A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

A Thing or Two About Loyalty, Part I

In attendance: Admiral Mitchell, Commander Bom, Commander Arnet, Commander Jordan, Commander Tora, Commander Fuller, First Lt. Melina, First Lt. Rollands, Nurse Ceja, Ensign Aklar, Ensign Hunter, Ensign Elya

Fifteen days after the encounter at Targ's Arse--and the crew's detour to 18th Century Russia (TEM: Indistinguishable from Magic, Parts I-III)--the Potemkin is assigned to follow up on Wesley Crusher's lead that the Orion pirate and possible terrorist Ard Jarikar is hiding out on Altair IV. A Starfleet Intelligence officer in a nearby system, Bill Tankersley, has recently gone missing, and Starfleet expects his disappearance and Jarikar's reported proximity have something to with each other.

While a Potemkin away team beams down to the surface of Boses--a wretched hive of scum and villainy if there ever was one--Warp, Arnet, Jordan, Rollands, and Hunter entertain two more Starfleet Intelligence officers on board the Potemkin. One is a Zakdorn named Zeldon Hyt, come to learn more about the Targ's Arse defenses. The other, predictably, is a member of Starfleet's Temporal Investigations Office, a Benzite named Benten, come to investigate the circumstances behind the Potemkin crew's trip to the past. They are being shown a visual replica of what the Indefatigable and the Tiber went through in Targ's Arse, using the "magic" of Holodeck One.

Down on Boses, the away team finds Tankersley's safehouse wiped clean--which Tora and Fuller, the Potemkin's resident Black Ops men, note can mean only one of two things: Tankersley's cover has been blown and he has gone to ground, or he's been captured or killed. With no other leads, the away team tries the local tavern--what most reasonable people might call "a dive."

On the Potemkin, Warp and company walk Hyt through the Targ's Arse traps. Hyt is interested in the science as well as the mentality behind it, but Benten, the Temporal Agent, remains mum.

In the dive bar, the away team splits up. Bom and Ceja make for the Dom-jat tables. Aklar sidles up to the bar. Fuller, Tora, and Melina move off in another direction, trying to get a handle on the other patrons of the bar. Bom puts money down to play the next Dom-jat game, and he and Ceja not-so-subtly hint that they are looking for Tankersley. The Dom-jat players don't bite--or don't know anything. At the bar, Aklar is served what passes for Andorian Ale in this establishment, and learns from the bartender that Tankersley was a regular there until recently, when he suddenly stopped coming in. "You could always ask the girl, I suppose," he tells Aklar.

Fuller, meanwhile, has located another human in the bar with his tricorder. He draws close to the person, but loses the human in the bustle of the bar, unwilling to blow his cover by using his tricorder. Father down the bar, Tora and Mel share a private moment--and a small kiss--while playing the part of a couple. After Fuller reports the presence of another human to Commander Bom, the Bolian slides down the bar to Tora and Mel, on the pretext of selling them some self-sealing stem bolts, only to learn he's interrupted a moment.

Back on the Potemkin, the simulations progress. When Warp comes to the part about The Traveler Wesley Crusher's appearance, however, the Benzite Temporal Agent comes to life. He's skeptical of the crew's claims that Crusher achieved their time jump with math, and begins to pepper the team with the usual temporal agent questions: Were they not worried about damaging the time line? Are they sure they did nothing that would disrupt the present? Have they notices anything wrong since they got back? The Potemkin crew patiently answer all the Temporal Agent's questions, assuring him they did everything they could to limit damage to the timestream--while most certainly repairing greater damage that had already been done or would have happened.

On Boses, the away team discovers the human again, though somewhat separately. Tora finds her with his optical implant, Ceja with her scanner, Fuller with the naked eye. Fuller gives chase, causing a disturbance that everyone in the bar notices, and individually and in groups the away team makes its way outside. Fuller easily chases down the human--a woman--and holds her until the away team can converge in a nearby alley. There, they realize they know the woman--she is Nicole Cervanny, who most recently had led the Potemkin crew on a wild goose chase to Farallon IV under the pretext of taking them to a Wotal insurgent base. (TEM: "In My World") Cervanny claimed to have information regarding the whereabouts of Tankersley, which she promised to share--under the condition that the Potemkin crew let her go afterward.

While the rest of the away team tried (unsuccessfully) to get information out of Cervanny, Commander Bom called Admiral Mitchell to update him on the situation--and Cervanny's offer. Overhearing Cervanny's name, both Hyt and Benten demanded she be detained at once. Warp, bristling at being told what to do, nonetheless ordered Bom to apprehend Cervanny and bring her aboard the Potemkin.

There, meeting with Cervanny in a conference room overlooking the Potemkin's elegant warp nacelles, Admiral Mitchell listened to Cervanny's story. Two humans, surviving together in a hostile place--it sounded like a bad holonovel, Cervanny admitted, but the two had made a connection. Despite that, she still was unwilling to give up what information she had, even if it would save him, until Warp promised her she would go free. Her personal motives still unclear, it was still generally believed that her intention was to somehow go back in time and "restore" the timeline to one more familiar to her.

After ordering Hyt and Benten out--under protest--Admiral Mitchell made Cervanny a take-it or leave-it offer: "We'll let you go, but only after we've verified your information, and after Hyt and Benten have been given an opportunity to talk with you for at least an hour." Warp acknowledged the decision would raise hell--and might even cost him his commission--but he was willing to try once more with Cervanny. Seeing she had little alternative that ended with her going free, Nicole Cervanny shook hands with the Admiral. It was a deal.

"Well then," Cervanny said finally, "I suppose I should give you some information. Have you tried the moon?"

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