Chapter 19 - Not So Slick
Statzia shifted the small crate to her other hip as she finished materializing on the transporter pad. She’d made an extra trip back down to Earth–at the request of Counselor’s dressmaker. Ilya had made some inquiries a few days after the ballet, and she’d been surprised to find out that he’d made several customized items for her, including the black leather glove that she now wore on her left hand–carefully concealing the missing digits.
No sooner than she had stepped off the transporter pad a young Ensign approached her. “Excuse me, but the Captain has requested you to join him in Shuttlebay One.”
Fuck. Statzia gave a sigh. “Understood.”
A few minutes later and Statzia strolled onto the deck of the shuttlebay, still carrying her crate.
Patricia turned to the door as Statzia entered. Her eyes gave a silent warning as Henry continued his pacing around the Ferengi craft. It was clear this was not his first lap around it. He stopped when he came full circle and turned to them both. “Seriously?”
“Like I tried to say….” He shushed Patricia with one finger in the air.
“I want to hear it from her.”
Statzia took a deep breath. “Captain–”
“You know, I kinda got used to it from this one. Mysterious happenings, things showing up or going missing, but you two bring a stolen vehicle, stolen from Starfleet no less, onto my ship?”
Statzia’s jaw clenched, and she set her parcel on top of another crate. “It was never Starfleet’s to begin with. That’s my home…sir. Or the closest thing I’ll ever have to one.”
“Who else was involved?”
“Just us,” Patricia piped up.
His expression showed he did not believe that.
“First rule of infiltration: Look and act like you belong.” Statzia flexed her hand in the new glove. “I know you don’t know my skills, Captain, but I’ve spent the last twenty years infiltrating criminal organizations and extracting information. This was–” She gave a glance at Patricia. “The impound lot wasn’t exactly impenetrable.”
“I know more than you think.” He looked between them. “Explain the blood in there.”
Statzia’s next breath came out shaky. “It’s mine.” Both hands fisted at her sides. “All of it.”
“Why do you have a blood sample in stasis? Is it contaminated or a threat to this ship?”
“I was the last person to inhabit the stasis pod, and the last time I was in that shuttle, I was slowly bleeding out as Emma flew me back to the nearest Starfleet outpost.” Statzia’s hand hesitated, but she lifted the right side of her tunic, revealing an extensive scar system trailing across her abdomen. “It would appear that nobody bothered to clean up after me.”
Patricia held up a finger. “An AI program. I had a run in with them years ago, and they saved my bacon. When I found out that the AI was being held, I thought I owed it to spring her “
“Wait, there’s an AI on this thing? After the last mission where you brought that other program aboard?”
“She’s not a weapon…” Patricia looked to Statzia, …”right?”
“Not unless you’re threatening to bleed on the upholstery.” The sound Statzia emitted was some kind of a nervous laugh. “But then, that’s exactly what I was doing the last time I saw her.” Her gaze flitted to the shuttle over the Captain’s shoulders. “She’s a highly-modified Starfleet EMH–with pink hair and a fondness for combat boots. Her mobile emitter wasn’t on the shuttle, and it appears that someone at Starfleet took a hammer to the internal holoemitter.” Her gaze returned to the Captain. “As far as I can tell, her program is still in the computer banks. It may just…take a few friends to help retrieve her.”
Statzia swallowed hard. “I spent the last twenty years serving with her, Captain, and I went through every avenue and burned every last favor I had in Starfleet just to figure out where she was. But she saved my life–and kept me alive long enough to get me back to Starfleet. I couldn’t just…leave her behind.”
He followed her eyes, then looked back to them. “I am going to speak to my wi…Executive Officer about this. Until you hear from me, this shuttle and everything in it is off limits. Am I clear?”
Statzia parted her lips to speak, but shut them as her lower lip betrayed a hint of a tremble. She swallowed hard and nodded.
Statzia spun on her heel and stormed out of the shuttlebay without another word or a glance to anyone else.
When she left he turned to his Daughter in Law. “You need to be more careful.”
“I know what I’m doing and this was the right thing to do.” She picked up the package Statzia had left behind and walked out.