The continuation of the previous story...

Image Dr. Arnold

Dr. Arnold

Title: Beware of Romulans Bearing Gifts
Setting:  Sickbay

Dr. Arnold awoke and found himself lying on a bed in Sickbay. His head hurt, but that was to be expected. Something else, however, was not quite right. He stared at the ceiling a moment before it came to him. The lighting was wrong. It was neither as bright nor quite so white a light as he remembered. If anything, it had a slightly reddish hue. He slowly turned his head to look around. This was not the Eagle's Sickbay. It was too small, almost claustrophobic and very Spartan.

"Ah, Dr. Arnold, I see that you have finally revived," said a voice from somewhere across the room. "I would have given you a stim shot earlier, but was worried that it might cause an adverse reaction with the sedative the humans had given you."

Arnold tried to sit up and see who was speaking, but soon thought better of it. His head spun and he lay back down.

"You are still feeling the effects of that sedative. As I said, it was quite strong, but it will soon wear off." The voice drew nearer and Arnold could see the shape of a man slowly come into focus. He was tall, an impression Arnold's current position only amplified, but that is not what stood out. The man's complexion was an odd olive color, his ears pointed and his uniform a silver mail-like material.

"Please remain lying down and let me introduce myself. I am Sub-commander S'Tronn, the ship's chief surgeon. Welcome aboard." The voice belonged to a Romulan.

"I don't understand. Where is Dr. Sullivan?" Arnold asked, confused.

"Well, the answer to that question depends on your theological perspective, I suppose," S'Tronn answered dryly. "Thanks to you, our mission is a success. The traitor is onboard, any witnesses to our little incursion have been eliminated and soon we will be home. I must inform the Commander you are awake. He will be most eager to speak with you."

Arnold couldn't believe what he was hearing. He was on the Romulan ship? The Eagle was destroyed? Mission a success? "Mission? What mission?" Arnold needed time to think and needed more information.

"There is no need to dissimulate. You are among friends," rejoined S'Tronn. "But perhaps you would to prefer to discuss matters with the Commander. He is very anxious to speak with you."

Arnold stared hard at the Sub-commander, looked around again and then smiled. He had made it. Against all odds, and even with that bungler Mudd tripping over himself trying to get them caught, he made it. For the first time in years he allowed himself to relax for a moment. "Yes, that would be most appropriate. I must speak with your Commander and thank him for his timely rescue," Arnold announced.

"Of course," the doctor acknowledged and stepped across the room to contact the bridge.

A few moments later another figure entered the room. His expression was more severe than the surgeon's who quietly stepped into the shadows of the room. To Arnold he did not look like one who had just scored a major political coup for the Imperium. He looked more like someone about to preside over an execution. Arnold had met his type before.

"You are alive." It was an observation of fact, that was all. The commander seemed to have no opinion as to whether Arnold's continued existence was a good or a bad thing. It was just another fact that he would now have to take into account. "Your report," he demanded.

Arnold wasn't about to submit to this level of interrogation. He certainly had an opinion about whether his own continued existence was a good or bad thing. He had completed his mission successfully, according to the Sub-commander, and did not deserve to be treated so dismissively by this commander.

"My report will go to the Tal Shiar and no one else, Commander," Arnold spat back. "You are a mere courier on this mission. Do not forget that! Why have you exceeded your orders? I was to be left in place and the Eagle in tact so that I could continue my mission. I had everything set up so the blame would fall on that fool, Mudd."

The Commander seemed unfazed by Arnold's invocation of the Tal Shiar. Normally, mere mention of it caused even the highest ranking Romulan to pause. In fact, it was almost as if the commander had never even heard of them before. He certainly returned to the attack quickly enough.

"My actions were caused by your failures. The Eagle was not supposed to be able to shoot back. Because of your failure I had to take more aggressive actions and send a boarding party. I lost three men and the traitor was nearly killed. Your identity had been compromised, or so it appeared to my officer who found you drugged in their Sickbay. He should have left you."

Arnold's mind raced. Failed? Certainly he had placed the device. He recalled the Eagle going to Red Alert, but that was expected. Yes, he had felt the ship shake while he was in Sickbay, but that was a warning shot from the Bird-of-Prey, surely. There was no way the Eagle could have fought back. Had they found the device? Even so, they obviously didn't escape, so the engines must have remained damaged. Arnold decided on a more conciliatory tact. After all, it could be a long ride to wherever they were going.

"I am sorry for the loss of your men, and thankful for my rescue, Commander. Nevertheless, the Eagle was disabled enough to allow the success of the mission. The Imperium will be grateful," Arnold said.

"Then I must have your report. We must be sure there are no other loose ends," the Commander rejoined icily.

"Very well. To the best of my knowledge, the traitor had remained in his cabin the entire time from when he left Liarra Mishtosh until you captured him. Any information he may have passed along will have perished with the Eagle," Arnold reported.

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