay. Something pressed against my neck, and then I passed out again.

Eventually I woke up again and was quickly escorted to a conference room. The man at the table was the person who recruited me for this sick enterprise. Luckily for him, I wasn't able to speak very well thanks to a few punches to my throat some time before.

"I would like to apologize for the way you were treated," the man said. "It is our policy to put new recruits in with the lower-performing groups, but in your case I can see that it was a mistake. Your encryption scheme was too advanced for their simple minds, so they beat you instead. Rest assured that they won't make that mistake again. Please, have a seat."

I turned around and realized that the guard had left the room. I sat down.

"You have certainly earned a higher position in my organization. You are now a senior engineer and assistant intelligence officer." He paused to weigh my reactions. I tried to make a comment, but it just came out like a grunt.

"By now you must be curious as to my identity. I am the one that people call the Centurion. My mission is to restore the glory of the Empire, which is something that you sympathize with. Don't be surprised - my associates have read all of your writings and listened to all of your conversations. I know that you agree with my goals but not my tactics. Please, before you judge me, hear me out.

"Why do I attack Federation convoys heading to New Romulus? Because taking assistance from them is an acknowledgement that we are weak. Why have my associates destroy the Romulan embassy on Tellar? Because they were groveling for assistance, as if our Empire needed help from inferior beings. Some may say that my methods are extreme, but you have to admit that they are effective."

I stopped paying attention and used the terminal built into the table to type questions. He smiled and continued the narrative. "How original! Do you really believe that the Tal Shiar will stop me? I have a secret for you, my friend - I am the Tal Shiar. The Centurion is one of my tools. I have shaped public discussion and policy while staying in the shadows.

"Now it is time for you to make a choice. Do you want to shape history and guide our Empire in its return to galactic glory?" The display behind him came to life, and I saw a beautiful sight: my wife. She was watering the plants in our backyard. Tears welled in my eyes. I knew the terrible choice he was going to lay before me.

"I take care of my employees, as you can clearly see. Your wife and children are happy and healthy. You can stay with me, or you are free to go. Just know that if you choose to leave, I will no longer protect your family.

"Your quarters are one deck down, room seven thirteen. You have one day to consider your position." The man stood up and walked out of the room. He passed within arm's reach, and I wanted to grab him and beat him senseless. All I had the energy to do though was bury my head in my hands.

---

Three days later, I received a message from my wife. She thanked received the first paycheck showing my promotion and scolded me for keeping it a secret until now. The kids were doing fine in school, the neighbors upgraded their entertainment suite, and on and on.

Part of me knew that I had been broken, both physically and mentally. The thought of working for the Centurion, or for the Tal Shiar, made me want to do horrible things to myself. But my resolve had been destroyed. All I cared about was survival. And survival meant showing up for my shift a dierha early so that I could show dedication and work on upgrading the weapons suite.

---

Elsewhere


Captain Everitt Carter rose from his desk with a smile. He left the ready room and walked over to Lieutenant Commander Hillel's station on the bridge. "Let's take a walk," he said as he gestured to the turbolift.

"I just received a message from the Ross," Carter began. "They witnessed a rare event - a Romulan ship attacking and destroying another one on the edge of the Federation-Klingon border. A Mogai was ambushed by a very large ship with a configuration we've never seen before. It looked Reman, though the weapons were certainly based on a Borg design. Preliminary reports indicate that the Mogai was the one that attacked the Midnight Breeze as cover for picking up the Romulan spy."

The men walked in silence for a few seconds. Hillel scratched at his growing facial hair, and then responded. "This means that the admiralty is even more upset that I didn't stop the spy while I had the chance."

Carter stopped walking and faced the younger man. "No one is finding fault in your actions. We didn't know that they would attack the transport. Don't hold yourself responsible for the leak. If anything, the admiralty is to blame for letting a Romulan sympathizer into our ranks.

"Anyway, it turns out that they had a reason to suspect an infiltrator, so some of the information presented at the conference was false. The breakthrough in transwarp tunneling at the ch'Zahn Observatory near the T'Ong Nebula was completely fabricated. As we speak, Federation and Klingon forces are mining the area and preparing for an ambush. Your perceived failure to catch one spy may lead us to the capture or destruction of a large Tal Shiar asset."

"Surely the Romulans know better than to warp into a system when there is a Federation task force nearby."

Carter smiled. "Who said that the Defiant was the only Federation vessel with cloaking technology?"

Last edited by superhombre777; 05-21-2013 at 08:12 PM.