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Cmdr Waterhouse & Alex Silver - "All The Sinners, Saints"

Posted on 2016-07-22 18:45 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Alex Silver

Mission: Black, White & Red All Over

He'd paced the room for longer than he'd hoped, inspected personal possessions and prepared the PADD Amelia was going to need. The little yapping creature had scuttled off somewhere. Quiet. Less annoying. The property was a nice one, classy, and for a fleeting moment he wondered if he'd chosen a different path he'd have somewhere like this, a partner that cared if he came home at night. He let himself have a moment of normality until he remembered where he was, who his was and what he had to now do.

Taking a seat on a beaten up brown leather sofa, seemed out of place, he waited. While the effect would have the drama the moment called for the reality was the wait was agonising.

Amelia stepped through the front door of the penthouse and stopped just clear of the door sensor when she wasn't greeted by the cacophony of the little green fox running to meet her. Rik wasn't home yet, and she didn't expect him to be given what Sienna had reported and she'd only known a little bit of it, Noah was likely talking Rik's ear off at the moment. She whistled softly, and finally was subject to the yipping she'd expected as Mikey came running out of the bedroom at full speed.

Without warning the silence was broken as barking could be heard from the other room. Alex sighed, show time.

"Rik'll be cross with you if you've been chewing on his slippers again," she admonished as she knelt down to catch the little green creature. Mikey squirmed clear of her grasp, did one lap around her, and headed for the office. "What's wrong with you?" She was slow to follow, pulling out a phaser stashed behind the tea in the kitchen for emergencies, as Mikey slowed on his approach to the office door and started to growl.

As the door opened Alex smirked, the woman walking in with military precision and the little yapping creature darting ahead of her. He didn't flinch, just stared directly at her. Her eyes would adjust to the light in moments and knowing her lineage, she'd shoot first. He didn't really have time to talk her down so instead simply reached into his pocket and pressed a button, disabling all electronic devices in the vicinity. "Good evening Amelia."

"What's the matter with..." Amelia's question died on her lips as she followed Mikey into the office and an unfamiliar voice rose out of the dark at her. She instinctively aimed the phaser, but it didn't respond to her press of the button to fire it.

"Things... You and your people are doing have been brought to my attention. That is never a good thing. Lower the weapon, it won't work in here and any violent act towards me would set off a chain of events that would result in the untimely demise of everyone you love. So, shall we talk?" His British accent cut through the silence and had an eerie calm about it.

"You'd lose as many of yours as I would mine, but I'm open to hearing you out at least," she answered through gritted teeth. She didn't lower the phaser though, and thought about the rest of the arsenal stashed throughout the penthouse — nothing within reach. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light that spilled in through the windows, city lights diffused by the fog, she considered this intruder in her home. She couldn't remember if in their rush to chase the Romulans if they'd engaged the security system on the way out, but that might not have mattered, these shadows didn't seem hindered by such things.

"The reason I can do what I do is by having no one I care about," Alex lied. "It's the only way. As for you Amelia, there's your father... He must be getting rusty, the security system was child's play, your... Brother. Your mother perhaps. Or then there is your lover. One Rik Caine. Interesting man isn't he, caught up so firmly with the past I do wonder if he'll ever know what happened to his baby sister... No matter. The man gave up his life for you and took a command posting with an officer billet. Fascinating." He uncrossed his leg and recrossed the other. The dim light made out the shape of a man, his hair was scruffy, the light danced off his piercing blue eyes and he spoke with the weight of the universe on his shoulders. "Tell me Amelia, how was your visit to Vulcan. Find something?" He asked. At this point it was almost rhetorical.

"I found that your shadows multiply like tribbles, though I suspect they're more like cockroaches... Hiding in the dark until unexpectedly finding themselves in the light," she returned. It didn't take a Betazoid to know what he was here about, and Amelia was getting to the point where she was ready to burn all of the Federation to the ground to remove these pests if it proved necessary. "And while you may see them as replaceable parts, I suspect that they do take some degree of resources to train. Though you don't seem to be allocating enough to their training." Mikey crouched behind her ankles, growling and yipping with his ears pinned down.

Alex chuckled, "well you joined the dots quicker than most... And you've handled yourself well. I won't bother to ask if you want a job doing something that truly matters, shame really." He stood up from the couch and straightened his black side-fastened jacket. Taking a step closer he produced a PADD and offered it. "Aldridge is dead." He said simply. It hadn't quite happened yet but it was inevitable.

"Is he now?" Amelia's question was cool, calculated, carefully hiding the thoughts that ran through her head. If Aldridge was dead, there went their witness to the event that started them down this shadowy path, and suddenly there would be more questions to answer when she passed her information up the chain. She accepted the PADD even as she kept the phaser trained on the man — she knew it wasn't working, clearly he did too, but it provided a degree of familiarity in this situation, and lowering it felt like conceding ground to him. Her eyes darted back and forth between the information on the PADD and the man who stood in front of her, and she skimmed the news article and official federation security report, both dated for tomorrow. "So, considering you managed to get the drop on me, you would have tried to kill me by now if that was your intention. What do you want?"

"S'Blen is dead, Aldridge is dead. My job is to protect the Federation by any means necessary. The means are... Sometimes unconventional," Alex let a small smile crack through the weathered features of his stoic face and took his seat on the couch once more. "But the ends really do justify the means. They died because they are a threat. You and your crew however don't strike me as easily intimidated by the threat of death. I'm not going to stand here and explain who I am or justify myself, this is a courtesy call. Finish your little treasure hunt to work it out your system and then bury it. Because if you don't, another will die." He explained calmly as he nodded to the PADD which came to life and showed a live feed of Rik, broken and beaten, in a small non-descript cell.

Alex watched the woman with interest, "I might add that if I leave here with so much as a scratch, you'll not only never find him, but you'll see his death, knowing you caused it."

A small noise escaped her throat before she could swallow it. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction, but she was certain it was written all over her face. This was why it had been such a fight to get him assigned by her side, why her father had avoided command of a starship with her mother serving under him; in one heart breaking moment, it all made sense. She'd understood academically, but she hasn't truly until now.

"What do I have to do to get him back?" The words tumbled from her lips before she even realized she was saying them. She lowered the phaser, her eyes locked on the PADD in her hands, and tried to will the tears to not come. Mikey whimpered and rubbed against her ankle.

"If it helps, I am sorry it came to this, but there's far more at stake here than you realise. Mr Caine will be our guest for the foreseeable future. If we decide there is no longer a threat, he will be returned and unharmed. The PADD you hold there will show you a live feed so you know I'm keeping my end of the bargain. I wouldn't try and trace the signal or tamper with it though... Not only can it not be traced but it will send a signal to where Mr Caine is being held and result in his termination. So, it's very simple. Whatever you find at the end of this S'Blen treasure hunt never sees the light of day. I hope one day you will understand why this happened. Do we understand one another?"

"If you were sorry, you wouldn't have touched a hair on his head, petaQ," she snapped, baring her teeth. "If you were sorry, you'd tell me how to get him back now, before your poorly trained goons lay hand on him again."

Alex sighed, "I don't think you fully understand who I am. This is not the syndicate or some petty gang or a group of rogue officers. We have the authority to protect the Federation by any means necessary. You aren't getting Mr Caine back until I decide there's no longer a threat. And, if needs be, yes I will kill him. His fate rests entirely in your hands." Alex stood up from the couch, "so, do we have an understanding?" He asked again.

"If you had authority, you would give me an order through the chain of command. It wouldn't be a problem for me to turn in a report, because those above me would know about the situation and assure me it was in hand. But instead you act like syndicate scum, or petty mobsters. So why don't you tell me just what makes you think you have authority," she growled, stepping so close that there was hardly room for anything but breath between them, though she was careful not to actually touch him. Her eyes bore down into him, cold and dark like a winter's storm as she waited for his answer.

"You're not afraid, such a shame we are meeting under these circumstances. I live in a world of secrets, deceit and sabotage designed to protect the Federation from threats that jepodise its very survival." Alex looked up at her and saw the fire in her eyes. He didn't flinch. "My predecessor once gave a Starfleet doctor a lecture on who we were and why people like us are needed, but I won't bother. Article 14, Section 31 of the Starfleet Charter gives me my authority, it's all you need to know."

Amelia almost cursed. She remembered studying the Starfleet charter, she knew and understood the over arching concepts very well, but she has no idea what this article 14, section 31 referred to. She could quote whole passages out of Vulcan math papers in Vulcan and multiple translations into standard, she knew whole sections of Andrea's books as well as she knew her own forehead, but this passage he referenced was a non entity in her mind. She felt trapped and knew she wasn't thinking straight. She needed to step back, and she didn't have any other tricks up her sleeve.

"Get out," she hissed. "As long as I know he's alive, you and your secret will not leave that confines of my crew already involved. But I swear on everything I hold dear, if you harm him further, and especially if you kill him, I will end you if I ever have the misfortune of seeing your smug face again. Are we clear?"

Alex could not help but laugh, "oh if you had any idea what I was capable of Amelia, you probably would not have said that. What you don't release is you have no control here. His life ends the moment I decide it needs to. So threaten me again, reveal anything or even think about trying to save him and I will burn your house down. Your family, your career and this man. I've toppled governments, assassinated presidents and let civilians perish as collateral damage. Trust me when I say this, there is nothing I cannot do and nothing I will not do to achieve what I need. The ends will always justify the means. Take some personal time, redecorate and ditch the battered couch but I swear if your name crosses my desk again... Rik Caine will be returned to you in a body bag. Am I clear?" His voice was calm and cold. He made for the door, "it was good to finally meet, I'll be watching."

She watched him in silence as he left. When she was sure he was gone, she collapsed onto Rik's couch, tears pouring down her face. Mikey jumped up next to her, nosing at her and nuzzling up close. The PADD lay next to her, casting a soft glow in a dim room.

I'll find you, I promise, she thought as she clutched Mikey to herself and a single hand fell to touch the PADD.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Commander Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

Alex Silver
Director, Section 31


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