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RAdm Waterhouse & Ens Lexil | "The Truth Is In The Eye" pt I of II

Posted on 2016-08-11 00:44 by Rear Admiral Corey Waterhouse & Lieutenant JG Lexil

Mission: Black, White & Red All Over
Location: Waterhouse-Caine Penthouse

Lexil paced quickly down the sidewalk in her bare feet. The address she was looking for was somewhere along this street and if the surrounding buildings were anything to go by was probably a high-rise. She wondered as she padded down the empty roads of San Francisco what kind of person lived in the penthouse of such a building and not for the first time she wondered not only what this Amelia Waterhouse was like but whether she was even doing the right thing by finding her. It was starting to get light and the chances that the body had been found grew exponentially with the sun which, unbeknown to Lexil, began to peer over the east horizon with an orange flame like an eager house Cat peering over the kitchen counter looking for food. It was still the time of day when wearing a clubbing dress and carrying one's heels wasn't too out of place but that window would soon be over. She counted the numbers on the buildings as she went, impatient and concerned. Eventually, gloriously, intimidatingly she arrived, looking up and scanning the myriad of windows on the front face of the tower, most of which were dark and shadowy, the occasional square of light punctuating the sheer face of glass and stone.

Lexil turned off the sidewalk and wearily marched the last few steps to the entrance. Denobulans rarely slept, apart from their yearly hibernation cycle, but she had been on her feet for hours and pounding the pavement without any footwear. Heels were fine for clubbing but for the long distance she had chosen aching soles over epic blisters and as she reached the intercom decided most certainly that she had made the correct choice. The intercom binged expectantly.

"Amelia Waterhouse," Lexil stated, quickly turning behind her to check there was still no one around. The intercom showed her voice pattern and in recognition displayed the name "Amelia Waterhouse" on its blue display, accompanied by a series of double bings to denote it was ringing the apartment. This was Lexil's last chance to back out. She stood her ground.

Up in the penthouse, a green blur moved from the main room to the small room with the penthouse's computer core. It circled once, twice, three times, yipping excitedly around the ankles of the silvery blond man who stood at that computer's controls.

"I've already spoiled you enough for this visit, you little rascal," the man chastised, and the blur slowed down enough to resemble a fox again. The creature whimpered, and caught the man's pant leg in his teeth, trying to back up out the door to the main room. "What?" Then he heard it, the chime to the intercom connected to the street level access. He picked up the phaser that Amelia had insisted he keep at his side, and moved to respond.

The video feed showed a Denobulan woman waiting for an answer, and he recognized her as one of his daughter's crew, so he touched the screen to accept the call. "I'm sorry, Commander Waterhouse isn't in. I'm her father, can I help?"

Lexil sighed inside with both relief and frustration. She had the right place but at no point had she considered that Amelia Waterhouse may not be at home. Commander Waterhouse. So she was Starfleet. When the man had told Lexil not to use a combadge... that meant both 'sides' of this were within the Federation. But what to reply? How to say it? She had to come up with an answer and quickly, especially if it was going to sound believable. She looked at the words "Amelia Waterhouse" on the intercom that had now turned from blue to green and decided to go with the truth, or a version of it.

"I have a message for her from a mutual friend. Will she be back any time soon?" Lexil asked, as casually as she could.

"I'm not sure when she's due back," came the answer as Corey thought. He hadn't finished the sweep of the whole penthouse for bugs, he'd just started inspecting the computer core because that was the easiest way to route data out without drawing attention, but he'd already cleared the balcony in order to be able to talk with Amelia earlier. "Come up, I'll get you some tea, and we'll see if we can get in touch with her?" Corey touched the button to open the lift for the woman, and behind him Mikey pinned his ears back and growled. Corey knew the creature recognized the tone, and suspected he'd grown wary of visitors.

Lexil considered this for a moment. By going up she was putting herself in danger, but by abandoning this plan and reporting to Starfleet she was also putting herself in danger. At least she had had no warnings that this man is going to try to kill her. It was tea or death and she knew which option tasted better.

"Great, thanks!" She replied enthusiastically and pushed open the glass door as she heard the lock click open.

Lexil exited the elevator. It was a private affair that led straight to the penthouse and the surroundings of the hallway including the elevator itself were appointed accordingly. By contrast she knew there was no point trying to make herself look as presentable, she looked like shit. She took a deep breath, regarding the door for a moment, hoping it would open to reveal answers to the many questions that had been posed to her that morning. She touched the door chime which, like the intercom below turned from blue to green.

"Come in," Corey directed, triggering the voice command to unlock the door. He waited in the living room, just in view from the door but with a degree of cover and the phaser at hand. While he didn't feel he had reason to mistrust the young woman, he had no way to know if anyone had managed to gain control of her through force or blackmail, so he did need to play it safe. He kept the phaser out of sight for now, planning to explain it should it not be needed. Amelia had made it clear that he needed to expect the worst, then prepare for worse than that, even though she hadn't specifically told him why.

Lexil walked slowly and carefully through the door. She checked out the new surroundings in a manner designed to look like she was just curious rather than looking for potential threats, which was what she was actually doing. The place was nice, very nice although not quite as large as she had expected. She was still improvising, still acting and until she knew what was going on that wouldn’t change. She stopped a few paces into the apartment, keeping plenty of distance between herself and the man in the living room, presumably the one who had buzzed her up. In the brighter light of the apartment the state she was in really became clear. There were smudges of brown and red and pink on her left cheek, her knees and her hands, which featured delightfully encrusted blood around her fingernails. Her make-up had held out okay but her hair had gotten a little matted and could use a good brush at the bare minimum. She tried to adopt a neutral expression but she couldn’t help but look a little worried.

"I have a message..." she started in soft and carefully chosen words, "for Amelia Waterhouse. It’s about Rik and Verity."

As she looked around, Corey looked her over. He noted the shoes in hand, bare feet, and the dark red-brown around her fingernails — most people would assume blood but he wouldn't, he'd wait for confirmation. She clearly looked like she'd been on a nice night out, her makeup and dress still a testament despite the evidence of what had turned into a long night.

"Computer, secure penthouse, authorization Corey Waterhouse Four Tango Bravo Juliet Hotel," he directed, setting the phaser aside and approaching the woman slowly. He knew the quick sweep between the balcony and the computer core room hasn't found any bugs, but he wouldn't be assured until he'd done the more thorough scan that had been next in his to do list. "Amelia's off comms currently, I'm not sure when she'll be back. Would you like to clean up and wait? Or I can see if I can help?"

Lexil watched him put down the weapon. A phaser? Why did he need a phaser? Whatever was going on he must be at least in part aware of it. People didn’t just carry phasers in San Francisco. Were whoever killed the man in the alley the same people he was protecting himself against? His warning ran through her mind. Were these people also within Starfleet? The father of a federation officer... this must be something internal. Lexil considered her options for a moment. What piqued her curiosity was that this man -Amelia’s father supposedly- didn’t bat an eyelid at the blood, or at her showing up at dawn unannounced. He looked intelligent, self assured and quite neat, despite the grubby overalls and tools. If she refused the chance to clean up that would look odd. Perhaps by doing so they could move into a more informal conversation and she could learn more about this whole mess.

"I certainly need to clean up!" she exclaimed, wide eyed and looking herself up and down and flashed him a cat-like grin. "May I use your shower?"

"Right through the master suite, forgive the mess, Pond's usually much more tidy but..." Corey paused, he wasn't sure how much to say. He didn't want to scare her off without either getting the message or determining it was safe to send her along to where he knew Amelia would be.

As Corey considered what else to say, Mikey started to creep forward from where he'd silently crouched behind Corey. Staying low to the carpet, the green fox crossed the space between the two people in nearly a blur, and circled Lexil as he sniffed. His cold nose brushed the Denobulan's ankle, and he started to yip excitedly until the word for come tumbled from Corey's lips in an awkward heavily accented Orion. Mikey looked at Corey a long moment, then sat where he was, tail flicking across the carpet behind him.

Lexil grinned at the little green fox. "Isn't he cute!" she said, kneeling down and holding a hand out for Mikey to sniff. "What's his name?" she asked Corey, looking up.

"We call him Mikey, short for Michelangelo," Corey answered, as Mikey moved forward to sniff at Lexil's hand. "He's named after an old Earth renaissance artist." Even though he knew Amelia really named the creature after the comic book character, he'd caught her on more than one occasion claiming that she'd gotten the name from the artist the character was named for. He wasn't about to compromise his daughter's command by leaking such delicate information.

"Ah." Lexil cocked her head to the right and smiled wistfully at Mikey. She put her hands on her knees and pushed herself up wearily, looking back at Corey after inspecting her grubby fingernails for a moment. "Uhh... my this is awkward. Could I use your replicator? Between me and you, bloodstains tend to attract the wrong sort of attention."

Well, it was out there now. She was fairly sure he must have noticed anyway.

"Less awkward than asking me to help you dispose of a body. My back isn't up for the heavy lifting anymore. Once you become brass, people think you can't carry more than a PADD without help, so I'm a little out of practice," he quipped before he thought about it, then cleared his throat. People who knew his sense of humor wouldn't bat an eyelash at such a joke, and he'd broken ice in a few briefings over the years at the shipyards with similar, but this young woman was a stranger and just had a rough night. "Replicator is in the kitchen."

If Lexil was surprised by this discourse she certainly hid it well.

"It's not my responsibility to hide the body," she returned in a matter of fact tone, "I wasn't the one who killed him." She walked quickly into the kitchen and stood for a moment sizing up the replicator before starting to key in criteria for replacement clothing. She held out her arms as a small beam took a scan of her for measurements and after a short sequence of beeps denoting the pressing of keys the replicator hummed into action. Lexil picked up the pile of clothes topped with a black towel and walked back into the lounge.

"That poor man," she said to Corey, her expression slightly softer and more thoughtful, "I didn't even know his name."

As she'd moved around, Mikey had followed at her heels. Corey quietly considered her response, attempting to piece together the implications of what she'd said. He wanted to ask her about the man who'd died, but it was rude to keep her from cleaning up.

"I'll be waiting on the balcony with tea, when you're done," he stated simply. There would be enough time to verify the the changes he'd made to the computer core while the kettle boiled.

Lexil smiled a thank you to him before setting off across the apartment, feeling incredibly conspicuous. Her attire, so appropriate for the previous night at this time and in this setting just felt silly, something that had not occurred to her until now. She wondered how she must come across to Corey as she moved into the bedroom and, entirely ignoring the mess on the bed, through into the bathroom. The little green fox continued to follow her but stopped outside the bathroom door as if he knew not to go in, Commander Waterhouse obviously had him well trained. She gave him a cheeky smile and locked the door securely behind her.

The shower was glorious, a really high end affair with sonic and water options available. Lexil started with the former to get rid of all the blood and dirt, she had had quite enough of it for now. She watched it disappear down the drain as she washed her hair using the giant water shower head but had to look away as images of the dying man flashed through her mind. Lexil considered herself to be adaptable but her comfort zone was on a completely different planet from where she was now. Compounding not knowing what was going on she didn't know where she was, who she was with or even what to make of herself. It was an ugly feeling and as the orange sun rounded a building and threw light through the frosted bathroom window it only added to her lifelong dislike of the early morning. Some said it was a wonderful peaceful time. Lexil could only travel back to a morning many years before, a time of pain, anger and confusion. She moved her head under the stream of water again and washed what she could of those memories out of her conscious mind.

=/\= To Be Continued =/\=

Rear Admiral Corey Waterhouse
Fighter Design Team Lead
Co-Creator Project Torchwood
Utopia Planitia

Ensign Lexil
Stellar Cartographer
USS Joshua Norton


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