Portar, the Benzite scientist, emerged from the turbo lift. He quickly walked around the bridge looking over the shoulders of the on duty crewmen as he evaluated each of their efforts. He passed in front of Captain Dorra d’Hexplora before taking a seat beside her. He leaned towards her and said, “The experiment is ready. It’s time to begin, Captain. May we proceed?”
Dorra mourned for the security guard with a traditional d’Drexian prayer. She asked the spirits of her ancestors to watch over the Vulcan that they had removed from the detention level just moments before they brought security officer Jose Philippe Montoya back in his current condition. However, something told her that the Rodek, the Vulcan security officer, would be brought back in a similar state.
Her prayers turned to Finley. He would be the next one that they would come for. She needed to get the two of them out of here, but Scorpius had made it clear that the only way that would happen is if she handed over Portar.
She began to review all of her experiences up to this point. She recalled the sensor scans she had taken of the ship while she had been escorted aboard. The ship had utilized a couple of different layers of skin-tight shielding that blocked most of her scans. However, she had also noticed that it flowed over the ship’s hull, and on occasion, small gaps had appeared within it that allowed her to get detailed scans of the entire vessel’s interior. Then, it hit her. She knew how she could get the Peacekeepers to release her, Finley, and Rodek, (if he still lived), without actually putting Portar’s life in danger.
From the next cell, Finley moaned in great pain as he slowly sat up, holding his head with both hands. “Can someone turn down the lights? It’s too bright in here,” he said.
“Finley,” Dorra replied as she went to the wall that separated them. “How are you feeling?”
“Like a shuttle craft landed on my head.” He swung his legs off the slab, but made no move to get up.
“I’ve got a plan to get us out of here,” she reassured him.
“Good. I want to file a formal grievance with management. Room service in this place is horrible.”
Relieved, Dorra allowed herself to laugh for the first time since this entire ordeal began.
Finley looked around. A look of confusion was upon his face when he looked to Dorra and said, “Where are the others?”
“Jose is dead,” Dorra replied with a profound sadness in her voice. “And, they have Rodek.”
“If he’s in the chair, he’s getting his brains scrambled. Knowing Vulcan physiology, I doubt he’ll survive if they’re able to break past his mental defenses,” Finley said as he slowly got to his feet, and used the nearby wall for support. Once he was confident, that he would collapse, he took his first step away from the slab. “So, what’s the plan for getting us out of here?”
“We’re going to give them Portar.”
“What? Are you out of your mind?”
“I knew that you would come to your senses,” Scorpius replied as he strode into their section of the detention level. He was once again followed by his guards, a pair of which was carrying Rodek’s dead body. “However, it’s a shame that you waited so long. You could have saved your crewman. But, then, I would have completely missed his reaction to the chair. It was quite informative.”
“You’re a monster!” Dorra cried out, enraged once again by her captor’s complete lack of respect for life.
“You wound me, my dear Captain,” Scorpius replied as he stopped just outside of her cell. “Now, let us talk about our little arrangement. I assume you will need to contact the DaVinci?
“Yes,” Dorra stated flatly. “However, I’m not letting Finley out of my sight, so where I go, he goes with me. Do you understand?”
Scorpius laughed so hard that spittle flew from the rows of needle-like teeth. “You’re a shrewd negotiator, Captain.” He considered it a moment, before he said, “Very well. However, you’ll be transmitting the message from our command center.” Dorra nodded in agreement. “And, you won’t be able to board your shuttle until he’s in our custody.”
“That’s unacceptable,” Dorra countered, feeling her ire rise. “What’s to stop you from keeping us here, even after we give you Portar. If you want him, you’re going to have to give us some leeway.”
Scorpius considered it for a moment, as he looked over at Finley who had approached the cell and was sneering at him. “What do you suggest?”
“I don’t agree with what the Captain is suggesting,” Finley explained. “But, a simple prisoner exchange seems like it would be the most equitable way. The DaVinci sends Portar’s shuttle at the same time, you release us.”
“Agreed.” He waved a hand over the sensor for each door, and opened up the cells. The guards rushed in and surround both Finley and Dorra. “Now, if you will come with me,” Scorpius said leading them off the detention level