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Just a Few Questions Part 1/2

Posted on Sat Aug 6th, 2022 @ 4:59pm by Captain Cronin Keys [GM] & 2nd Lieutenant Christian Rogers
Edited on on Sat Aug 6th, 2022 @ 5:01pm

Mission: Mission 1: A New World
Location: Interrogation Room, Brig Level, Pioneer
Timeline: After "Evidence in Plain View"

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"Captain Keys," Rogers said as he stormed his way through the corridors. "I'm on my way to the interrogation room to discuss my team's findings on the Malon freighter. You wanted to be informed."

=/\= "Thank you. On my way," =/\= Cronin replied.

Some Time Later

Cronin walked into the interrogation room inside the Security Office. He found that Rogers was waiting for him. "Report on your team's findings Lieutenant," he stated not caring that the Malon Controller, aka Captain, was seated with no restraints as they weren't necessary for there were guards standing in the corners of the room behind the Malon.

"Yes, Captain," Rogers said as he held a PaDD in one hand. "We found everything. Just as the other two told us. It seems their desire to take the deal and be returned to Malon space instead of to the Talaxians or Benthans was sincere. Plus," Rogers said, hoping Keys would be able to understand the role of this subterfuge, "they just don't seem to like their captain much. They're willing to state that he's responsible for everything. The bombmaking, the bombings, the acts of terrorism against the Benthans, Talaxians and others." He spoke in a normal, unhurried tone as if giving a weather report.

"What business is it of yours, Starfleet nuisance." The Malon Controller growled, though his demeanor remained neutral, "you have no claim to any space in this quadrant- Foreigners! You should leave."

The Malon's face finally registered with Cronin as Controller Vrelk, though slightly older and a few more radiation sores on the face, from Captain Janeway's logs. He recalled that Vrelk was the Controller of the Malon Export Vessel that attempted to steal Voyager's multi-spatial probe when it got stuck in a gas giant. Clearly this hostility towards them stemmed from that encounter.

"Vrelk is it?" Cronin asked lengthening out the name though continued. "It seems that your people have begun using your waste to attack other races. That becomes a problem for us as one of those races are our allies." He stated. "You have a visitor from the Benthans here to arrest you as well, your ship is under our control and crew in our brig. It seems that you are in no position to negotiate morality or claims to space. Oh which you do not own either I'd like to point out." He grinned.

Now his face screwed up in anger, Vrelk growled again, though he'd been defeated again by Starfleet and he knew it. He sighed and didn't speak again.

Cronin glanced over at Rogers a little disappointed that Vrelk didn't seemed to want to resist any further then turned back. "Controller Vrelk, you will tell us all about your bombmaking and any other Controllers who are conducting terrorism?"

"And why should I? I see no benefit in telling you anything as you will simply give me, my ship and crew to the Talaxians or Benthans for Judgement or death, so unless you are going to help me. I will not help you." Vrelk said, he leaned back in the chair, his hazard suit somewhat awkwardly not allowing the Malon to sit comfortably.

This made Cronin freeze slightly, he just stared at Vrelk with slightly narrowed eyes. Clearly he was thinking on this and what to do next.

"Well, Captain," Rogers said. "Seems to me that we should turn Vrelk and the others over to the Benthans. As he said, they will probably institute a death penalty for acts of terrorism against their people." Rogers shrugged. "I know what you're going to say, Captain, and I agree that we have an alliance with the Talaxians and we did capture the Malon in the immediate action of attacking the Ambassador, but just to turn them over to Talaxian 'justice'?" here he spoke the last words as if he had a complete disdain for them. "They'll probably get just a slap on the wrist and forced to turn over control of their remaining ship. Plus, who knows if the Talaxians will even honor an extradition request from the Benthans. Do they even have diplomatic relations yet?"

Rogers shrugged again. "I mean, the only benefit there is that it'll give us time to gather more evidence against the Malon and find the real mastermind behind these attacks. I happen to agree with the crew making deals - this one," he hooked a thumb in Vrelk's direction, "doesn't have the mental capacity to engineer and mastermind these attacks against the Benthans. But I still say we turn over those who cooperated to the Talaxians and this one - the alleged ringleader - to the Benthans. I'm sure their "interview" techniques will get necessary information from him before they carry out sentence."

Vrelk smiled. "It's not that simple. Unless I check in with my superiors in the next day or so, there will be more of my people coming to look for me and my crew. Not just export vessels but defense vessels as well, the Talaxian's new world will be taken or dumped on, I can't say which my superiors will decide to do." The Malon's smiled turned into a feral grin. "Release me, my crew and my ship and I will arrange for no more exports to this area of space once I return home, safely."

Taken? Cronin repeated in his head, the Malon conquer worlds now? He raised one eyebrow. It seems that the Malon may have improved their intelligence since Voyager's last encounter with them, or it could be a minority. Without Starfleet Strategic Intelligence Service looking into this Cronin was now in a limited options situation. He'd let them know to investigate after this meeting.

Though suddenly the Benthans came to mind, they may not simply sit by and let Vrelk escape, Cronin wondered if the Malon Controller recalled they were waiting to take him, his crew and ship into their custody. Unfortunately if he mentioned them again Vrelk will most likely demand protection from them. Great! Cronin thought as he turned to Rogers and shrugged before turning back to Vrelk.

"Oh and Captain, the Ambassador attacked us. We weren't near their new world." Vrelk stated before Cronin could reply. "We warned them not to fire as you know what happens when weapons fire interacts with Theta Radiation. We were unaware of any claims to the area, if the Ambassador simply requested us to leave... we would have done so."

Oh that was an utter lie, Cronin felt though it was a little difficult to be sure as this would be the first time a Betazoid had felt Malon feelings and considering that the Pioneer wasn't there to have seen the start of this mess Cronin couldn't simply dismiss this claim. Though he recalled the timeframe for check in Vrelk mentioned allowed Cronin to smile. "Is that so? I will have to confirm with the Ambassador and both ships' communications logs. It shouldn't take more then a few hours to do so," he said and gestured for Rogers to follow him out of the room.

Rogers shook his head but held his thoughts to himself. He gave the Malon a look before following Keys out of the room.

Outside Interrogation Room, in Security Office

Though he appeared calm, anger was emanating off Cronin as he walked across the office to the display and was about to punch the display. The security officer on duty quickly stepped in front of the display. "Please sir, don't break the screen." Though it was a little sheepish as they were addressing the Captain.

Cronin stepped back in surprise and while the anger was still there, it had dropped a degree. He coughed and lowered his hand, "Ah, yes, apologies." An emotional CO was not an effective CO, Cronin recalled from his training. He knew he had to let Vrelk, his crew and their 'export vessel' go, it was too much of a risk not to believe the Controller's words.

The Talaxians were only starting their colonization of the world nearby and in no shape to defend it without Starfleet assistance. He wasn't aware if they had relations with the Benthans as Rogers brought up earlier and what's worse the Benthans were still waiting. Who knew how long they would wait for.

Rogers once again kept his thoughts to himself. The display their commanding officer just gave in front of the enlisted brig officer was out of line and uncalled for - as the commanding officer there were expectations from the lower decks as to the CO's behavior. Could he say that he never lost his temper in front of his own men? He could not in truth. But then again, he was never the CO of a ship. But, it was just another thing to add to his list of grievances against the man.

He needed to confer with Rogers more on this. He glanced over at the Security Officer who bravely nearly took a punch. "Thank you," he said with a smile. Though the officer blinked a few times, clearly not understanding why they were being thanked. Cronin chuckled a little at the dumbfounded expression. "You helped me calm down, much appreciated," Cronin explained.

The officer nodded with a small smile in return.

"Give us the room," Rogers said, quietly.

"Lieutenant?" the brig officer asked, confused.

Rogers held the sigh - there were still 'cultural' differences between he and the Fleeter crew. "Go grab a cup of coffee or something from the replicator while the captain and I converse without eavesdropping ears." He spoke in a flat tone but his glare at the young man indicated his displeasure at having to explain himself.

"Sir," the crewman said.

Rogers grabbed his arm as he went to pass, then muttered in his ear - "One word of gossip about anything said or done here today and I shall be very...unhappy." Rogers turned to glare at the crewman once more. "Understood?"

"Yes, sir," the crewman said, swallowing. Rogers let him go and waited for the door to close behind him before he turned back to Keys. "Captain?"

TO BE CONTINUED

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