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The Price of Freedom, Part Two

Brig Corridor <Deck 26> [Gibraltar Station]

This dimly-lit, yet heavily monitored corridor leads to the holding cells of the base's brig, where criminals and others who need to be held away from the rest of the base are contained. The entrances to the cells are on one side of the room, mostly unoccupied, those in use with forcefields up to contain those behind. Teams of yellow-shirted security guards stand watch at monitoring stations and beside each occupied cell in shifts. The floor here is carpeted in deep navy blue lined with light gray. Vertical alert tracers line the sides of the door.

Mikhail Volchenkov
Gwen Hawkins

(In the first and second cells are two Antarean Starfleet officers. The first looks quite disgruntled and very nervous. He paces his cell, every once in a while looking at the force field that encases him like he expects it to disappear at any moment. The other is not as active, in fact at first he doesn't even appear conscious. Upon further observation, it appears he is conscious just laying still on his bed. He has two lacerations, one across his brow and the other on his lip. They appear to have been treated, but from time to time he reaches up and touches them as if they still cause him pain.)

Volchenkov steps in from the direction of the main security station, his steps heavy and his expression one of those that would be instantly mortal, if looks could kill. Moving in the direction of the first cell, he looks into it, at the prisoner within.

Hawkins comes along a few moments after, managing a fairly expressionless face, which is remarkable given the circumstances. She stands a little away, watching things from one side.

The Antarean looks at the security officer and the captain and sneers. "Finally come to surrender to our terms, Captain? Have you seen the error of the Federation in bringing their plague of uniformity to our sector?"

"Shut up," Volchenkov says, rather harshly to the Antarean. "In case you haven't noticed inside there, it's you who answer the questions here." He studies the man rather carefully for a few moments. "Now first, would you tell us exactly why you did it?" His voice now going calm, perhaps even a bit too calm.

Hawkins walks over toward Volchenkov, arms folded, looking into the cells. She says nothing, just stands there.

The Antarean snorts, "Apparently your hearing is as slow as your deductive capabilities. I thought our terms were quite clear? We want all Federation personnel removed from Antares. Your policies and principles are slowly smothering our culture and we are going to put a stop to it, with our without your cooperation."

"Looks like this one either has a very bad concept of the word clear, or has failed to understand the situation here, doesn't it?" Volchenkov remarks to the Captain, before he looks over at the Antarean again. "And to do that, you are willing to sacrifice lots of innocent people each time?" he asks, with a bit of a shrug. "Those kinds of actions never really helps, you know..."

Hawkins glances to Volchenkov and then nods. "I fail to see how killing hundreds of people, including many from your own world, will generate any sympathy for your cause in your government, or would make you expect any cooperation from the Federation. There are systems in place for this sort of thing, that do not involve violence, that you could be using. Now, perhaps if you'd been trying to set someone else up to take the fall, it would make sense..."

"The Antarean lives that were lost in the 'reclamation acts' will be revered as martyrs for our purpose." The Antarean laughs. "We do not want the sympathy of your Federation. We want you gone, regardless of whether you leave peacefully or we blast you into space. Either way our goals are met."

Volchenkov eyes the Antarean rather carefully for a few moments. "You know what?" he says, voice a bit low at the start. "I don't buy any of those lines you've rehearsed there. I believe that deep down in those little things you call minds there, you do this, not for any so called noble cause or anything like that, but just because you enjoy spreading fear." He takes one more step towards the force field, before he points at the prisoner, rather forcefully. "You might have had those noble causes to fight for when you started, but then you found something you enjoyed much more. Spreading terror and destroying innocent lives." He pauses a few moments, shaking his head a little. "And as for the dead being revered as martyrs, do you think they cared? Wouldn't most of them much rather have lived out their lives?"

The Antarean looks at Volchenkov. "Sadly, some of our people have fallen to the delusions that the Federation force fed them. Sometimes it takes a select few of us to liberate their souls and show the rest what must be done. As for fear, if it serves our purpose, we will use any weapon we have access to." The other Antarean begins to slightly snort in his cell.

"Sounds like a broken record," Volchenkov mutters to himself.

Hawkins steps forward a bit. "Commander, if I may?" She pauses, and makes sure both Antareans can see her. "I don't think you realize the enormity of what is going on here. Regardless of anything else, we have you on sensors and with multiple eyewitnesses, for the murder of Ensign Quaker and the attempted murder of Lieutenant Brooks. That alone is enough to put you on a penal colony for several decades. Add in the threats to bomb the station and kill our people if we tried to stop you, and that's a few more decades. Once we pin the other bombings on you--and we will--you're looking at a life sentence. You will be treated well, but you will work, and you will not escape. You will not be martyrs. Ultimately, you won't even be remembered, most likely. We have larger wounds to heal from, unless you didn't hear about the war that just finished a couple of months ago." She steps forward, eyes flashing. "You are deluded. I have seen true tyranny, people who will conquer and genetically engineer races for their own ends, fleets of tens of thousands of ships bent on subduing everything in sight just because they can. The Federation is not like that. If your people want to leave, they can. They petitioned to join the Federation, they asked. If they ask to leave, if your world truly wants to leave, we will let them. We force feed nothing. The vaunted 'Federation culture' you imagine simply does not exist. The way things are out here is so different from the way things are on the core worlds, I can't begin to describe. But that doesn't matter. Because no one will care, no one will remember you. Not martyrs, not heroes, not even villains. Just sad, deluded men who grew old and died in a Federation penal colony for murder."

Volchenkov steps back a bit as he hears the Captain, nodding a bit. Listening to what she says, he studies the Antareans, to see how they will react to this.

The other Antarean, the quiet one, steps forward. "We should tell them, Man'Gath. Maybe if we tell them--"

"We will say nothing, Harleugh." the one called Man'Gath shouts. His face goes white with fear. "We...we confess. Fine, we did it. We wanted to... to cause enough of a panic on the station to force our government to leave. We thought killing the Antarean Ambassador would demoralize our government and maybe they would think that working with the Federation would seem too dangerous for them. We confess. Do what you will..." Harleugh seems to be softly whimpering as he sulks back to his sleeping bench.

Volchenkov looks over at Harleugh for a few moments, as he hears that. "If you tell us what?" he asks, sounding quite interested. "You have got nothing to lose, you know," he offers. Also looking back at Man'Gath as he hears that. "At last, some progress," he mutters.

Hawkins steps back a bit, letting the Chief of Security do his job, now that she's pulled out the pips and whacked them around a bit. What else are Captains for?

Harleugh looks back at the security chief and cringes. His eyes shift to the cell wall as he stands, "We... we were ordered to blow up the station. We were given the weapons and told that if we did this our home would be as it was before the Federation came. I didn't want to kill anyone, I swear..." His eyes are overflowing with tears. "I just wanted my home back. You have to stop them... you have t--" His words are cut short as his eyes roll back into his head and he slumps to the floor. He isn't breathing. Seconds later, choking sounds can be heard within Man'Gath's cell followed by a dull thud. He too is on the floor, not breathing.

Volchenkov frowns a bit as he hears that, and then sees the two men hitting the floor. Muttering something which seems to be in Russian, he moves to open the forcefield in Harleugh's cell, to move in and see if the man can still be saved. They need his information, after all.

Hawkins swears softly and opens the other forcefield, moving in to check on Man'Gath... clear his airway, try to perform CPR, etc. Can't have people randomly dying in our brigs.

Both men are beyond saving. The seem to have clear airways and clean palettes. From current observations they just, dropped dead.

Volchenkov sighs as he sees the man's dead, and slowly starts making his way back towards the brig corridor. "What..." he begins, shaking his head a bit. "Seems we've got rather big problems," he says, quietly.

Hawkins sighs and straightens. "It does at that. Two men don't just drop dead at the same time, and them dying when about to tell us something important is a little too convenient." She gestures to an officer. "Get these men to the morgue, and tell Doctor Omtala I want full autopsies. We need to know what happened here."

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