Echoes of Sin

(OOC: Jaxx, I noticed you mentioned that Joh knows about the Pericles heading to Zandar. In my opinion he really shouldn't know about it. The Pericles is on an incredibly secret mission that only President Janeway and a handfull of people in the highest levels of Starfleet and The Federation know about, and it isn't even officially sanctioned. I'll go ahead and say that the Pericles intends to cover up the horrible stuff that went down at the Section 31 base. So, despite Joh being a skilled spy, it's something even he couldn't possibly be aware of. Though I'm sure that once he figures out it's a Section 31 base he'll deduce what's going on pretty quick. Just letting you know for future reference.

Also, great reference to the Saratoga being Starfleet's bitch ;) )

The Osiris dropped out of warp within the Zandar system and immediately scans revealed a Klingon Bird of Prey already there. They hailed it and R'ana appeared on the screen. Cam's heart twisted slightly at the sight of her in her Klingon uniform. It reminded him of the first time they met all those years ago.

"Good, you're here." R'ana said, immediately getting straight to business. "We've been scanning the sector for an hour and we've found the remains of a Starfleet vessel. The Saratoga."

"Any sign of your missing ships?" Cam asked.

R'ana shook her head. "None. But there's another thing. There's a base on the moon, Tau-Vega IV. It's Starfleet from the energy signatures."

Cam frowned and looked to his new XO, "Do we have any bases out here?"

"None that I can call up on in the database." Kine said, his voice reverberating with concern. "If there's a Starfleet base here, it was expunged from the records."

"Hmm..." Cam frowned then turned back to R'ana on the viewscreen. "You try hailing it?"

"No response." R'ana said.

"Strange things are afoot on Tau-Vega IV..." Cam rubbed his chin. Alright, R'ana you wanna join me and an away team down to that base to check it out?"

R'ana nodded, though she admitted to herself that actually being around Cam after all this time was a little uncomfortable. But she was Klingon, she would set aside her feelings for another day. "See you down there, Captain." The screen flicked back to the view of the planet and moon beyond.

"Kine, you have the con. Nalah, you're with me." He consulted his comm badge, "I need a security team to meet me in transporter room 2."

"Yes, Captain." The Security Chief responded.

Nalah followed Cam down to the transporters where they beamed down to the surface of Tau-Vega IV...

Cam and the others found themselves in a grass field a few yards from the base. Cam immediately saw R'ana and a small collection of Klingons waiting for them on the steps. When they approached R'ana regarded Cam cooly with a nod. Cam stuffed the ever expanding blob of mixed and powerful feelings back into the chest he'd been keeping them locked up in, then put a big chain with a lock on it for good measure. He needed to stay focused.

"The base has anti-beaming measures in place. Not the kind of thing you see from a scientific outpost or colony," R'ana said.

"This place isn't anything that simple." Cam muttered.

They entered the facility and were met with an uncomfortably empty main hall. And there was a smell, the smell of atomized flesh from a fully charged phaser. Cam produced his own and he and R'ana took the lead while Nalah and the others covered the rear.

Cam and R'ana went to the nearby turbolift door, but when Cam pressed the controls to open it the computer pinged and said: "You are not authorized to access this facility."

Cam frowned. "Override, authorization code Charlie Tango Four Three Seven Three Sierra One One Seven."

"Authorization code rejected. You are not authorized to access this facility."

"Frelling computer..." Cam frowned and was about to try his code again but R'ana instead raised her disruptor rifle and smashed the panel in a fit of anger.

"Auth...zatio...Accepted..." The turbolift door hissed open.

Cam regarded R'ana with a bemused look. R'ana simply marched into the turblolift.

"You coming or not?" R'ana barked.

"Nalah, Sigmund, come with us." Cam ordered.

"naDev ratlh." R'ana told her Klingons. Who nodded and set up a perimeter in the lobby while they descended into the facility.

The floor the lift stopped at was a massive laboratory filled with enormous vats and pods. Tricorders came out and Cam and Nalah swept the area with them.

"What do we have here?" R'ana asked as she went over to one of the vats and peered into it.

"Place is a mess." Nalah started. "I'm picking up evidence of more phaser fire. A big battle happened here recently."

"That's not all. I'm reading strange bio signatures coming from all over the place. As well as... Borg technology..."

"I think I found where those are coming from..." R'ana said. She had made her way over to an area of the room where a large containment cell was situated. Inside were a number of dead Borg.

"My god," Cam gasped. "What did this?"

Nalah's tricorder started beeping like crazy. "Captain... you need to see this..."

----
Kine sat in the captain's chair and stared at the view screen. Vex was there now and the two had been silent, despite Vex's best efforts to get the man to talk to her. Then the helmsman's console pinged.

"Sir, we're picking up a disturbance a few kilometers in front of us. The signature is consistent with that of a cloak."

"Raise shields, ready weapons." Kine said. His voice barely going above monotone.

"There's a spike in the energy signature!"

A ship decloaked in front of the Osiris. It was the Pericles.

"We're being hailed."

"On screen." Kine said.

The image of Commander Saren appeared on the screen. "This is Commander Saren of the Pericles. To whom am I speaking?"

"Commander Kine, USS Osiris. What can we do for you, Commander?"

"I was under the impression that Captain Gunner was in command of the Osiris. Is he aboard?" Saren asked.

"He's on Tau-Vega IV, Commander. Shall I patch him through?"

Saren nodded.

"Captain, Commander Saren is here aboard the Pericles. He wishes to speak to you."

"Saren..." Cam's voice was cool, yet there was audible anger boiling beneath it.

"Captain. Good to hear from you after so lo..."

"What is this, Saren? What were they doing? Why are you here?" Cam fired off at Saren, his voice growing increasingly agitated.

Saren paused before speaking. "It's not for you to know."

"Like hell it is!" Cam shouted. "Did you do this? Tell me you didn't do this!"

From the viewscreen Kine could see Saren's face twist in confustion. "To what are you referring?"

"The researchers. Section 31 scientists. They've all been killed. Gunned down by phaser fire. Then you show up. Tell me you didn't do this..."

"I assure you, I was not responsible for the deaths of anyone on that base." Saren said. Kine believed him.

"What the hell is happening, Captain?" Vex asked.

"Stay put, Osiris." Cam said. "Keep those shields up!"

"Do as he says," Kine ordered.

"Saren. What are you doing here???"

Saren paused again. "What needs to be done."

"So you're here to bury it all?" Cam's voice was seething with rage. "That it? Who gave the order? How far up the chain does this go? Why would you do this?"

Saren's stoic facade wavered for a moment. "This is bigger than us, Cam. This could destroy the peace we fought so hard for. So please... Cam... please tell me you don't know anything beyond what you saw."

"What is he talking about, Captain?" Vex asked.

"They were creating a weapon." Cam said. "Augments. But these ones were meant to fight Borg. They're augmented with synthetic organic and cybernetic upgrades that leave them incapable of being assimilated. Instead, they unleash a sort of cybergenic plague that wipes out Borg when they attempt to assimilate. Time bombs. Living time bombs."

Silence fell on the bridge of the Osiris.

Vex stepped closer. "That... that's..."

"A war crime of the highest order." Saren finished. "Illegal genetic augmentation, inhumane experiments with living test subjects, thousands of failed tests, thousands who died for a war they weren't needed for."

"It's worse..." R'ana added.

"They deployed them." Cam said. "A week before the invasion of Earth. They deployed fifty of them."

"But they didn't go off?" Vex asked.

"No." Saren said. "Something went wrong. They were assimilated anyway, became a part of the collective."

Vex's eyes widened. "Until we used the WISE."

"Indeed." Saren nodded.

"So what happened to them?" Vex asked.

"Jacinto." Saren said.

"Jacinto?" Vex frowned, confused.

"Jacinto was the site of a supposed Post-Borg riot." Kine suddenly spoke. "It was labelled as an act of civil unrest. A lot of people were killed. Post-Borg and not."

"You're not saying..." Vex looked at Saren in horror.

"The cybergenic virus the augments carry has mutated. It effects both Borg and non-Borg now. Sending them into a homicidal rage which ends in permanent psychosis, followed by death." Saren explained.

"And you say there are at least forty-nine other post-Borg Augments out there just carrying this virus?" Cam asked.

"No." Saren replied solemnly. "There are five hundred."

"What???" Vex exclaimed.

"There were others. Others they intended to send out but never did due to the invasion. They were put in cryo stasis and locked up here, then Janeway sent in a crew on the Saratoga to dispose of them." The way he said "dispose" made it seem like it tasted bitter in his mouth. "But it turns out that the Klingons found them."

"Where are they now?" Cam asked.

"No doubt looking for their lost brethren." Saren told him. "I was tasked with determining their next move and wipe them out."

"Then what?" Vex asked.

"My mission was to gather the list of Augments who were assimilated from the computers here," Saren explained, "destroy the lab and leave no trace that anything ever happened here. No one can ever know what went on here."

"And the list?" Kine asked.

"I'd deliver it to Starfleet Intelligence. They'd use it to track down the Augments, they were given identities and special markers to help track them down."

"So that they could 'dispose' of them?" Kine asked.

"Yes." Saren said.

"Where does that leave us, Saren?" Cam asked.

Saren closed his eyes. "You realize what would happen if this got out? This wasn't just a Section 31 operation. President Janeway and other top members of Starfleet signed off on this. And not just them: The Vulcan Science Academy, The Klingon Empire, even what remained of the Tal Shiar took part in this. They joined forces and pooled resources to make a last-ditched effort to save the Alpha Quadrant from the Borg, and it ended in failure. If word of this got out, the Federation would no doubt crumble into ruins from the resulting chaos and paranoia. Everything we had only so recently reclaimed would've been lost."

"And that's how you justify this?" Cam asked. "All of this to preserve paradise?" He chuffed. "Your father would be proud of you."

Saren sighed. "No... he wouldn't... But my father is dead. He died saving this galaxy. Because he knew like I do, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." He turned to Wilco. "Ready red matter torpedos. Fire on my mark."

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