Star Trek Hunter
Episode 23: JAG Wars
Scene 1: The Prodigal Sum Returns
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23.1
The Prodigal Sum Returns
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"I nearly threw up. I don't know what you were doing to make people in that courtroom nauseous, but it was almost more than I could handle." The ancient former appellate justice found her way to a plush chair in the forward lounge of the R.R.C. Prodigal Sum and sank tiredly into it. An elderly romulan woman brought her a cup with heavy red steam cascading over the side.

"Hot bolian flat-salt baker's water. Not exactly a delight for any non-bolian palate, but it should make your stomach feel better."

"Bless you, Pivin…" The ancient Chinese woman took a sip, shuddered.

"Do not sip it. Drink it. All of it," said Pivin. "The ingredient that tastes bad is the part that's good for your stomach."

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Only two meters away, the flight cabin was open to the forward lounge. A short but enormously obese, bearded bajoran got up from the pilot's seat and stretched. "We are now leaving Vulcan space and entering the Neutral Zone," said Pomm Irons. "I have to say I am really impressed with the upgrade to our cloaking system. These last few weeks I've been able to spot cloaked warbirds, passed within meters of them and they never had a clue I was there. We were parked almost exactly on top of that navel administration building – right inside their shields and they didn't have a clue."

"Which explains how we were able to beam you out," continued a cardassian woman, still seated at the tactical station in the flight cabin. "The romulans knew there was no way to beam you out of a shielded facility. What they didn't know was that Pivin had reprogrammed the facility's defense mechanism to extend its shield parimeter around our yacht. We were just beaming you from one area to another within a shielded facility," Oarama Irons concluded.

"What about the nausea? And all those changes with my voice? And the building shaking?"

"More smoke and mirrors," said Pomm, taking a lounge chair and pouring himself a brown, grainy-looking drink. "The sound effects were simple – hooking your internal communicator into the room's sound system. I added some suggestive white noise at a very low level – subliminal. As for the nausea, you were lucky to be at the lowest level of the room. Most of the audience was a least a meter above you, so they aspirated a lot more of the hallucinogen than you did. And then there was the coup-de-grace… I extended a static warp shell around the building and phased it in and out – which will definitely mess with your gimbals – imagine subspace inside your molecules changing shape... I kept cranking the phase shift variance until the shearing edge started to shake the building's foundation. They're going to need some repair work…"

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Pivin the Betrayer brought the ancient another glass, this time filled with a sparkling fluid with a bit of a light green color to it. "Have some springwine, Minerva. It should wash away the foul taste from the baker's water without upsetting your stomach."

"It's Shiva now, Pivin. I am leaving my old life behind and beginning a new one."

Oarama Irons looked over her shoulder at her grandmother. "You were serious about all that 'Terror of the Innocents' stuff?"

"Yes. And please get my new titles right, in case you are called upon to assist in spreading my, um… …propaganda." Shiva looked carefully at Pivin. "Your hands…"

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Pivin sat on the arm of the plush chair Shiva was relaxed into. She spread her fingers – her hands side-by-side. They did not match at all. The fingers of her left hand were short, strong, hardened with work and wrinkled with age. Her right hand looked as though it belonged on a much younger woman. The fingers were long and shapely, sensitive. Her right hand was significantly longer and not quite as wide or thick as her left. It was also darker in color - less green and more tan than the rest of her skin.

"It is a transplant," Pivin said. "My donor was a vulcan, which shows just how compatible vulcans and romulans are. Interestingly, my donor was a master of the lyrette, which is primarily played with the right hand. And now I have that ability. I am not the master that she was, but I am learning more each day. I feel I owe her that much."

"None of which tells me why you have a vulcan's right hand," Shiva rejoined.

"I was posing as an IIC agent," Pivin replied. "Not too great a challenge considering that I used to be one for nearly 50 years. Imperial Intelligence Control manages agent access to their computer system by embedding a key into the wrist of each agent's dominant hand. I arranged to have my arm amputated when they were getting close to finding me. If they had found me before I removed the implant they would have released the poison in the implant. I uploaded as much information as I could to Pomm while my doctor was watching a readout that showed how close their tracking system was to finding me. When it hit a pre-determined value – about five seconds – he amputated. Fortunately, he had access to the organ donation network and was able to provide me a replacement."

"And your donor?" asked Shiva.

"Suicide. Her husband was among the Star Fleet officers who died with Vice Admiral Senvol protecting Starbase 18," said Pivin. "There were a lot of suicides immediately following the Fall of Vulcan. Almost all of them vulcans – very few humans and no hybrids." Pivin took a deep breath. Her expression became more serious. "Now you have to tell me what you plan to do to the romulans of Saketh."

"Save them." Shiva sighed heavily. "They know, intellectually, that their world is doomed. But they don't understand it in their bones. I have a very short time to drive that lesson home to them. And it won't be a pleasant lesson. Without it, they will bicker and delay and eventually flee that world and Saketh will die and the empire will starve. And the romulan people will die by the billions. Famine. War. Gamma radiation."

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"We are now station keeping at the provided coordinates," said Oarama. She got up and strolled into the forward lounge.

"Please allow me to be your grandmother for one more moment. Oarama, Pomm, Pivin, I have one more assignment that I want you to do for me…" Shiva got unsteadily to her feet. She embraced Pivin first, then Pomm, then, finally her mostly cardassian granddaughter.

"What do you want us to do?" asked Pomm.

"Retire," Shiva said without missing a beat. "Fade into the woodwork. Give the family a large number of children and let Pivin be a grandmother to them." She held up her hand as it appeared Pomm was about to speak. "Ah! Listen to me, Pomm. The Irons family needs your genetics. The stuff that makes you the brilliant, devious little operative you have reliably been these past 15 years. And in the very unlikely case that I manage to return I would very much like to see Pivin again, alive and with at least three of her original limbs."

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Shiva stepped away from her three companions and looked up. "I am ready. Energize."

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Oarama made a disappointed noise as a transporter beam removed Shiva from the Prodigal Sum.

Pomm wrapped a heavy arm around his wife's shoulders. "She never was one for long good-byes."

"Tell that to Sela," Pivin observed, earning a dry chuckle from her two companions.

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