"Fools and their Follies"
[Previous post "Finding a Flaw"]

Setting: MASQUERADE DREAMS, Deck 23, Corridor
Stardate: 30153.0540

Something had not been right. Uxtar had not heard or seen anything out of the ordinary during his early morning rounds, but he knew that something had happened.  Humanoids referred to such a sensation as a sixth sense, but the Hirogen called it nothing more than what it was: a hunter’s instinct.  That he had received a message requesting his *urgent* presence to a passenger room that he knew belonged to one of the undercover officers of the ANUBIS had sealed the matter. What he needed now was to know what exactly had happened and how he would be called to assist.

The maintenance staff member straightened his uniform before he knock at the door labeled 23-089. Whatever the situation may have been, the Hirogen still needed to play his part for the sake of keeping his true objective a secret from everyone else.  Having received an invitation to enter, Uxtar did just that and quickly closed the door behind him.

“You called for someone from maintenance?” the Hirogen said, his tone perfectly professional.

“You can relax Uxtar,” the dark haired pale skinned woman offered.  “The room is secured.  We need your help in dealing with a situation as quickly and quietly as possible, but before I tell you more you will need this.”

As a hypospray was brought close to his neck, the Hirogen quickly moved and grabbed hold of the woman’s wrist.  Although it had been well within his strength to snap her limb with little effort, Uxtar simply held it as he glared at the woman to whom it belonged.

“It’s a subdermal communicator,” Commander Shar’El explained, not appreciating having to explain herself at this time. “We need everyone to be in contact and out of each other’s way.”

“My apologies,” the hunter said as he released the woman’s arm and turned his head away, offering his neck to the undercover Executive Officer.

Immediately following the sound of the implantation, Commander Shar’El took a step back before speaking. “Two of our officers, Doctor Lillie Doyanne and Ensign Jayson Stark have been taken hostage by the man who is responsible for the earlier bombing attempt.”

“I knew something was wrong, I sensed a disturbance through the ship,” the hunter said as he rubbed his neck, not out of pain or discomfort but rather to insure that the small device had been able to be pushed through the Hirogen’s thick skin.

=^= What is he, a Jedi? =^= the quick witted Chief Engineering Officer commented, showing by the same act that the communicator had indeed been working.
“I am guessing that their communicators have been somehow disabled or you would not have asked me here,” Uxtar continued having understood that time had been an issue.

“You know the MASQUERADE DREAMS and can access areas that we cannot without having people asking too many questions,” Shar’El explained. “We need you to help us locate our people so that we can get them out before it is too late.”
“Too late? Please explain.” the Hirogen said.

“Captain Morningstar initiated Shadow Protocol,” the woman sitting on the bed and surrounded by countless PADDs said, her eyes never stopping their search for information that could prove useful.

The Hirogen’s eyes opened wide. Never would he have expected anyone to be so bold as to call for such drastic measures so quickly, but then again it had been a while since Uxtar had been in a situation where the safety of the entire federation rested on the actions of a few people.  After having overcome the shock, the hunter took in a short breath and straightened his work uniform once again.  “I will see what I can find out and will keep you informed.”
“Yes you will,” Commander Shar’El said, adding a smirk as she touched her neck reminding the Hirogen of the communication device that had been implanted and that would insure that he would follow the progress of all their efforts as they occurred.

Setting: MASQUERADE DREAMS, Lower Decks
Stardate: 30153.0600

The hunter moved quickly through the conduit filled narrowed corridors of the lower decks, searching for the man and his prisoners. The rest of the undercover team could handle the public desks, so it had been his responsibility to search the lower decks for any sign of the missing officers.  The thrill of the hunt would have normally been more than enough to push Uxtar to perform to his very best, but the knowledge that the Shadow Protocol had been called had focused the Hirogen’s thoughts even more.

Under the parameters of this protocol a great many lives were at stake, including his own, so there had been no reason to accept any sort of excuse to delay what he needed to do. As large as the MASQUERADE DREAMS was, there were only a few locations that the Hirogen knew of that would permit anyone to hold hostages while remaining well hidden from everyone else. Given the urgency of the situation, Uxtar figured that those had been the best possible places to begin his hunt.

Mark Hutchings

Lieutenant JG Uxtar
Currently on an undercover mission

[Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.]