The Honey Trap
Location: Confiscated Ship "Ariadne"/ Carnwennan Station
Timeline: After "Suspicions"
[Admiral Milne's Office]
Audra stood in front of Ensign Green and Lieutenant Commander Squall, watching both officers with a look of concern. There was a heavy silence in the air as no one present was saying a word. Audra already had the answer she needed; she knew who was working for Section 31. Green and Squall had been asked separately to speak with Shae and Cailus, knowing one of them would attempt to make contact on behalf of Section 31. The set up had worked, but not in the way Audra had expected.
"So." She began, causing Green and Squall to noticeably stiffen with her curt tone. "We have a problem."
"Sir, I have no idea what Ensign Green has been doing but I must protest this subterfuge!" Squall insisted, having not lost her officiousness at all.
Green snorted, arms uncomfortably held behind her back, "She's clearly talking to you, Squall."
The Lieutenant Commander turned to the junior officer and shot her a withering stare. "How dare you insinuate I have betrayed my Starfleet allegiance!? Especially after what I just witnessed. This is insubordination!"
"Enough." Milne hissed. "Luckily for us all, I know what really happened."
[Quarters - Half an Hour Earlier]
Ensign Green was the first to approach the Brennan-Griffin quarters, looking around her with trepidation as she approached. There were two guards on duty watching the quarters still and Green had to show her ID and work permit to be allowed to approach the doorway. She took in a breath and tapped at the door chime.
Little did she know, the people she was "visiting" were several lightyears away. The Ariadne, as Shae had christened the craft, was immobile in the interstellar void, every bit of its power and computer resources dedicated to the task. Subspace communications weren't normally a problem, but they were attempting something rather more complicated: telepresence across space, so that Shae and later Cailus could mentally control holographic representations of themselves back at Carnwennan. It was entirely risk-free for Shae and Cailus; they had even taken advantage of a nearby nebula to mask their transmission, making it virtually impossible for anyone to find the small ship. It was, however, a supremely complicated endeavour. While Cailus still suffered the indignity of losing his rank, he had at least taken advantage of no longer being an oficer to give Admiral Milne some rather sharp words about his opinion of the whole affair.
It didn't make a lick of difference; Milne was still in charge, and Shae at least was still subject to her orders. It had felt very good, though.
Onboard the Ariadne, Cailus gently lowered the telepresence controller (which, to general bemusement, looked an awful lot like an ornate tiara) on Shae's head. Still standing, he checked some readings and made some small adjustments, wishing profusely that he'd been given more than some truncated training back at Carnwennan about operating the device. The children were both napping, giving their parents time for this most strange of assignments.
"We're all set, and we have a strong connection to the receiver on Carnwennan," Cailus said, glancing at Shae. "Ready? This will be a strange one."
"At least I won't have to risk getting up close and personal with an operative," Shae said, then settled in for the link. "Ready."
The next thing she knew, she was in their quarters on Carnwennan and someone had just rang the chime, perfect timing. Shae quickly strode over to the door and opened it.
"Hello? Oh, Ensign Green, how can I help you?"
Green held up her small toolbox with faint shrug, "I'm here to fix your Replicator. We've had reported faults in this area."
"Then by all means, come on in," Shae said, letting the Ensign in. "I haven't had any problem with the replicator, but there's no harm in checking."
"Gotta do the checks." Green replied as she stepped forward. She made a quick glance around the room to see who else was around, finding it empty. "You know they like to dish out the grunt work to the young officers."
"It's all part of paying your dues, and when you're a Lieutenant, you'll do the same to the new Ensigns," Shae said with a smile. "Just don't be mean about it when you get to that point," she reminded her.
"Yeah I know a few mean ones." She commented, thinking of Squall with derision. Making her way over to the replicator, Green opened up the access panel and took out her diagnostic tri-corder. She got to work scanning the internal compartments. "If yours does have a fault, I want to get it fixed quick. Nothing worse than a broken replicator when it's time to feed the family, right?"
"Few things could match that," Shae said with a chuckle. "I do appreciate the hard work, Ensign," she then said, then moved to sit down on the couch, watching the Ensign as she worked.
Green took a few moments to fiddle with the connections to the biomimetic gel packs. After a pause, she continued, "It's quiet right now though, is everyone else out?"
"Cailus took our daughter for a walk, the baby is asleep," Shae answered quickly. "Just trying to enjoy the moment of silence while I can."
"Of course." Green nodded. She looked down at her toolbox, staring inside of it. "I heard you had a hard day at the tribunal."
"Ah, yes," Shae replied awkwardly, not yet comfortable talking about the ruling to a stranger. "It was certainly a rough day."
Green nodded, "Well..." She started, then let it drift off into nothing.
"'Well' what, Ensign?" Shae said, feeling more than a little slighted by the girl. "'Well, we deserved it'? 'We went rogue so we had it coming' is that what you mean to say?"
Green stopped and looked around, there was a brief moment of annoyance until she put on a more placid expression. "I don't really know what happened, Lieutenant. Just whispers. I heard..." She lowered her tone, "That Section 31 were involved?"
Shae stiffened. "Where did you hear that?"
"Who else could pull off a kidnapping like that?" Green shrugged, turning back to the replicator. "On a station like this with every Starfleet security enhancement? You have to know what you're doing."
Well she had a point there... "What else do you know of Section 31?" Shae asked curiously, watching the girl with some suspicion.
"As much as everyone else." Green replied, looking down at her toolbox. "I know they don't care about people. People are just weapons to them. Useable, but dispensable. Wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes, I would, actually," Shae replied, her suspicions growing. "But the fact of the matter is that the organization is far more complex than that. You'd best stay away from them."
"So you have experience then?" Green asked, still staring ahead at the replicator but she was no longer pretending to fix it. "With 31?"
"You could say that," Shae said, looking away in shame.
Green felt the words bubbling up in her mind, her feelings starting to surge. Before she could think, she was saying it. "I guess that explains why you act like them. Full of secrets. People don't matter." She huffed, looking down at her tools. "Best stayed away from."
"That's enough, Ensign," Shae said, feeling her stomach churn. "Everyone has secrets; I'm sure you have a secret or two that you wouldn't want anyone to know. Don't be so quick to judge."
The Ensign let out a bellowing laugh. "I do have secrets, Lieutenant. But mine are fuelled only by justice."
"Get out!" Shae barked at the girl. "Get out now before I call Security and have you removed!"
Green stood, pulling two objects of her tool set. As she turned around to face Brennan, she could see that one was a hypospray, and the other was a large cerated knife. "Do you really not recognise me, Lieutenant? Has it really been that long since you've seen his face?"
Shae went still. Even knowing that she was just a hologram to Green, seeing the weapon in her hand made Green dangerous. "I've seen a lot of faces, Ensign, and if you think you're acting out of some sort of justice, then think again, it will only lead to more pain."
"I owe you pain." Green seethed, looking at her enemy with fire in her eyes. "For ruining my brother's life. He had such potential, a great officer in the making. He would've been Captain one day, I know. But then he stepped foot on the Pandora and all that changed." As she said the ship's name, she pointed the knife accusingly at Shae. "You people failed him. Your husband failed to protect him. And now he's dead because of that ship!"
"Tell me, what was your brother's name?" Shae asked gently.
She sneered, "Has there been so many deaths that you would not know by now? Figures. His name was Dorian Rochester."
"Oh no..." Shae said sympathetically. "Maybe we did fail to protect him, but Green, your brother's case was complicated."
"Complicated? Please. The Pandora killed him." She spat back. "Don't bother trying to talk me down, Lieutenant, I have waited far too long for this." She took a step forward. "Changed my name, some bio data, then I just had to be patient. I knew your damned ship would come through Carnwennan eventually. I didn't plan on you two showing up by yourselves, that was a gift." She shrugged, "I had been trying to figure out how I'd get to you, and then one day on the Bridge, another gift. I saw the oxygen recycler was corrupted, a device attached from the maintenance shaft. It was all there on my console and I knew it was them. Section 31 coming to take you away." She smiled. "So I waited. Saw the gas infiltrating the holodeck, kept silencing the preliminary alerts. I waited until that idiot Squall took her head out of her ass long enough to notice something was wrong, but I knew it was too late either way. They'd already gotten to you, right?"
"But then you came back. You people always survive, I'm sure at someone else's expense." Green hissed with disdain. "So I decided to go a little old school on this one. No phasers, no tech, those can be traced. Just a good old fashioned sedative and a knife. Of course, I was hoping to get Griffin first, seeing as he was Chief of Security, but maybe walking in and seeing his loved one brutally murdered will be a poetic justice?" She moved forward once more, "Oh. And try not to scream too much."
It was at this point that Shae ripped off the telepresence controller, disrupting the hologram that Green saw.
"WHAT?" Green shouted. She had lunged forward with the hypospray, only for Shae to simply blink out of existence. She turned around on the spot, wondering if her target had just leapt out of reach for a moment. She did a full 360 spin before realising she was alone in the room and Shae had disappeared. She couldn't comprehend at first how someone could do that, "HOW?!" She cried in her mad rage.
Suddenly the doors opened and Lieutenant Commander Squall arrived, with her toolbox in hand as well. She saw Green standing in the middle of the Brennan-Griffin quarters with a large knife and hypospray, looking confused and enraged.
"Ensign Green!" Squall shouted, dropping her tools on the floor. The security officers flooded into the room with phaser rifles draw - immediately targeting Green. Seeing the same situation that Squall had just walked in on, they didn't hesitate.
"Wait - !" Green tried to cry out before she was shot twice with the phasers, stunning the young woman immediately. She fell backwards onto the floor, collapsing in a heap.
Squall looked to the officers and gripped her chest, hoping to relieve the panic, "Thank you! We better get her to the Brig."
Panting through a wave of nausea, Shae looked at Cailus. "That girl is crazy! She wants to kill us!"
Having watched the entire conversation, Cailus looked disgusted, sitting in the copilot's seat. "Apparently. Lucky for us that she's so bad at it. Damn, what a mess." He tapped at his console. "Milne got everything. She should have them in custody soon. That girl needs help. A lot of help."
As sickened as she was by Green's attempt on her life, that wasn't what was really bothering Shae. "Was she right? Do I act like them? Do I give off an air of secrets that ward people away from me?"
Cailus looked at Shae with surprise before he shook his head. "No. No, not at all." He sighed, then went to Shae and crouched down in front of her, taking her hands and looking her in the eye. "You don't act like them because you aren't like them. You're sweet and kind and loving, a mother, a wife, a scientist, an officer. Fiercely Irish, even if you can't hold your drink at all. Green looks at you and sees secrets because she's too young and too broken to recognise that they aren't secrets at all. They're demons. There's a difference, and everyone who matters knows it."
"Thank you, love," Shae said as she held her husband and desperately fought the urge to cry, knowing full well that they still had one more interview to do...
Cailus smiled faintly, rising up to his feet and kissing Shae's forehead affectionately, but an insistent beeping from the comms made it clear that they weren't done. With considerable reluctance, Cailus let Shae go and took the telepresence controller, settling it over his own head. As unpleasant as Shae's conversation with Green had been, she was clearly no Section 31 agent. That inevitably left the other one, Lieutenant Commander Squall. Cailus sat back down, looking profoundly uncomfortable but full of resolve nevertheless.
"Do it," he said to Shae.
The feeling of suddenly being shifting to another place was jarring. Cailus could still smell the inside of Ariadne, even the scent of Shae's shampoo, but his eyes and ears had transitioned to a room on Carnwennan. Cailus experimented with controlling his holographic body, marveling at how exact it was, before looking around. Just as planned he was in the quarters they had briefly lived in to see that in short order, the place had descended into chaos, armed security officers in the room with their rifles aimed squarely at an unconscious Green.
Fortunately everyone's backs were turned, while Cailus had popped in directly in front of the bathroom. Thinking fast, he activated the bathroom door behind him, as if he'd been in there all along.
"What's happening here?" he said furiously, taking a step forward before two phaser rifles snapped up to aim at him. "Stand easy, these are my quarters. I'm Cailus Griffin. Who is this woman? What happened?"
"No! This was my moment!" Green shouted as the officers held her back. She saw Griffin and let out a moan of frustration.
Squall turned around, surprised to see Griffin behind her, "Oh, Lieu - uh, Mr. Griffin. I didn't know you were here."
"Come, we're taking you to the Admiral." The security officer announced as he dragged Green out of the room, the woman still trying to resist them.
"NOO!" She screamed.
"Admiral?" Squall asked urgently, turning away from Griffin to watch them leave, "But... Why not the Brig?!"
[Admiral Milne's Office - Present]
"Why not the Brig?" Squall repeated as she stared daggers at Green and Squall. Security Officers remained behind the arrested Ensign, phasers at the ready. "This is all deeply disturbing and not by the regulations. Admiral, she's attempted a serious crime, she should be in the Brig! Why is she here? Why am I here when I haven't given you a written statement yet?"
Milne stood behind her desk, arms folded. "We will find that out, Lieutenant Commander." She said dismissively to Squall.
"Shut the frack up, Squall." Green hissed. "For once, shut up!"
Milne looked to the Ensign and sighed. "I had no idea you had such rage, Cecily." She said, her tone soft but not entirely sympathetic. "I am sorry your brother died on the Pandora, but that does not justify your actions."
"I don't need your empty words!" Green spat. "The Pandora needs to pay for what happened to Dorian!"
Milne just shook her head. After a pause, she gave the okay for the Security team to take Ensign Green, or Cecily Rochester as she was actually named, to the Brig. They dragged her out as she continued to curse the Pandora, Milne, Squall, and the universe for her troubles. An officer remain behind, standing silently by the door.
Milne took in a deep breath as she sat down in her chair. "I was not expecting that outcome," Audra admitted as she put her hands to her temples and stared ahead of her.
Squall looked around her and was only feeling exasperated. "Admiral, I don't understand what's happening here. You asked me to check on the Brennan-Griffins and I find Green there, trying to kill one of them? This makes no sense. What is going on?"
"I'd set a trap, Lieutenant Commander." Audra said purposefully. "Because I believed someone was working against me, against Starfleet. Someone who was responsible for helping Section 31 kidnap the family."
Squall looked to the door, "And it was Green?"
Audra tilted her head slightly, but not quite nodding, "She has admitted that she saw Section 31 attempting to infiltrate the station and did nothing to stop it. You would have found out they were coming had she raised the alerts."
At this Squall, whistled in bemusement. "Wow. So you set a trap to find out what she had done?"
"No." Audra said, looking to the officer. "I set a trap to find out if the Section 31 agent planted on this station was going to contact the Brennan Griffins again."
It was as if the air had left the room. Squall tensed noticeably.
"And did you?" She asked through her teeth.
Audra leaned back in her chair. "I did."
[Quarters - Earlier]
Cailus looked at Green in genuine bafflement as the guards carried her out. He was sorely tempted to taunt the woman. After all, she had plotted to kill his wife. Still, that would've been both petty and pointless. Besides, even if Shae had actually been there, Green still wouldn't have had a chance, knife or not. She clearly had no idea who she was dealing with. The girl needed compassion, not scorn.
Instead, Cailus nodded at Squall, waiting before Green was gone to speak. "Thank you, Commander." Then his voice turned icy, his glare penetrating. "I'm going to make your security chief's life extremely unpleasant for this stupidity, but that's not your fault. I'm grateful that you arrived when you did, although that girl really didn't understand what she was doing. She had no chance whatsoever of killing me or my wife with just a knife." Cailus took a breath, visibly calming himself. "Now. What can I do for you, Commander? You came here for a reason?"
"I don't doubt." Squall whistled, shaking her head. "I don't know what got into her!" She looked back to Griffin and shrugged, "Don't worry, we wouldn't have let anything happen to you."
Cailus crossed his arms, exasperated. "I can defend myself, Commander, as can my wife. We certainly trust ourselves more than your security personnel since this is the second time your cordon has been compromised, but given that you have a toolbox, I'm assuming you're an engineer, not security. Now, again, why are you here? Is something malfunctioning in our quarters?"
Squall took in a deep breath and held up the toolbox, ready to dive into her cover story. But then she paused and considered it. "Oh fuck this, I don't have time." She rolled her eyes and dropped the tools onto the floor nonchalantly, letting go of all the whole pretence. "I'm sure those imbecile Security officers and Milne will be popping back in any moment now and I need to tell my boss something. What have you learn of the Lighthouse?"
Cailus frowned, looking at Squall intently, suddenly very grateful that he was a hologram and not flesh or blood; there was no temptation. "Very little. It's very well classified and, as you've probably noticed, I'm no longer Starfleet. You're the Section 31 contact, then? How do we contact you if we learn more?"
"Of course it's well classified. If it was available on the database, we wouldn't have to go to such lengths to find out about it." Squall shot back, not hiding her sarcasm. "We are aware of your change in service status, but you are still a close confidant of Milne. Either you or your partner. We will contact you."
Cailus scowled, glaring with hatred that didn't have to be feigned in the slightest. "We'll get the information, and after that, we're done. We never want to be involved with you people again." Then he stepped closer, hands loose at his sides, his voice dropping to a cold whisper. "And you are wise to see me when my children aren't here. That's good, you're doing well, better than the others who came before you. They were less careful, less circumspect about dealing with my family. I don't want to repeat what happened to them as a consequence."
Squall squinted, "We are well-aware of your actions on our special projects base. But you are two people standing against an institution. Section 31 is in the bloodstream of Starfleet; we are everywhere and we are nowhere. You can destroy a hundred bases and we'll just keep making more. You think you can be free of us?" She shook her head, "Not till we say you are."
Even though he was privately euphoric that Squall had so plainly and foolishly incriminated herself, Cailus kept the mask of cold anger and disdain. "Institutions fall, Commander. If you push us, you start a war, one you are clearly not prepared to fight." He couldn't resist the parting jab. "Most particularly, you make the assumption that we fight alone. We were never alone. Now get the hell out of my quarters."
Squall took a step back, relenting her position. "I can see why he likes you both." She commented before turning to leave. Collecting the tools from the floor, Squall resisted the urge to say anything more before she made a hasty exit into the corridor. There she was confronted by two Starfleet security officers. "What's going on now?" She asked with a sigh.
[Milne's Office - Present]
Back in Audra's office, Milne was standing proudly as the confessions had rolled out of Squall's mouth and into recorded evidence. Squall had been uncovered as the Section 31 agent and their plan had worked - even if it almost didn't thanks to Green. But still, Audra had her culprit in custody with the confirmation that would see her locked up next to Green for a long time coming. This was the Admiral's first major strike against 31 in her role and though she tried to hide it under her calm, poised face, she was very much enjoying the moment.
"I should have seen that coming." Squall remarked, with a shake of her head. "I guess I let Green's reckless revenge attempt lower my guard." Milne said nothing, only giving a shrug. "If you think this matters, Admiral, you are wrong. I will simply be replaced and Section 31 will come and kidnap those two again. You've done nothing but seal their fates to 31."
At this, Milne smiled. "I can't wait to see them try." She replied dryly. Audra wasn't about to tell Squall that Brennan and Griffin had been holograms and had long-since left the station, that would ruin the family's chances of getting away from Carnwennan safely. And she did like knowing they had pulled a trick on the "big bad" 31.
"I supoose this is a good day for you, Milne. You caught a would-be assassin and Section 31 operative all at once. Bravo. We under-estimated you." Squall said, though her tone was anything but gracious. Now that her officious persona had slipped, every word had a coating of sarcasm and attitude. "But we will find out what the Lighthouse is eventually. You can't keep it a secret from Section 31 forever."
Audra nodded to the Security guard to take Squall away, as she answered. "You won't have to wait long. The Lighthouse will be shining brightly very soon."