Sending the Fox Into the Henhouse

Characters: Katia Santiago

The whirl of images continued to flash through Katia’s mind as she stood there, collecting herself, not quite sure what had happened. The total chaos she had felt and seen seemed to invade every corner of her mind and begged for release. It was too close to how she had felt not so long ago for her to just ignore it out of hand, and there was someone on the ship who seemed to want to destroy them. It took her another few moments to calm her mind and she stood up, turned and hurried down the hall in the direction the mystery man had taken. She had to find him, he had killed Maenier, and possibly wanted to kill them all.

As she came around the corner, she caught the flash of a cloak going into the lift as the doors closed swiftly. She had still not gotten a good look at who it was. The tumultuous emotions that had entered her mind along with the roiling images could not have been those of a sane mind, but there had been more to it. If she could just find out who he was. With that, she hurried to the nearest computer terminal and tried to access that lift’s last destination. The computer gave her nothing back except gibberish. Someone had accessed that particular program and made sure she couldn’t trace them. It had to be their mystery person, the one who had caused all the problems.

Whoever this person was, he was responsible for the murder of Maenier. Of that, she was certain. The image she had received was too clear and coherent to mean anything else. That had been one of the only clear things about the whole encounter. She had to find who it was and track them down and bring them to account for their actions. The only question was, how. She knew she did have to get in touch with Darquin, and notify him of the encounter, and also begin searching the ship for whatever it was that may have been planted there to destroy them all.

Katia tapped her link, “Santiago to Kordieh.”

“Kordieh here,” she heard on the other end of her link. Was that a touch of apprehension she heard in his voice? Katia shook herself, realizing she was jumping as shadows again. Kordieh was a trusted, if somewhat ambiguous, member of her Engineering staff. She knew she could trust him with this. Katia moved off into one of the smaller conference rooms off the hall from where she was standing so that they could talk in some semblance of privacy.

“I need you to do a deck by deck search of the upper decks of the ship to see if you can’t find anything out of the ordinary or unusual lurking about in our Engine network and hull superstructure. We need to get this done asap, I am concerned that whatever happened to Maenier may be about to happen again,” Katia said, alluding to the fact that they just may have a saboteur on board, without actually giving anything away to anyone who may be intercepting the transmission.

There was a large pause on the other end of the link, and it caused Katia to wonder what he was doing, but she forced her suspicions down, knowing he was someone she could trust in her department, but, there still remained that nagging feeling she couldn’t identify, maybe didn’t want to identify. “Understood, I will get right on it,” he answered swiftly, almost as if he were trying to get rid of her.

Katia nodded and closed, “Thank you, I will be expecting your report.” With that, she closed her link and moved back out into the hallway, slowly making her way toward the lounge where she could join the wake. She no longer felt like she was up to a celebration, but she also wanted to relieve some stress and relax while her competent staff took care of the problem. She almost wished she had contacted Miina for this job, but then wondered why. Kordieh was just as trusted as Miina was. Yet, there was still that nagging feeling.

As she finally made her way into the party, she had her defenses firmly in place and the thoughts of the others seemed like a distant humming in her mind. Her first order of business, though, as soon as she was finished here, was to contact Darquin in Security; and speak to him of her concerns at the moment, and what she saw. Who could that person have been? she wondered constantly to herself, trying to piece together her memory of the moment to identify whose mind she had touched so closely.

The Chief Engineer glanced around and saw several of those she knew among the crew mingling with the rest. She saw Kim, and Morgan, who gave her a look of utter dissatisfaction at seeing her here, and a few others. The Captain was there as well. It looked like a very good turnout, more than she had expected. It was turning out to be a very interesting gathering. There were people from every department there, many waiting to get up and talk, others waiting their turn to possible sing or play music. And, none of them knew of the evil that lurked among them. It was something that Katia alone carried with her now, and it weighed heavily on her shoulders, no matter how hard she tried to shrug it off, even temporarily, and enjoy the party.

Copyright (c) 1998 Tamara Friese. All rights reserved.


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