Literary Challenge #40 : Redux
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Join Date: Jul 2012
05-21-2013, 03:39 PM
- This story deals with Adult Themes and scenarios. If you feel you would be offended or disturbed by reading about such themes please click away now.
- The Pyramid Club and its status is the creation of Sander233.
Literary Challenge #22 : Undeniable Evidence
The Things Which Cannot Change
Starfleet Command, San Francisco: 2363.01.16, 0024 hours
Commander Marcus Kane could feel ligaments in his shoulder separating as his arm was forced behind his back by the Capellan guard, and he was guided through the corridor like an errant child.
"This is all a misunderstanding," he insisted, attempting to relieve the pressure by rising onto his toes, but only succeeded in losing balance. "I haven't done anything!"
"That's what they all say -- Sir," Chief Petty Officer Kollaar snarled, turning Kane through the brig door, and shoving him towards the isolation cell. "You're a disgrace to the uniform."
Tripping on the raised field emitter, Kane fell forwards, cracking his head painfully on the edge of the narrow bunk as the forcefield shimmered into existence. For a second, he lay stunned, before automatically pushing himself into a kneeling position. "I didn't do anything," he insisted, raising a hand and wiping blood from the deep cut.
"Your supervising officer has been informed of your arrest, Commander," Kollaar informed Kane's back. "They're going to throw the book at you for what you've done."
Taking hold of the bunk and hauling himself off the floor, Kane realized that his shoulder no longer burned, and probing his forehead with his fingers, could feel nothing but smooth skin.
That was fast...
he mused absently.
"I haven't done anything!" he shouted at the Capellan's retreating back as he left the brig.
Starfleet Command, San Francisco: 2363.01.16, 0038 hours
In five hundred and thirteen years of life, Admiral Wesley Cooper had fought in countless wars, attended numerous weddings, lost more friends than he cared to count, and seen sights he would never have imagined possible in his childhood in Dartmoor, but in all that time, he had never been woken at midnight by a friend under arrest.
First time for everything...
he thought, stifling a yawn as he was lead to the brig.
"What can you tell me, Chief?" he asked.
"At twenty three fifty hours, Commander Kane made an emergency call for medical assistance," began Kollaar. "Responding med techs found the Commander in his apartment with a dead hooker, killed by a complete neural collapse caused by a point-blank phaser discharge."
Cooper stopped for a moment, halting the guard with the edge of his hand.
"Dead hooker?" he repeated skeptically. "Anything to back up that claim, Chief?"
The Capellan security officer drew himself to his full height, towering head and shoulders taller than Cooper.
"Preliminary report from Starfleet:CIS is that there was a bloodied knife and a partially clothed woman on the bed, and the Commander's personal phaser had been discharged."
"Are you sure it was the Commander's phaser?" Cooper enquired.
"It may be a modified prototype, but the serial number on the pre-fire chamber matches records with the one issued to the Commander when he returned to active duty four months ago."
"Has he said anything?" Cooper asked.
"Other than protesting his innocence, nothing," Kollaar replied, shaking his head. "With no other suspects present, we were obliged to take the Commander into custody and notify the JAG while S:CIS continued to sweep the apartment for further evidence."
Phillipa Louvois... This is going to get messy...
Cooper thought bleakly. With a sigh, he indicated that Kollaar should proceed to the brig. As they approached the door, Cooper felt a premonitory chill at the base of his skull, the warning signal created by the resonance when two immortals came within proximity of each other. The doors slid aside, and Cooper saw the young man he had mentored for nearly a decade, standing in the isolation area like a caged animal. His expression hardly changed, but Cooper knew him well enough to see the subtle wave of relief which washed across his handsome features.
"You've got to get me out of here, Wes," he said, getting close to the forcefield. "They've got it all wrong, I didn't kill Ali."
Cooper frowned in confusion.
"Ali?" he repeated. "You're not making sense, Marc. The guard said something about a dead hooker. Tell me what's going on."
For a split second, a look of rage flashed across Kane's face. He immediately regained control, but when he spoke, his voice had dropped, taking on a dangerous tone.
hooker," he said pointedly. "Wes, they're accusing me of killing my sister!"
Wide-eyed, Cooper spun to face Kollaar.
"Is this right, Chief?" he demanded.
"I have not been informed of the identity of the deceased," Kollaar responded calmly.
"Drop the field immediately, Chief," Cooper insisted.
"With respect, Admiral, the JAG has not yet arrived to take a statemen-"
"I said drop the field!" snapped Cooper. "As head of Starfleet Intelligence, and Commander Kane's supervising officer, I'm taking personal responsibility for his custody." He paused and gestured about the brig. "I understand that there are procedures to be followed, but seriously, where do you think he's going to go? Drop the field, and get the man a glass of water. I'll de-brief him and make a report available to Captain Louvois upon her arrival."
Kollaar's eyes narrowed, but he eventually nodded.
"Aye, Sir," he acknowledged. Moving to the free-standing console, he entered a command into the control surface and the forcefield winked out of existence.
Stepping out of the isolation area, Kane turned to Cooper, shaking his hand before sinking heavily into one of the chairs present.
Looking away, Cooper addressed the air:
"Computer, is Lieutenant Commander Leigh-Ann Parsons within command grounds?"
"Affirmative, Lieutenant Commander Parsons is in Domicile fifteen of the residential facility."
"Excellent," Cooper muttered, before reaching up to tap his comm badge. "Cooper to Parsons."
"Go ahead, Admiral," said a disembodied voice with a lilting Betazoid accent.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Leigh, but I need you to meet me in the brig as soon as possible. I'm going to be conducting an interview and need your insights."
"Very well, Sir, I shall be with you as soon as I can. Parsons out."
"Okay, Marc," Cooper said, setting his PADD to record and placing it on a nearby console. "Start at the beginning, tell me what happened."
Pyramid Club, San Francisco: 2363.01.15, 2030 hours
The sound of slow jazz drifted on the air as the turbolift doors opened. The distinguished maitre d' looked up from his desk, and seeing two lifetime members approach, he smiled broadly and came to the front of the narrow reception desk to greet them.
"Ah, Miss Kane, Commander, so good to see you both again," he said, shaking hands with the Starfleet officer. "If I may say, Miss Kane, you look stunning this evening."
"Yes, I know," Alix replied disinterestedly, her eyes scanning the patrons of the restaurant, as well as taking in the view of San Francisco afforded from the top floor of the TransAmerica pyramid.
"Is our usual table free?" Kane enquired. Sensing that Alix was about to walk across the restaurant, he slid an arm round her waist, holding her in place.
"It is indeed, Commander," the maitre d' replied, leading the way across the restaurant to one of the corner tables. The occasional head turned as they passed -- women admiring Alix's floor-length gown of shimmering Tholian silk, men admiring the beautiful woman wearing it.
The maitre d' stopped by a corner table, and pulled out a chair.
"Miss Kane," he said graciously.
"I'll sit here," Alix stated, pulling out another chair, and sitting so her back was to the wall, affording her a view of the entire restaurant.
"Thank you," Kane said, taking the offered chair, and sitting opposite his twin. It was almost like looking in a mirror.
"Would you care to view tonight's menu?" the maitre d' enquired.
"No thank you," Alix replied. "I'll have the smoked salmon and cream cheese on rye crackers, with a side order of liver pate and smooth sandwich pickle."
With a nod, the maitre d' entered the order onto his PADD, before turning to Kane.
"I'll have the same, thank you," he replied. "Ali, blue lagoon?"
"Mm hmm," she replied, her lips pursing and eyes narrowing, as across the room, a woman of similar age fumbled clumsily with a set of chopsticks.
"And a large pitcher of blue lagoon with two glasses," Kane requested.
"Certainly, Commander, Miss Kane, enjoy your meal," the maitre d' said before moving away from the table.
Seeing the look on his sister's face, Kane's brow furrowed slightly.
"What's up, Ali?" he asked.
Alix nodded towards table twelve on the far side of the restaurant, which was occupied by a quartet of young women. They appeared to be eating Japanese cuisine.
"She looks entirely too pleased with herself," she muttered darkly, as one of the women speared a piece of sashimi with a single chopstick and popped it in her mouth. "Hardly anything to be proud of, making a scene of herself like that."
"How's business?" Kane enquired, knowing that changing the subject was the easiest way to distract Alix's judgmental tendencies.
"Boring, as usual," she replied, shaking out a napkin and spreading it across her lap. "Productivity statistics, developmental conferences, requisition orders, all the stuff Dad hated dealing with, but it's something to do, I guess. How about you? You said you had something important to tell me. Are the test flights going well?"
"Your drinks," an impeccably presented waiter announced, placing two highball glasses on the table. He proceeded to fill them from a large pitcher of sparkling blue liquid, before placing a second full pitcher in the middle of the table.
Picking up her glass, Alix smiled sweetly, before taking a sip, and returned her penetrating gaze to her brother.
"Not so well," Kane admitted, as the waiter walked away. "We hit a snag with the containment system for the warp core, and it failed during testing last week. That's why you got that call."
Alix put down her glass, her dark brows drawing together.
"I know, it was the weirdest thing. I was away from my desk for lunch, and when I got back, I had two messages. One saying that you'd been in an accident and that I should come as soon as possible, then another, saying everything was okay, and to ignore the first message. Bureaucratic mix up?"
"Something like that," Kane said. "As you can see, I'm absolutely fine."
"Yes, you are," Alix replied, before picking up her glass again, and sucking on the straw until the glass was drained.
"Not here," Kane said quietly, picking up his own glass and taking a long draught.
Alix's eyes sparkled with amusement.
"I doubt anyone here would notice, let alone care," she pointed out with a positively obscene smirk. "You think the Rigellian Ambassador over there is simply taking those women out for a birthday treat? Or those skanks on table twelve aren't all f**king each other? Why do you think those Deltans are both heading towards the bathroom at the same time?"
"You're probably right," Kane agreed lightly, refilling their glasses as the waiter approached with their meals. The content of the plates may have been identical, but the arrangements of the food were not, and it was clear that the dishes had not simply been replicated.
"Can I get either of you anything else?" he enquired.
"Actually yes," said Alix. "I forgot to ask for some toast for my pate."
"Of course, madam," replied the waiter, producing his PADD. "What kind of toast would madam require?"
"Four slices of thick-cut wholemeal, lightly toasted, and cut in diagonal quarters," she said.
"Very good, madam," said the waiter, jotting down the request, before looking up. "Anything else for you, sir?"
"Not for the moment, thank you," Kane replied, picking up a cracker.
"So what's the Big News?" Alix asked again as the waiter departed.
"I'll tell you when we get back to my apartment," Kane replied, before biting into the cracker. "We have good food and nice music. It's something which can wait till later, and which needs to be discussed privately."
"They have sound dampeners at every table," Alix pointed out. "We can say anything with total privacy." She took a breath, before loudly stating: "I f**ked my brother twice before we came here this evening!"
All around the restaurant, even at the adjacent tables, diners continued with their meals, totally unaware of Alix's outburst.
"Everyone's so appalled!" she exclaimed sardonically, putting her hand to her mouth as her eyes widened in faux-shock. With a grin, she kicked Kane's chair under the table "Jeez, lighten up, Polo. What can you have to say that is so secret?"
"It's something I'll need to show you as well," he admitted. "If you don't see it for yourself, you won't believe it, and it's not something I really want to do in public."
Alix frowned momentarily in recollection.
"I don't remember seeing my name tattooed on your ass," she mused.
Kane shook his head, but Alix could see the amusement in her twin's eyes.
"I'll tell you later," he promised. "Now behave yourself, your toast's coming over."
Starfleet Command, San Francisco: 2363.01.16, 0105 hours
Cooper's fist crashed into Kane's jaw, nearly knocking the younger man from his chair.
"Aah, what the f**k, Wes??" he protested, sitting upright and putting a hand to his cheek as he experimentally articulated his jaw.
"You know your dad would have done the same thing," Cooper replied calmly, shaking his right hand and flexing his fingers. "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm glad your parents aren't alive to se-"
Kane scrambled up from his chair, launching himself at his mentor, only to receive a second right cross which dropped him to the floor of the brig with a ringing in his ears.
"Dammit, Marc, get it together before that Capellan throws you back in isolation," Cooper advised, crouching and helping Kane to his feet. "Sovak taught you better than this."
"I don't remember striking a junior officer still being authorized in the Starfleet disciplinary guidelines," Kane muttered, but Cooper could detect the undercurrent of amusement in his voice. "At least in isolation you can't hit me anymore."
"You think your dad would let you off any easier?" Cooper said rhetorically and gesturing back towards their chairs as the door to the brig opened, and admitted a slender dark haired woman in a mustard-colored operations uniform.
"Ah, Commander Parsons, so glad you could make it. You've... already missed the best bits, but I need to verify the truth in what the Commander is telling me."
"You think I'm
?" Kane gasped incredulously.
"Marc, if I thought you were lying, I wouldn't've hit you," he said. "I need something which Captain Louvois cannot pick apart or question, and I suspect you'll find the Commander's presence less intrusive than Chief Kollaar hooking you up to a polygraph."
"If you need to make physical contact, Commander, I have no objection, I have undergone several mindmelds on Vulcan," he said.
"That won't be necessary, Commander," Parsons replied, sipping from a sealed beverage container and taking a seat beside Kane. "Please accept my condolences for your loss."
Kane looked from Parsons to Cooper, who nodded.
"She's that good," he replied, before tapping the PADD. "Back to your confession, Marc, believe me, you do
want to be having this conversation with Phillipa Louvois..."
Residential Facility, Starfleet Command, San Francisco: 2363.01.15, 2340 hours
Kane sat on the edge of the bed in a midnight blue robe, staring sightlessly at the tajtiq, the long Klingon knife which could be wielded as if it were a sword, which he held on his lap. He felt a dipping of the mattress, then Alix's arms sliding round him, her chin on his shoulder and her cheek against his neck.
"What's on your mind?" she asked. "You still haven't told me your Big News, unless you simply wanted to explain why you sleep with a phaser under your pillow."
"No," he acknowledged. "That's a habit I got into while on Bajor. The camps were a dangerous place, and you can't trust a Cardassian as far as you can throw them... Devious, predatory creatures...
"Two years ago I encountered three Cardassian officers beating a Bajoran woman. She had been trying to stop them attempting to force themselves on a Bajoran child. I killed two outright with this, the third got away with a flesh wound. I never saw the child again, but the woman died from her injuries."
"Was she someone you knew?" Alix asked.
"Do you remember me telling you, when I crash landed on Bajor during a training mission in my final year at the Academy, how I was pretty banged up in the landing and that a Bajoran girl looked after me before Federation troops evacuated me?"
Alix nodded, not lifting her head from his shoulder.
"I remember," she admitted. "I took the first shuttle from Harvard as soon as you were back in San Francisco." She could feel the resentment lumping in her chest just as she had when she had first heard Marcus talk about Shanna, and the thought that some Bajoran slut might come between them...
With a nod, Kane continued:
"After graduation, after the loss of the
, I was assigned to Bajor as part of an ongoing intelligence operation to monitor the Cardassian occupation. That's why I was supposedly kicked out of Starfleet and unable to visit you while you were living on Bolius. I was simply unable to leave Bajor until I was officially recalled. It was during that time that I met Shanna again, and that was when I saw those Cardassian bastards beat her to death. I really think you would have liked her."
"I doubt it," Alix replied matter of factly, but with no malice in her voice, and she felt her brother's diaphragm flex beneath her arms as he chuckled silently.
"You would have liked her," he repeated. "That's why I sleep with my hand on a phaser, but not what I needed to tell you."
Sitting back on her heels, Alix adjusted the front of her Tholian silk robe.
"Then what is it?" she asked.
"Those calls you missed last week," he began. "Something
happen to me. We were testing a new warp-capable fighter near Titan, when there was a containment breach in the core, and I had to use the emergency transporter to bail out. I was in a pressurized suit, so would have been fine till the observing shuttle beamed me aboard, but the fighter exploded, and I was hit in the shoulder by a piece of shrapnel. I could hear the suit de-pressurizing, remembered my training for what to do in the event of a hull breach, and then I remember reviving in the medical bay on Titan."
"So they got to you in time and saved you," Alix said, absentmindedly fingering the edge of her robe.
"No, I suffocated and was dead for over half an hour before the shuttle got to me," Kane replied. "Some engine problem of their own. When I revived, the base physician unlocked part of my medical file and showed it to me. Apparently I have extra chromosomal base-pairs, something they called the Lazarus gene, and
is what brought me back.
"They said no one is ever told about it before hand, as sometimes the gene is dormant, but when it is active, upon death, it triggers a backup synaptic system and permanently accelerates the body's regenerative systems, bringing the person back to life, and also rendering them immortal."
"Do you know how crazy that sounds?" Alix asked.
"That's why I couldn't say anything in the restaurant, but have to show you."
Turning, he drew the blade of the tajtiq across the tip of his finger. The razor-sharp blade effortlessly parted the flesh, and dark red blood welled up.
"Ohmigod, are you crazy?!" Alix demanded, immediately using the edge of a sheet to staunch the flow of blood.
"See for yourself," Kane replied, pulling his hand free, and showing a finger tip which was completely undamaged.
Alix's eyes and mouth widened,
"F**k me, that's a good trick!" she gasped.
"Ali, it's no trick," Kane insisted. With swift movements, he slashed the tajtiq across his palm, his wrist, and forearm, opening deep wounds, from which blood freely poured forth. Within seconds of the injuries being inflicted, the skin appeared to liquify, flowing back together, sealing the wounds then resolving with the same texture as the rest of Kane's skin. "I'm not joking with you, I'm immortal."
Alix looked at him as if seeing him for the first time, her face reflecting the whirlwind of thoughts in her mind.
"So you're immortal because of your genetic code?" She mused, no longer looking at her brother, but inwardly focusing on something only she could see. "We're identical twins, we share the same genetic code, apart from how they -- re-engineered me..."
She got up from the bed and began to pace excitedly.
That would mean that
have that gene too! If I activate it, we can
be together... In time, no one would know our past, no one would
"Yes, but they'd probably need to do te -" Kane's musings broke off as he saw Alix leap back onto the bed, her hand diving beneath the pillows, and emerging with the angular form of his prototype phaser. "Ali! What're you doing?!"
Her fingers adjusting the beam controls, she looked up, her eyes alight as if she had experienced an epiphany, and she smiled.
"See you in a minute," she said, raising the emitter cone to her temple.
" Kane yelled, diving forwards in a low tackle.
His shoulder made contact with Alix's hip...
The hiss of the phaser beam impossibly loud in the otherwise silent room
... bringing her down onto the bed, her hair cascading over her face as the phaser clattered to the floor.
Starfleet Command, San Francisco: 2363.01.16, 0115 hours
Cooper slumped back in his chair, shaking his head.
"I don't know what to say," he admitted. "I tried to explain this to you last week. This is why no one is told they carry the gene. Why do you think immortality is made out to be a fairytale?
is why! Because people can't be trusted with their own mortality."
"I didn't think she would do that, I had no idea she would do that..." Kane murmured, pacing the brig as tears fell across his cheeks, before turning to face his mentor. "Why did she do that?"
"Because you showed her the possibility," Cooper sighed massaging his temples. "You proved the impossible and showed her the possibility it could happen to her too."
Kane's face lost all expression, and he sank slowly down the wall till he sat on the floor of the brig.
"I killed my sister..." he murmured. "I killed her..."
"Listen to me, Marc, you can't say that again or Louvois will make sure you spend the next forty years in New Zealand! You did
kill Alix!" Cooper insisted. "She made a mistake and had an accident! You couldn't have anticipated how someone with Alix's perspectives would respond to such life-changing possibilities."
"Absolutely," Parsons contributed. "I saw the events as you accessed them in your memory, and there was nothing you could have done. I will be happy to testify to that if Captain Louvois requires."
"Thank you, both of you," Kane said. "Wes, is there any chance I can have some time to myself?"
"You're going to have to speak with Captain Louvois, there's nothing I can do to prevent that, but I'm sure this will be sorted in a few days," he said. "I can, however, release you back to your apartment if you want?"
"Right now, my apartment is the last place I want to be," Kane replied. "I'm fully aware that I could be discharged for conduct unbecoming an officer, but at the moment I really don't care about that. I just saw my sister kill herself because of something I told her, and I'd like to be alone."
Cooper nodded silently, and escorted Parsons from the brig, leaving his former student alone with his thoughts.
Last edited by marcusdkane; 08-03-2013 at
. Reason: Quick tweaks...