USS Adelphi


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Post 20 - De malo bonum

Posted on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 @ 12:35am by Legate Kora Lenek & Supreme Intendant Valyn Kudred

Mission: Epilogue 1: The Long March
Location: Hacet-Cec (formerly the Turei Space Station Mithrar Anchorage), Delta Quadrant (Nacene Reach)
Timeline: Concurrent with "The Other Side of the Wrinkle", Mirror Universe

[Mirror Universe - Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant]
[Hacet-Cec (AKA Mithrar Anchorage) - Mithrar System]
[Supreme Intendant's Chamber]

The 'war' went well.

For the first time in years, the resurgent Terran Empire was being crushed under the glorious and righteous might of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance again, the lord and protector of the Alpha Quadrant. And, now, even the Delta Quadrant, as their first formalised foothold continued to be established, the amount of ships numbered within its local defence and expeditionary force expanding with each passing month and opening of the Barzan Wormhole - an anomaly now entirely controlled by the Alliance, allowing them an absolute monopoly on Alpha-Delta traversal.

The upstart Terran filth had been decimated once before, around a century prior, with the remarkable formation of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, who had assumed their rightful dominion of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, the unjust slavers of the Earth empire crushed by the might of the worthy concordance, their nation split and thrown to the winds. The sudden and unexpected return of some far-flung Delta Quadrant rump state had been a surprise, especially with the Terran Rebellion finding some foothold in Cardassian heartlands - but the tides were finally turning.

Supreme Intendant Valyn Kudred turned over the Imperial Starfleet combadge he had seized from the executed Terran commander of the Mithrar Anchorage. A creature called Truman, he had spat all manner of vitriolic comments at Kudred before his ultimate demise. From what the Alliance's leading figure in the Delta Quadrant understood, the combadge primarily served as a pain-inducing control mechanism, capable of inflicting severe pain on its wearer, as stipulated by superior officers. They called them 'agonisers'.

"Terribly uncivilised," the Bajoran-Cardassian hybrid crooned, affixing it back onto Truman's uniform tunic, a bit of still-warm blood pooling around its edges. "It is no wonder the Turei did little to defend your little fiefdom; wherever your species goes, it subjugated and infuriates the other species, so hateful are your small minds."

Naturally, the Terran corpse did not reply, suspended as it was from a series of angular spikes built into the nearby wall of the chamber, which had so recently been occupied by the deceased Terran. Whilst Kudred cared little for the gizmo that supposedly enforced order within the so-called command structure of the impure Terran 'legacy' Empire, he took some satisfaction in the gradual death of the human. His accent had been quite infuriating, although it had soon given way to soothing screams.

Some of Kudred's compatriots may have been saddened by the lack of begging, but the intendant had been pleased with the stalwart nature of Truman's battle against the inevitable. Knowing that there was no positive conclusion to Truman's situation, Kudred was pleased that the human died with a measure of hope or conviction in his heart.

With a slight adjustment of the Alliance sigil emblazoned on one side of his Cardassian uniform's breast, Intendant Kudred paced towards the broad window of his chosen 'throne' room, utilitarian though it was. Tholian silks and the skulls of a variety of sentient species he had subjugated already decorated the walls, along with many Cardassian texts regarding historic campaigns, making the simply-designed chamber have as much of a militaristic theme as was possible. Spying the armada of Alliance vessels beyond the window, being largely comprised of superior Cardassian ships - including a new class of star cruiser, vastly outmatching anything previously fielded by the Alliance - Kudred felt the setting both outside and in complimented one another.

Finally, the Anchorage - now named Hacet-Cuc - was truly a fortress worthy of the Alliance banner.

Meaning chaos in Kudred's native tongue when literally translated, Hacet was their word for the Delta Quadrant, so named many years back, given how little was understood or known of this far-flung galactic quadrant.

And how accurate it is, he seethed almost-silently, although he quickly realised he was grinding his teeth tightly at the thought. Unbeknownst to them all, the disturbing lordship of the Terran Empire had endured in this chaotic realm, its cancerous nature surviving unimpeded and unknown, spreading throughout the scattered sectors of this alien locale. The sickeningly-named Naevius Reach was drowning in Terran impurity and depravity, and only a few Alliance fleets had yet been dispatched to cleanse that furthest region of the galaxy of their filth.

Of course, they were not now officially at war. A detente was in place - as there so often was, in recent years - which meant about as much as the neutrality pact they had previously signed with the now-split Romulan Star Empire.

That, at least, allowed Kudred a wan smile - and the opportunity to resort to more creative methods. Ones, he found, their Klingon friends were not usually so keen on. There was a reason why the Cardassians remained the true mind behind the Alliance's multitude of successes, whilst the barbarians continued screaming their songs and babbling about their perfunctory and juvenile concept of honour. It was a really quite beautiful arrangement they had.

And, before long, Kudred would be able to call the Delta Quadrant his own domain, courtesy of that very-same arrangement. There was simply the trifling matter of the Terrans, and their grotesque insistence on survival and propagation.

"Inquisitor Lenek has arrived, Supreme Intendant," then spoke Mehra, one of the two young Barzan sisters Kudred had taken as his personal adjutants.

Briefly pressed into Imperial Starfleet service, Mehra's natural affinity for administrative tasks had been uncovered quickly by Kudred after their home system had been liberated from the occupying Terrans. The 'security' it afforded her once-outspoken family had not gone unappreciated by the woman, although Kudred still made sure that only one girl was on-duty at a time. It made for a more practical unspoken threat to the other.

"Very good, Mehra," he smiled widely and falsely at the downtrodden woman. She looked much more suitable in her Cardassian regalia than in that garish Imperial costume - especially with the latinum-laced breathing apparatus he had produced for her. She was a fine accessory to his uniform. "Bring the kanar - the '75 - and two glasses."

Mehra bowed and retreated from the dark, humid chamber. Immediately, Kudred's smile dropped and he returned to examine the starscape, silently counting as many of the stars as possible. Eventually, he knew with some certainty, they would all be nestled within his enlightened grip.

Thought many who saw her pass by uttered the title 'Inquisitor', Lenek wore the proud Cardassian uniform adorned with the Legate insignia. She had always been a member of Central Command, even as her talents demanded that she shift her focus from purely military matters to more covert leanings, she never allowed them to take away her status. In fact, she had killed several people who had spoken of doing just that to allow others to take her place in the echelons of command. Lenek reminded them all, prior to their last breath, that she had earned her place and that there wasn't a soul who could rob her of it. It was simply the way of the world.

Her retainers always referred to her as Legate, something she made certain of even as her duties had gone completely into the realm of subterfuge and deception. It was a world she was remarkably capable of controlling, as her title would suggest, but her pride wouldn't allow for the abandonment of tradition. And after enough people disappeared, everyone stopped arguing with her about it.

The woman sneered at the Barzan who slank past her from the Intendant's office, openly displeased that such a filthy creature was allowed to be so close to her childhood friend. If she were even slightly less devoted to him, she'd have made the woman disappear... a fact that the Barzan knew all too well.

"Valyn," Lenek said once she was fully within the office, "I know you enjoy keeping your pets at arms reach, but must you have them wearing our clothing? I find myself becoming more and more enamored by the Ferengi custom of keeping their slaves naked."

The jealousy in her voice made it plain that she was venting for the sake of it, knowing how the man she was speaking to felt about such matters. Adorning the pets with finery was something of a hobby, at least as far as Kora considered it, and a passing amusement.

"Kora," the intendant welcomed his old friend in a baritone voice that managed to be both slick and bold at once. As was his habit and preference, Kudred was pouring the kanar himself into two queerly-curved glasses for him and the legate. He believed it was a show of good faith to his guests, a sort of rite that ensured they knew he was drinking from the same bottle, and he also allowed them to choose which glass they would sooner drink from.

"It is the duty of all Cardassians to bring civility to the barbarians of this galaxy," he said as Lenek chose her drink and they clinked their glasses, saluting the prosperity of the Alliance, and Kudred assumed Truman's old chair behind the desk.

He took another conservative sip of the drink, seeming satisfied by the beverage. The supreme commander of Alliance forces in the Delta Quadrant was renowned for his love of this particular vintage, having hoarded much of the remaining casks distilled on Earth, whilst it was still under Alliance rule. He was also known to have harboured a large selection of ancient Terran art, claiming it provided a grim insight to their twisted, resurgent foes.

"Make them play the part long enough, and they soon forget their true selves, entirely subsumed by the glory of our culture, in service to the greatest civilisation known to history... or they are excised," he continued, setting the glass down. "We stop our divine advance, and we risk becoming little more than a footnote in history - the Tkon of tomorrow... or perhaps a Romulus of today."

Kudred picked up the Starfleet agoniser-combadge from the table and carelessly tossed it towards the other Cardassian. "Of course, we have not met to discuss the finer details of history and Cardassian supremacy. The inquisition continues and your work is far from concluded. We have breached the Underspace tunnels the Terrans and their Turei slaves had been scurrying through. We now control the wormhole and the subspace network leading to Cowell's petty kingdom in the Reach."

"Who knew that old bastard would still be alive..." Lenek growled as she took a sip of the kanar that she had been holding.

A darker look had overcome Kudred's visage. Whilst control of this Anchorage would streamline Kudred's rule over the Alliance in the Delta Quadrant, several thousand light-years still separated the respective theatres of combat and influence. In the Naevius Reach, the Alliance were but the bit-part players.

"For now, sporadic communications and small craft can traverse the Mithrar tunnel. Some misguided Terran experiment has caused significant damage to the path," the intendent explained darkly, a nearly-hidden rage simmering. "But, until such time as our fleets can travel to the sick tumour of their cancerous reach, you will be able to go there, my voice in the shadow of their malignant rule." Kudred rose again after another sip of the Terran-brewed kanar, taking his glass to the nearby window to once again examine the large fleet massing outside. "You will join Commandant Koloth on his flagship, rein in the barbarism of our Klingon partners, and stunt the Terrans's efforts to expand their resources and scope in the Reach. Decapitate their leadership at home, and neuter their forces abroad."

He finished his glass of kanar and turned back round, his pale-ashen features twisted in that facsimile of a smile he had not quite mastered, even around his oldest and dearest friend. "The commandant has conducted much work and many raids against this Delta Expansion Initiative they hide their primordial ambition behind. Join him, and make them regret ever crawling their way from the sludge of their cold and overgrown world."

"As happy as I am to spread the glory of the Cardassian people to this far flung corner of the galaxy..." Lenek said with a long sigh, "Must it be on the same ship as that psychotic Klingon? I can appreciate them for their utility as a blunt instrument against the Terran filth... but they all lack the proper... restraint... and they certainly fall short of appreciating the more intricate details that my plans usually require. You've already forbidden me from killing him... must I truly suffer the indignity of having to sit and listen to him whine about how Cardassian tactics lack honor for months on end?"

A flash of rage, quite uncharacteristic but not unheard of for the intendant, snapped across Kudred's face. His eyes widened, the bright-burning amber of them boring into his friend, and his fist clenched. For a moment, he looked about ready to launch his empty glass at her. Instead, he set it down carefully on the table.

"You will suffer any indignity I wish, Legate," he quietly seethed, resting himself on his fists, which were pressing into the surface of his stolen Terran-Turei desk. "I would have thought you would relish the opportunity to conduct your schemes around the foolhardy and antagonistic nature of our dearest allies. I never considered you might have become so stale as to be incapable of plying your trade around such oafish goons, that you could be so easily outfoxed by a wily targ-lover."

"You know full well that targ-lover could never outfox me," Lenek said with a frown, "But I do wish you would at least allow me the contingency of killing him if doing so would help us get rid of the Terrans faster."

Lenek was playing hurt by his comment, but deep down she knew that his small bursts of mania weren't anything she needed to worry about. Not only did she know too much, she was far too useful to him and his ambitions than even his ego could afford to write off. It was a balancing act, to be sure, but not one she was afraid she couldn't manage.

"Leaving that imbecile aside, I want you to let me bring my favorite assassin with me. I know how little you think of Romulans, but I believe that she'll give this mission the edge we need. After all, she doesn't look any different from the Vulcans that are running around in that backwater Empire. At least give me some measure of amusement..." Lenek said, her words coming out honeyed and thick.

Were it anyone else, the sultry and deceptive tone that Lenek had adopted would likely have resulted in a dismissal or, at worst, execution, courtesy of Intendant Kudred, who was renowned for having little patience for such things. Plain-talking was typically appreciated, but that was also no guarantee of safety, should the spoken words be offensive or foolish.

"You are a Cardassian legate, Inquisitor," Kudred stated matter-of-factly, picking up another purloined Terran object (Truman's combat knife), as if the statement was enough of a response in itself. "Now, I wish for you to leave me to my studies," he continued, pacing around to face the deceased body of the station's former commander once more, plunging the knife directly between two of the Terran's ribs. His eyes searched the cold, dead ones staring back down at him with avid interest, and his interest in the conversation with his old friend had seemingly abated.

"Bring me back something precious to Naevius, hmm?" He then called to Lenek as she began to pace away. Whilst the intendant was already running the blade along Truman's abdomen, carving a surprisingly-neat gash across his beaten chest, he cast a quick smile over to the Cardassian woman. "Something young, perhaps."

"I'll see what I can do," Lenek said with a sultry smile before sauntering out of the room.

A mirror post by

Supreme Intendant Valyn Kudred
Alliance Intendant, Delta Quadrant

Legate Kora Lenek
Alliance Inquisitor


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