In light of the situation, and totally not at all due to panic, the Captain held a brief briefing in the briefing room with his senior officers, all of whom had regained consciousness, where he reviewed the situation, gave orders, and sat back to wait for them to heroically leap into action (which they eventually did).
Lt Benner and Lt Starrbon, Samuel L. Starrbon, beamed down with a squad of marines on a leash and a very sedate group of bomb squad marines (who are never enthusiastic about starting work for some reason) to the gaping maw of the dilithium mine, or at least one of the gaping maws. They all packed into the lift (which was FILTHY) and rode into the mine. Releasing the hounds, or marines in this case, they never-the-less took off at a rapid pace into the mine, going different directions, clearing fog of war on the Starfleet officer’s PADD as they went. Suddenly, we shifted our focus to….
Team 2, consisting of Commander C’Mara and Lt. Washington, along with the brave and noble Dalin 1st Tier Tathon, beamed down to the gaping maw of corporate headquarters. With a quick glance at each other, they steeled themselves for the horrors that no doubt lay within, and entered the plush facility. As expected, the plushness infestation was everywhere, though the heroic band did successfully ignore it’s siren call, instead focusing on the souless being residing behind the reception desk.
“We’re here to speak with…Densin Prut I believe it is”, spoke the bold, yet svelte C’Mara, 1st Officer and very big deal of the USS Endurance.
“Do you have an appointment?”, asked the corporate puppet and government worker. At this point Tathon spoke a few polite and kind words to the gentleman receptionist who quickly hurried to obey. Performing a brief summoning ritual, Mr. Receptionist (not his real name) waived over a security-ish person and gave him instructions to lead this resolute party of various races and aromas to the chambers of Densin Prut on pain of whatever corporate security shills are terrified of (probably not getting a full lunch break or something – who knows, they’re so inscrutable).
Ignoring the secretarial barrier Densin had erected outside his office, to much spluttering and dismay you may rest assured, they checked for traps and then burst into his office without even knocking, so brave and brazen were they.
“What’s the meaning of this?” demanded Densin, dumping his, um, assistant(?) from his lap as he stood up. The three quickly made their meaning clear and Densin gave up the location of the prize which they sought, somehow getting stunned by Tathon’s hand beam casting device thingy in the process. Much about this mythic confrontation is shadowy and may never be known.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, “I thought I told you to kill that thing.” “Aw, Pa!”
Meanwhile, back in the mine, the main group had found a central stopping point from which to monitor their ‘hounds’ as they ran through mines searching for explosives and not finding any nor anything else of interest, when SUDDENLY… the Endurance called and got a status update. Shortly after that one of the hounds, then another, and a couple of minutes later (no doubt just feeling left out) another reported seeing something ‘weird’. Capturing video of the event, then tormenting the poor captured video as marines are wont to do, they sent it to their Starfleet handlers for analysis.
The video showed what looked like a mass of hundreds of thousands of mechanical spiders about 8cm tall, all of whom were covered in something that resembled a clear gel that enveloped the mass of them entirely with room to spare. It was obvious that no one was getting any sleep that night. It was also obviously weird. The hounds were ordered to return, but the mass of spider goo with spiders de mechanical flowed past them and continued moving towards the central gathering of Starfleet officers and anti-explosive marines (those marines were really opposed to exploding).
About this time the ship lost contact with them, and fearing the worst, began preparations for a memorial service. Later when contact was reestablished this was laughed off as a drill. Coincidentally, the group in the mine also noticed that their contact with the surface and with the ship was cut, no doubt to the flow of spiders and goo overhead moving at a healthy clip towards the surface. Scans revealed the gel surrounding these ‘spiders’ to contain copious amounts of microscopic dilithium crystals. Turns out they were simply mining bots that had collected 100% of all dilithium deposits via the gel, brought it up from the depths where they deposited it into their rendering machinery to extract the dilithium, recrystallize it into useful size, and release the spiders for another cycle. The marines were inconsolable as they realized they would not get to shoot at the spiders.
That was when the surface party finally arrived at the cell of the prisoners they had come to rescue(?), having lethally dealt with all opposition en route to the location (there wasn’t any). The Ferrengi (former) Captain Daimon Zort and his (former) 1st officer Taar Meski both occupied a cell far underground beneath the Trakon Supplies HQ building and Governor’s Palace dual function building. Clearly, Trakon does a brisk business in miscellaneous imprisonment as all 26 cells had from 4-8 prisoners each in them – a bit crowded for a 6′ × 8′ cell. Even so, everyone knows that you always separate Ferrengi prisoners – never put them into the same cell together.
Having searched them ‘thoroughly’, the crack security team that Trakon employed still caught them no less than 4 times with contraband communication equipment, even though they searched the prisoners after every incident. This is likely why, when Lt. Shaw scanned them with her Starfleet issue tricorder they both lit up like an over-decorated hooyup tree at the Accumulation Festival. No less than twenty-three (23) separate gadgets were extracted from various locations on their bodies (the extraction video is horrid to watch, even if it did go viral).
After (and during) this extraction process the pair were questioned, briefed on the situation, and apparently the Daimon decided that it was time to cut and run, his 1st Officer agreeing with him, and he formally requested asylum for false imprisonment at the hands of the Cardassian Government. Oddly, Tathon agreed that this was an acceptable course of action, clearly proving that he was, in fact, Q in disguise.
After a quick consultation with Captain Gamble, the pair of Ferengi were brought on board the Endurance where they were subjected to every invasive procedure the full medical staff membership decided they needed some practice with. Burress stopped them short of full dissection and reconstruction procedures.
Now in possession of half of the puzzle, the First Officer’s team beamed down (again with mild marine support), passing the mine team on the way back from determining that the mine was not, in fact, going to explode and that the Ferengi were bluffing after all.
After beam down C’Mara, with Tathon’s help, quickly ascertained the location of Densin Prut in the facility’s medical facility. After a couple of polite Tathon questions it was discovered that Grutos Prut was being held in an isolation room nearby on suicide watch. The team quickly discovered his location, examined him (bound in his black and uncomfortable Cardassian straight jacket), notified the ship, then beamed him to the Endurance (still in the straight jacket, shouting obscenities and making demands to be released).
With this piece in place the Captain contacted the (new) Captain of the Ferengi vessel, Daimon Girn, to let him know that both the Governor and his former Captain were onboard the Endurance and invited him to beam over, with the Governor’s wife and children, to complete his negotiations. He accepted (with much creepy Ferengi glee).
Upon arrival, all were assembled in the ship’s Four Aft lounge for negotiation ceremonies. The Governor was released from his sheik fashion wear (the straight jacket) and reunited (coldly and formally) with his family. Tathon was there as well, having rapidly donned his best formal mullet and dress uniform (it’s nice to have people to dress you) and quietly overlooked the negotiations, as did Captain Gamble, for a time.
As the negotiations began to drag out, Captain Gamble made contact with Gul Krabel to let him know that things were under control, tensions were defusing, and could he please power down his weapons and un-target the Endurance. Gul Krabel declined. Could he please call off the inbound fleet from Atbar coming to glass the mine and a few hundred miles around it and also destroy the Endurance? No. And that was the end of the conversation.
We all pretended that tensions mounted as negotiations reached a crescendo and climaxed with 1.5 minutes to spare. I wasn’t really even close. The new Cardassian fleet arrived and took up station keeping around the Endurance, all parties beamed out to their respective destinations of choice, Daimon Zort and Taar Meski were unaware of proceedings as they basked in their guest quarters/the brig/wherever the hell they got stored, and Girn, it turned out, filed a brief in the local Cardassian court and the Federation consulate branch office on Atbar to have them remanded to his custody – the legalese made the bureaucrats weep at it’s beauty, though they didn’t authorize anything except a long lunch to discuss the waitresses various attributes and potential negotiation tactics revolving around the attributes topic.
That evening the Captain had the mess staff assemble the Captain’s Table (ostensibly a beige and purple oval with the Federation logo in the center of it, it’s actually a convoluted affair with all sorts of hidden buttons that activated gadgets of every imaginable dining function and which the enlisted personnel assigned to the task whined about incessantly) in the ship’s Four Aft Lounge. There many disgusting foods and beverages were served and sampled and tossed at each other later in the evening (when the booze had kicked in) and even Tathon joined (and tried to poison the lot of them with his Kaverall Silth, having his manservant Buva attend to everyone choosing to partake, but sadly poisoning no one).
The following morning, as the Captain enjoyed his first cup of steaming [ coffee? ] he found the following in his inbox:
TO: COMMANDER, USS ENDURANCE
FROM: COMMANDER, PEACEKEEPING GROUP 5
CC: COMMANDER, TASK FORCE 21
It is with some satisfaction that my Cardassian counterpart here read Tathon’s report on how he defused the situation at Taggrut. It seems he’s to be decorated for his actions in the affair. Oh, and it seems that the Endurance provided some minor assistance with a few trivial details and provided a barely adequate meeting facility for him to assist the Ferengi and Trakon Supplies to hammer out their new agreement.
Apparently some of your personnel were a bit rough with the Governor’s Uncle but he’s graciously not asking that charges be pressed at this time and has, how was it put, oh yes, talked his superiors down from any legal actions.
The gloating should last for the rest of the week – they haven’t had many victories.
As per my orders from Admiral Koderman’s offices, you will proceed to Atbar and there drop off your “passengers” for processing at the Federation Consulate Branch Office despite Cardassian claims that they are to be considered terrorists for their bomb threat of infrastructure vital to the well-being of the Union. While there take care of any details needed and then get back to setting that buoy field ASAP, it’s not going to set itself you know.
That bit with the ‘merchant’ indicating that the agreement that started this whole affair from from True Way operatives is most interesting. Kudos Captain.