A Friendship Betrayed, Part II - Lansine & Neyes

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Continued from A Friendship Betrayed, Part II - Lansine & Neyes

Chapter 7, Warning

Landon's Quarters, Deck 2

It had been an excruciating day. With every new system that was either being updated or replaced or torn out completely, he had to reallign the mass index in the navigation systems to accomidate for the change. Unlike working on his own, the starbase crews were re-reporting the index several times a day, and that meant that every couple hours he had to recalculate the localized mass of the Intrepid. It was a pain.

With a sigh and the complete relaxation of every muscle his had knowledge of, Landon collapsed on his couch. Feeling the cushions take him in and bounce a little when he landed, he closed his eyes and resigned himself to not moving until he woke up again tomorrow.

The door chimes had another destiny in mind.

His seconds of comfort shattered, the thought of another problem brought to his attention about the helm controls nearly brought a tear to his eye. Landon let a few moments of quiet pass before the bell chimed again and he was forced to call them in.

It was an understatement to say that he was surprised to see Daeryx standing in his doorway, a bruise clouding his neck. Neyes' face immediately sunk, making his concern obvious. "What the hell happened to you?!" He shot up from the couch and ran over to catch him before he fell into the doorway. It didn't even occur to him to ask why he was there, on a starfleet vessel, when they had obviously finished their conversation earlier.

Daeryx muttered something Landon couldn't make out. Neyes gently settled him down where he'd been sitting a moment ago on the couch. It looked almost like he'd spent the last few hours in a bar, drinking every ounce of genuine liquor they had. Daeryx continued to mutter as he looked up at Landon, half awake.

Neyes looked at the mark on his neck, it almost looked like a cheap hypospray bruise. Although it was difficult for Landon to imagine Daeryx letting someone get close enough to inject a hypospray.

"Ryx what happened?! You can't be drunk. . . hold on." He went out into the hall and emerged a few seconds later with an emergency medkit. He prepped a hypo and touched it to Daeryx's arm. It seemed like forever before anything he said began to make sense.

"Little bastard. . . asked about you. . . Irelle Transports." Every word started to clear up and soon Daeryx was sitting up, still woozy but coherent. Daeryx detailed the entirety of the encounter he'd had with his assailant, and the questions he'd been asked. Landon was of course grateful for the information barrier Daeryx had been, but it sounded like more got out than Landon would have liked. But of course it wasn't the other Trill's fault, and as much as he'd like to deny it, he didn't ever really get "mad" at Daeryx.

"Whoever this is, this human, did you get a name? What's he look like?" Landon asked quietly.

"He was shorter, maybe a little shorter than you, and around your wieght. I don't remember much else. Damn sure of himself too, got the jump on me with a hypo." Daeryx grinned deviously. "You're cute when you're concerned for me, yourself, and your past dealings all at once."

Landon rolled his eyed and smiled. "I'm more concerned for you than anything, and then our future second."

"Why our future?"

"Because you keep ending up where I want you to be, and never where I need you to be."

Daeryx grabbed Neyes' arm and pulled him down on the couch on top of him. "You're still Neyes to me, Landon. No matter how much you changed. So you're not Hyane? Or a fiery woman of power. You know I love you too much to care."

Landon's brow furrowed and he pulled his head back as he lay on top of Daeryx. "We're under the scrutiny of the Symbiosis Commission and are apparently under the eye of some kind of information gatherer bent on stealing my family's secrets ... and you want to go there... now?"

"Yup."

Neyes pushed himself down a little harder on top of Daeryx and smiled evily. "Fine. Have it your way. We'll deal with the bad later."

Daeryx smiled broadly and all but growled, "you're mine."

Chapter 8, Blackmail

USS Intrepid - Personal Quarters

Rob sat on the edge of his bed with his face in his hands. In the span of a few weeks his life had transformed. Just the another day he’d stepped onboard an optimistic cadet with the demons of his past behind him. Now, he sat alone in his empty quarters, traumatized from the Borg, taking orders from an information dealer, and about to alienate the only true friend he had aboard the Intrepid: life was shit.

Rob slowly stood up and solemnly walked to his personal computer interface across the room. He plumped into the chair and brought up the data he’d gathered on Landon. There were the various recordings, including Daeryx’s conversation with Landon and his interrogation of Daeryx in the hanger bay; the articles he’d accumulated from the FNN archives. With the background information out of the way Rob could begin on the principle task: acquiring Landon’s corporate account information.

Rob his the pause button on the screen, he’d been watching the conversation between Daeryx and Neyes. “Computer, rewind to index 2:31” The screen flashed and reset to the point.

"Well Hyane was a gorgeous woman. I like to think her appearance wasn't the only reason you loved me."

Lansine thought back to what Walz had mentioned, “The two were lovers...”

Rob slapped the desk, “That’s it!” Rob briefly ran the moral calculations through his head. He’d gone though too much to let this opportunity pass him by. Rob looked at Landon on the holo-imager. “You don’t need this as much as I do.” Rob paused again and turned the console off. Rob reached back and grabbed a PADD from a pile on his bed. Rob tapped the PADD and opened a file. Walz had given him a few non-Starfleet issue PADDs to keep the information he gathered on. They used an encrypted algorithm to access the local ODN network thus eliminating a direct location lock on the device. Such things made the work of Walz and his various associates much easier when dealing with Starfleet. Once the encryption was enabled Rob began composing his message.

‘Thirty minutes. Holo-Suite 47. Come alone.’ He then attached copy of the video recording to the message and pressed send.

Rob laughed a bit at the cliche nature of the message. He’d never been on the composing side of an ultimatum before. The humor though was far from sobering. Rob still felt guilty for taking such an action against a friend. He’d repeatedly played through the worst case scenarios in his mind; even though he’d made much progress in tracking his needed information the amount of scenarios where Rob remained anonymous continued to dwindle. He feared that finding his past may lead to endangering his future; he was about to find out.

Chapter 9, Identity

Starbase 22 - Holosuite 47

The program was perfect. Walz had passed him the isolinear chip containing it when Rob had made a quick stop at the pub. The lanky man had been more than hesitant giving up his favorite holo-suite program and now Rob understood why. He was standing in the middle of a busy mid-20th century New York street corner; but that wasn’t the best part. The program also offered the user a holographic disguise. Rob now completely fit in; his normally shot brown hair was no longer, unkept and blonde; instead his 25th century civilian attire he now wore a white shirt with a large yellow smiling face. But most importantly his face had received an equal transformation.

“What were these people thinking?” Rob looked down in disdain at his own shirt. To complement his gleeful t-shit he also now appeared to be wearing worn out jeans. “And to think people actually paid for tattered clothing.” He rolled his eyes and continued scanning the crowd. He’d never been one for Old Earth history but he did find the people of this time frame very predicable. Assuming the holoprogram had been programmed correctly most of what he saw lived up to his expectations of the people of this century: petty, ignorant and selfish. He’d already witnessed a mugging and could have swore one of the holographic characters tried to pick his pocket. Rob found it hard to imagine in merely 100 years humanity would be traveling to the stars in their first warp ship.

Rob sat down at a nearby bench and glanced at his PADD. He’d programmed it to alert him of any new arrivals to the program and according to the time table he’d put on Landon the small device should be going off any moment.

Landon who had just slipped on his uniform and snuck out to the holosuites, leaving Daeryx in his quarters, was less than pleased. It was no mystery that something was happening around here that wasn't adding up. He knew why someone would be interested in his past, but not why they'd want to talk to him about it. It was definitely better that Daeryx not be present however, since he had a tendancy to become over-protective. Neyes didn't really need help dealing with this particular area of his life.

As he stepped onto the holosuite, he was immediately a little confused. It was an obviously sketchy place to be meeting someone. There was a small but steady crowd of people walking the streets, and no one different to pick out. Whoever was summoning him wanted to stay hidden. Landon scowled a little at the cowardice.

"Computer, remove the general public."

No response.

"That won't work." Rob guffed from the bench, his voice also been covered thanks to the holoprogram. He stood up and walked to Landon. "Figured you might do something like that; program editing been disabled." He waved his PADD in Neyes' face. He gone through his plan dozens of times in his head. For a truly anonomous performance he'd have to act different than what Landon knew of Robert Lansine.

Landon turned and smiled a little. The man was hiding behind some kind of holographic disguise. He mentally rolled his eyes. "Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find a bathroom?

"We don't have time for your humor Neyes." Rob said uncomfortably.

“Oh well I guess I'll just do whatever you say then!" Neyes added sarcastically. "Why am I here? What do you want and why did you drug my friend?..."

"As I've explained to your aquaintance, you have something I want." He tapped the PADD and handed it to Neyes. "And as for my 'argument' with Daeryx--well, it got out of hand. He could have cooperated. He didn't."

Landon took the PADD, glanced at it for a moment and looked back with just his eyes. "I suppose something makes you think I'll do differently."

"I assume you know what's in front of you?" Rob said looking Landon in the eyes. "My employer requests you transfer your assests regarding said account in the next 12 hours--or else there will be ramifications." Rob handed Neyes' another PADD. "What you now see is what some might call blackmail, and for you and Daeryx I can understand why." Rob's voice quivered a bit on the word 'blackmail'.

A surge of fury boiled inside Neyes as he read the PADD more thoroughly, this wasn't happening. It outlined a nightmare for both his family's memory, and for him and Daeryx. If the Symbiosis commission back in Trill were to see this, then both him and Daeryx would be excommunicated from the planet. Excommunication meant no more hosts for their symbionts.

This man wanted the last 2000 bars of latinum Landon had planned to use to help the people he grew up with to establish themselves. To establish their own industry free from the Ferengi commerce influence that plagued his homeworld. Now they'd found a way to take it all. If Daeryx had been here he'd have killed the man at the threat. Probably snapped his neck without a second thought.

"I trust you will make the right decesion." Rob added, his body posture now described conflict. He was having a hard time sticking it to Landon.

Landon's eyes thinned as he measured the man before him. Without any kind of backup, he stood before Landon and claimed to take either what he wanted and Neyes cared about, or ruin something he was charged with protecting as well as his happiness. "I should have seen this coming." He growled.

It was clear as day Neyes' blackmailer wasn't the most experienced in his field. His words lacked the robust confidence you'd expect from someone dealing with undercurrent theives. Every moment that passed Landon could feel the man getting a little smaller. It was like he cared.

"What's in this for you?" Landon spoke in almost a whisper, forcing his compromised emotions back. His mind raced for a way to break what he needed out of the man.

Rob looked away, "That's none of your concern." He accidentally dropped another PADD on the ground and bent over to pick it up. As he got back up he looked back to Landon. "My concerns cannot be measured in monetary terms."

"I don't know who you think you are bu-", Landon was cut off by the doors opening and a large man, Daeryx, storming into the holosuite. He was red-faced and breathing heavily, it was obvious he'd read the note. Neyes' rushed to stop him, before he did something they'd probably all regret. He moved Landon out of the way by the shoulders without a word, making a beeline for the man. With a furious grunt he grabbed him by both hands at the shirt and threw him against the nearest wall.

Neyes' eyes opened wide as he saw the blow. What he didn't expect was what he saw next. The impact against the wall caused the local area of the holoprogram to flicker out for a few seconds. Revealing something he really wished wasn't true. "...Rob." After a moments shock, Landon immediately shouted out something in Trill at Daeryx and the man dropped Rob on the spot.

Landon took a PADD out of his pocket and flicked it at Rob disappointingly. There wasn't anything else to say. It was a understatement to say that Landon felt betrayed, and on a level he couldn't describe. It was more important at that moment to get Daeryx out and away from him, despite how he felt. "I don't know why you need this," he shot a knowing look down at Rob, "but here's what you're looking for." His voice shook a little as he stood between him and Daeryx. There was clearly some important reason Lansine would be taking desperate measures, whatever they were.

Later

Rob felt terrible and the lump on his head and his concussion weren't even the worst part. He'd betrayed his friend. Before Daeryx had taken a swing at him Rob had seen the wave of disappointment flow over Landon's face; such an image would be forever ingrained in him. Just as the victims' faces of his Borg induced rampage were, Rob would never forget Landon's emotionally drained expression.

He looked down at the ground, now back back to its default hologrid appearance. A smaller PADD laid alone on the grid and he bent over to grab it. As he began to scroll through the contents he felt a bit light headed; Landon had actually given him the information he needed. After all he'd put him through the man had the altruism to simply hand it over. Rob shook his head in disbelief. He'd misjudged Landon. Rob had expected the other man to hold his past in the same contempt Rob did and do whatever necessary to protect it. He was wrong. His legs began to buckle as the emotional tidal wave fully encompassed him, and fell to his knees.

And he began to weep.


Chapter 10, Decision

USS Intrepid - Personal Quarters

Rob a decision to make, and he was not looking forward to it. He was laying on his bed, throwing the PADD Landon had left him up into the air as he contemplated what to do next. Any chance at remaining friends with the Helmsman were long gone now. The image of Landon’s disgust still sat freshly in his mind; from all his experiences with people Rob knew one thing: the two of them were done. There’d be no more Borg training holodeck adventures, or drinks at the bar, Rob had betrayed his only friend on the Intrepid and he would certainly feel the consequences. Thankfully the consequences of his actions would most likely end there. Rob doubted Landon or Daeryx would go to the proper authorities. After all Rob still had one piece of information neither of them wanted released: the two Trill had broken one of their culture’s rules and with what Rob knew he could end Neyes’ and Daeryx’s connection to the Trill community. Effectively killing both of them.

However, the knowledge he could end their lives did not comfort him; if anything it made him feel worse. For the past few weeks he’d been practicing much meta-cognition and now was no different. His recent thoughts and actions scared him. Despite what he had to gain from handing Walz the information on Landon, Rob continued to feel torn. Knowing what Landon had to lose changed everything.

He’d yet informed the information dealer turned barkeep, Walz, of his most recent dealings with Landon but that was about to change. Before he was going to make his decision he needed the certainty Walz’ had the information about Rob’s father. Only then could he decide on what to do next.

Rob caught the PADD one last time before getting off the bed. After glancing at the information again, he walked to his computer console and typed in a command Walz had given him; it would guarantee a private com. link.

“Walz, I’m coming down. We have one last thing to discuss.” Rob waited for the barkeep’s usually quick reply, but nothing came. “Walz?”

No response.

Rob’s heart began to beat faster as panic began to set in. Something was wrong.

Chapter 11, Spoiled

Starbase 22 - Walz’ Pub

Alistar yawned as he sat down in his usual spot in Walz' bar. It had been years since he had been to SB 22 and he hadn't missed anything. Walz had been a little troll that SFI allowed to continue breathing just because he managed to continue to be useful. It wouldn't take much for that to change though, and McKeon had been informed multiple times that removing Walz from the gene pool would be one of those tiny little secrets that would remain a mystery until further notice.

Propping his feet up on the table and ignoring the looks from the nearby patrons at seeing a SF officer acting like a off duty enlistee McKeon ordered a bottle of wild vines red wine merlot, slightly chilled, and a large steak dinner while keeping an eye out of Walz, just in case the slime decided to ooze his way through the bar anytime soon.

Walz walked in from behind the bar, the evening rush had been a bit larger than usual and he was exhausted, his normal pale face was marked with fatigue; running a legitimate business was not nearly as glamarous at people made it out to be. He was about to ask one of the Bolians across the bar for his drink order when he saw McKeon.

Seeing Walz, Alistar smirked and poured his glass full or the merlot. Since the slime was in hearing distance, Alistar decided to get the nicities out of the way.

"Hey Walz, love what ya did with the place" Alistar added a slur to his voice, playing out that he was actually more drunk than what he really was.

The lanky man laid the flask he was cleaning on the bar, "What do I owe the pleasure?" Walz acccented his retort with a bit of sarcasm. He and Alistar had never gotten along well. Even after years of interaction he could never bring himself to forgive McKeon.

"Just to remind you that you still have a leash around that scrawny neck of yours and you owe me 50 credits" Alistar said as he took a drink.

"If I remember correctly, it's you you owes me 50 credits." Walz picked up the flask and continued cleaning it with a rag.

I figure you're here about the Lansine boy." Walz maintained no contact with the other man.

Lansine?" Alistar frowned. "You mean the new security guy that just got his first pip on Intrepid?"

"I figured since you're posted on the same ship as him." Walz replaced the flask with another.

Alistar came to his feet and leaned forward so fast with a snarl that Walz didn't have time to react as McKeon grabbed him by the collar. "Listen here, slime, if I hear anything about you terrorizing anyone on my ship Ill make sure my CO finishes what I start when I go to end what scrap of life you still have, got it?"

Letting Walz go, Alistar didn't move as he glared at the barkeep.

"Alistar, get your grimy hands off me." Walz pushed the man back. "If you've got business related to our 'agreement' I suggest we take it to the back." Walz, who had just recently done the same with Lansine, motioned for Alistar to follow him behind the bar. The back storage room smelled of spilled liquor and the lack of lighting only added to the second class atmosphere.

"Now, out with it; what do you want?" Walz said plainly.

“What’s your interest with Lansine?” Alistar growled.

Walz leaned back against a liquor cabinet, "Your losing your touch McKeon. I was sure you had a tab on that kid--he's gone through quite a bit of shit in his 22 years." Walz shook his head and smiled at Alistar. "Could it be you didn't even notice the connection? Seriously you've heard of his father; weapons research," Alistar continued to look confused. "He was dishonorably discharged." Walz finished, hoping something would sound familiar to Alistar.

"Wait, there was a Lansine who worked on the Aeon Project with me......you mean?" Alistar's eyes narrowed a bit.

"Yes, that's his son. Quite a bundle of spirit too." Walz touched his cheek where Rob had struck his with a phaser, it was still bruised. "But I thought you'd know that by now."

"I only want my ship back moron, I don't care who designed the goodies that were installed. As long as they work and don't make the ship go boom, I'm happy. Don't tell me the kid's working for you"

"You could say that." Walz smirked, his hand glided down towards his waist. "Though in a way, you're paying him." Walz suddenly grabbed the small weapon he'd been concealing under his belt and pointed it at McKeon. "You see the two of us have an agreement and quite frankly I don't have what I told him I did--you do."

"Me? What the hell are you talking about?" Alistar growled. He was starting to get pissed off with this slime, even more now that the guy was pointing a gun at McKeon.

"He'll do anything for information about his father and you have what he wants." Walz continued to point the weapon at Alistar's face. "You're going to give it to him."

"And just what the hell am I supposed to give him? A teddy bear and a hug?"

"He'll be expecting something important, something he doesn't know--and you intelligence types always have something intesting up your sleeve. After all, that's how we met, was it not." Walz smiled again. He and Alistar had met under less than ideal circumstances and after a long drawn out encounter years ago Walz had been left with nothing but a broken nose and a damaged shuttle. It was his turn to stick it to McKeon.

"Yeah, and if I remember, you haven't learned a damned thing. Wanna know why?"

"Because you're a poor ass teacher Alistar."

Alistar shrugged with a smile. "Maybe." he said as he turned to the side and kicked out with his foot in a single fast paced action. His boot met Walzs wrist with a delightful crunchy snap that not only broke the bones in both wrist and hand but also was sure to damage a few nerves. The small Type I phaser dropped to the floor as Walz growled in pain and stepped back. Alistar charged in and made sure Walz remembered even more of their first encounter with a 3 punch combo that left Walz with a cracked rib, bruised jaw and a broke nose. Walz made a grab for the phaser, but Alistar kicked it out of the way and stomped down on the hand, smashing it and breaking bones and knuckles. Before Walz could scream, McKeon's other foot came up and kicked the informat in the jaw. As Walz flipped over, Alistar's boot went to the exposed throat and he pressed down, hard but not enough to kill him.

"I really hate this part of my job, but it seems that your borrowed time just expired" Alistar growled as he reached inside his civilian jacket. Pulling out a 20th century handgun and a silencer, he snapped the silencer to the business end of his favorite weapon and checked the magazine before aiming the black Rugar model at Walzs forehead.

"It does make me feel better knowing that at least three people are going to sleep better after they hear about this. Got any last words, shitface?"

Walz coughed up blood before spitting what he could at McKeon, "Just give the damn boy his due you bastard."

Without words, Alistar pulled the trigger. A soft sound, almost like a zipper being pulled open quickly near a microphone sounded, and Walz closed his eyes for good. Stepping back, Alistar broke the silencer off and slid both pieces back inside his jacket before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pair of gloves. Putting them on, he did a quick search of Walzs body, finding a data padd and a crystal. Taking his gloves off, he set all the items in a pocket before tapping his commbadge.

McKeon to Intrepid, emergancy transport request override code Black Iguana"

The store room vanished as the transporter pulled him back to the Intrepid. The Black Iguana code would make sure that there would be no records of the transport, and he now had to call someone at SFI for cleanup, but Alistar had two calls and a personal visit to make.


Chapter 12, Proposition

Starbase 22 - Walz’ Pub

The bar cast a much more omniscient aura after hours. The lights were off and the music absent when he’d entered through the small revolving door. The pub’s usual patrons had long since left and Rob couldn’t help but feel a bit spooked. His hand lay rested on his phaser as he turned the next corner towards the back of the bar. Then a voice punctured the darkness.

“Robbie I’m a bit offended,” Walz casually stepped out from behind a support column. “There’s no need to bring a weapon to a family reunion.”

“Is this what this is to you?” Rob replied angrily. “You have something I want and you’re going to give it to me.” Rob grasped his phaser a bit tighter. “I’m not interested in running your errands anymore Walz.”

Walz shook his head in disparagement, “Oh and you wouldn’t be Robbie. I have a much more important job for you in mind; and quite honestly you’re the perfect man for the job.” Walz stepped closer to the antsy Ensign. “I’m going to have to ask you to give me that weapon.” He extended his hand out.

“And what stops me from just taking what I need? No one will miss one more criminal minion.” Rob pulled the phaser out and pointed it straight at the other man. “Tell me where it is.”

“Now now, there’s no need to get violent, especially towards an old family friend my boy.” Walz frowned. “Unfortunately for you what you desire I do not posses, or at least I do not currently.” Rob was demanding the PADD Walz had shown him in there recent communiqué. “What I showed you was merely an example given to me by another informant; and Robbie don’t forget I’ve got a lot of those.”

Rob continued to point his weapon at Walz, “Then why the sudden need for my help?”

“Oh don’t be so modest. You my friend are in quite a position to help my employers and I.” Walz began to smile once again. “And there’s so much for you to gain for such a little task. My proposal is quite economical.”

“I’m sure it is. A large chunk of latinum for you I suppose.” Rob shook his head in disapproval. Walz’ greed was insatiable.

At Rob’s comment Walz took a moment to sit down. “Ah, from our past experiences I understand why’d you think such things; but I guess time does change things.” At that moment Rob suddenly realized how different Walz looked. The basics of the man’s appearance obviously hadn’t changed much; he still stood tall around two-and-a-half meters tall, but he did have a bit of a s hump in his posture; his once jet black hair now was perforated with steaks of gray; and his skin showed obvious signs of wear and tear with various scars and discoloring on his face. When they’d first met Walz had only been 26; now ten or so years later he looked like a man in his late forties: time had not treated Walz well.

“But my compensations are none of your concern, no matter the times we shared together on Orion IV.” His speech suddenly was uncharacteristically sharp and concise. “I have a proposal for you. Take it or leave it. My offer stands for this meeting only. After today my proposition is null: do you understand? You have one chance to get your hands on that information and I am your only chance.”

Rob frowned, “I understand your little ultimatum Walz. Now what is your proposal?” The man had perked his curiosity. While he would have ideally liked to take the information from Walz his options were now limited.

Walz sprang up from his chair, “Now that’s my boy! I knew you’d come through.”

“I haven’t agreed to anything yet.” Rob said sternly.

“Ah yes, of course but indeed here is my proposition to you.” Walz slid a PADD out from jacket and handed it to Lansine. “Just a bit of information gathering. Nothing to serious. I’m sure your Starfleet training will come in handy.” He joked.

Rob took the PADD from Walz’ weedy fingers, what he saw made him nearly drop the device: Landon.

“So we’ve got a deal then? The specifics are listed on the PADD. Again, there’s nothing outrageous but I’m sure you’ll take the job seriously anyway. Should be a walk in the park for you Starfleet. Get the information on this character here and you get your ‘missing link’ of sorts: deal?”

Rob looked up from the image on the PADD, “Deal.”

Chapter 13, Uncovered

Alistar had barely had enough time to put things right before someone started sniffing around, so after beaming over to Intrepid he had gone to his quarters and opened a securely encrypted channel to the nearest SFI office.

"Code Onynx. Walz is dead. I need a cleanup team to secure his bar and make sure I'm seen leaving the area. I've got a loose end that needs to be dealt with"

"Roger. Need us to make any calls?"

"Yeah, I'll get the information to you ASAP"

"Alright. Good luck with your loose end. Good work. And thanks"

Watching the screen go black, McKeon snorted and tapped his commbadge. "McKeon to Lansine, what's your location?"

Rob had been sitting in his quarters contemplating whether or not to investigate why Walz hadn't responded to any communicaes when the unknown officer called. He ran down a mental list of senior staff when he finally remembered the name; it was the Chief Strategic Ops officer. "What the hell does he want?" Rob thought aloud before responding to McKeon.

"Lansine here sir. I'm in my quarters, deck four." His voice carried a bit of uneasiness. It was odd any senior officer other than Caldwell would contact him directly.

"Stay there" Alistar growled. Signing off, he checked his shoulder holster. He doubted that he would need to use the gun, but it never hurt to be sure. Walking quickly, he headed over to Lansine's quarters.

A few minutes had passed since McKeon's abrupt call when Rob heard a loud knock at the door. Rob got up from the bed and headed to the door to greet the officer, "Open."

Just as soon as the doors opened, Alistar's hand came around the corner and slammed the butt end of his handgun into Lansine's jaw. Hard. The ensign fell back as Alistar pushed into the room and typed in a code into the door controls. Aiming the silenced gun at Lansine, he glared.

"Start talking, and if you lie to me I promise I'll send you to join your friend Walz" McKeon growled.

"What the fuck?" Rob grabbed his bleeding jaw, it felt broken. "Who the fuck are you and what the hell do you want?" Rob staggered over to his bed and propped himself onto his knees. The initial blow had dulled his response to the mention of Walz but as he recovered it became even more enraged. "What the hell did you do to him!" Rob attempted to stand and take a swing at McKeon but the other officer brought his leg around and smashed Lansine's left knee cap.

Shoving the half crippled officer back again, and this time he wasn't even nice. Alistar winced a bit as Lansine missed the soft spots to fall down on and hit the table. Still holding his gun at Lansine, he offered a shrug.

"Walz, well, he should be finished bleeding out on the floor in his backroom" he said.

"You bastard!" Rob choked. He was nursing his leg as McKeon continued.

"Yeah well, someone on this ship has keep you little traitoring fucks in line. Now, and I'm not going to ask after this, what did you do for Walz? Drug running? Granting access to classified data. Maybe even slide a few items out of the armory into that batard's slimey hands? Start talking dammit!"

Rob couldn't believe what he was hearing. How did someone outside Landon, Daeryx and Walz know anything of what had transpired in the last few days. "Information dealing. No drugs, no weapons, nothing of the illicit nature." Rob struggled to his feet, holding his weight of the limp knee. "The bastard has--" He paused before rephrasing, "had information on my father. I don't expect you to understand." Rob glanced to the mirror across the room, assessing the damage dealt to his face. "I'm no traitor." Rob stared Alistar in the eyes, "and how the fuck do you know about any of this?"

Alistar shook his head and lwoered the gun. "The CO doesn't keep me around because of my good looks and friendly attitude" he said. "I'm more of a guard dog that takes care of......things. Let's leave it at that. As to your dad......Lansine.....what was his name?"

Rob's face grew even more enraged when McKeon mentioned his father. "What the hell do you know about my father!" Again he tried to stand but the pain of his broken knee kept him on the floor. "What could you possibly know about Joeseph Lansine?"

Alistar frowned. "Did he ever do any work for SF?"

Rob's eyes narrowed, "Of course he did. Everyone knows that."

"When?"

Lansine's face became even more estranged, " '86 to '99, but that's common knowledge. Why the hell do you care?"

Alistar laughed and shook his head. "Ok, so I never knew him that well personally, but I worked with him on the Hornet Project back in the academy. He was trying to work out the bugs on a new pulse phaser cannon that never got approved until a friend and I dug up his notes a few years ago. I even used the design on the Aeon Project before that whole deal went to hell. And I've got a feeling that the same people who stole my ship are the ones who fucked your dad right outta Starfleet"

A wave of enlightenment rolled over Rob with McKeon's comments. "Hornet Project?" He'd never heard the actual code name of the project his father had been working on. "You know who turned him in? Aeon Project?" Rob rambled off his questions; he'd waited nine years for someone to tell him what McKeon was; pointing a gun at him or not, Alistar had suddenly became an ally in Lansine's mind.

Cautiously, Alistar lowered the gun, but he didn't put it away. "Yeah, Hornet Project. Can't really say it was my project, I was just a student at the time, but yeah, I worked on it with your old man. And to tell the truth, if I knew who had been involved, we wouldn't be having this conversation. All I know is that the same people who set him up and tried to erase his data came after me when I was in charge of the Aeon Project. They couldn't do to me what they did you Lansine Sr, plus they knew better, so they just stole my ship."

"Do you have documentation?" Rob carefully lifted his leg onto the bed to easy the pressure off his knee. With McKeon in a less aggressive mood sense the mention of Rob's father Rob felt much less intimidated.

Carefully Alistar watched the Sec officer as he answered. "A little. Little or none that can help with what happened to your old man, although that info is old enough that pulling it off the shelf shouldn't cause any alarms to go off. But I do have plenty of evidence on the guys who stole Aeon that I could hunt them down if I had enough time. Chances are it would lead to what happened to your dad."

Another wave rolled over Rob, now one of relief. Finally there was proof, tangiable proof behind his father's discharge and his family's subsequent sufferings. "That's why I was working with Walz." Rob said.

"Walz?" Alistar chuckled and shook his head. "Kiddo, this is stuff Walz could never get his hands on. I had to dig deep into some seriously hidden files just to get the tidbits I have, and that's with stolen command codes. Walz never had anything, and if he did, he'd be too scared to give it out to anyone, including me. No, Walz had you on a string like a little pup"

Rob shook his head, "I guess--" he paused and rubbed his face. "I guess I always was afraid of that. The opportunity presented itself and I couldn't let it go."

"Yeah, well, let this be a lesson to you" Alistar said sadly. "If it looks too good to be true, it most likely is. I hate to put it to you like this, Lansine, but your lucky that Walz isn't dangerous enough to actually be a threat. Intimidating as he was, he was mostly harmless. Just a traitor slimeball that was on the 'To Eventually Kill' list. Most of the time, you risk yourself and others for nothing. Sometimes, it's best to just let a good opportunity pass on by"

Lansine thought back to his encounter with Landon in the holodeck, "And I sure fucked things up." Any regard Rob had had for language curtorsy was nullified when McKeon had smashed his leg in, though he doubted the obviously "cowboy” officer would care. "Would you mind delivering this." Rob reached arcoss the bed for the PADD Landon had left him on the holodeck. "It's what I did; or rather what I almost did." Rob handed the device to McKeon. "The name is on the screen. I'm sure the last person he wants to see is me. It'd be in both of our best interests if I didn't deliver it."

Snapping the silencer off of his gun, Alistar slid both away before he took the padd. Glancing at it, he snorted. All that damned trouble over this? Including the trip to sickbay that Lansine would now have to explain away?

"Your fucking kidding me! All this trouble plus the expense on cleanup over the info on a Trill? Gaah!" Alistar shook his head. This was so crazy it was almsot funny.

"I'll tell you what, and I don't always give out such great deals. You take this back to Neyes along with an apology, hell, buy the guy dinner and make a friend, and work things out with him, and I'll do what I can to dig up whatever information is in the SFI files on your old man. That includes stuff on his projects and I'll even throw in what I can on his last project. Most of it will still be classified, but I can give you some of the lesser encoded stuff without getting my neck under the axe. Think you can live with that?"

Rob looked back with a face of hesitation, “I suppose, it’s going to be a rough time though.” He thought back to the confrontation with Daeryx; it was a good thing Landon was much more stable than the other Trill.

"Well, that's part of the reason I want you to do it" Alistar said. "Being an officer means doing something about your mistakes. It's best to come clean with the guy now instead of letting him simmer on it until later. And while we're on it, sorry about the jaw. The knee too, but to be honest, I kinda blame you for that. But the jaw was me. I thought you might have some fight in ya so I decided to take you off guard. Sorry, but it almost always works"

Rob cracked a smile for the first time during their conversation, “It’s alright. It’s not the injury I’m worried about, it’s explaining it to the doc.”

Rob again propped himself up on the bed, though this time more successfully, “Thanks, for everything really. Sans the broken knee obviously but--” Rob reached out his hand to shake Alistar’s. “For the first time in years I actually know who my father was and what he did, even if what you said is only a ‘tidbit’, thank you.”

The End