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Requiem for a Life

Posted April 16, 2021, 10:54 a.m. by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) (Lindsay Bayes)

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Requiem for a Life

(snip)

“I’m glad we have an agreement,” Kodell said with a nod. “Follow the rules of my household and work hard, and I promise things will go well for all of us.” He turned to the seller. “Have them cleaned up and ready to go immediately. We’ll be leaving within the hour.”

Faye would have forgiven herself for wondering if she were simply in the midst of some nightmare someone could wake her from, but in that moment all she could think about was that a part of her was glad to just be far away from the smoldering ashes and bloodied bodies that littered her childhood home.

Anything had to be better than staying there, right?

City of Ahmli, Orion

Even with all the information about Kodell she could guess simply from his appearance, his true wealth was written all over the massive manor house her and Cam suddenly found themselves in. That and the fact that he travelled with multiple bodyguards. And the house had pretty impressive security all its own.

It was the prettiest prison she would ever experience.

The head bodyguard, an imposing man named Toz, guided her and Cam through a side entrance and into gleaming hallways. As she cast her gaze about, Faye noted that everything gleamed. It was spectacularly clean and yet at the same time she couldn’t say it was cold. There were overlapping textures that lent an unexpected coziness despite how grand every simple damn space was.

When she saw the room that would be hers, she was subsequently relieved. It was small but brightly lit (even if artificial), but cozy. Cam had a room down the hall that was much the same.

Just before arriving at the manor, they were given the rules. It was all pretty basic and Faye couldn’t say she expected anything different. They would not be allowed to leave the property and for the first while they were considered to be under some sort of probation until it was determined they could be trusted. Until that time was over, they would be restricted to the house itself and even then only certain parts of it. They would be given tasks to do and expected to do that at that best of their ability. What was also made abundantly clear was what would happen if they crossed lines and caused trouble. Basically… they didn’t want to test how serious they were. Kodell’s previous warning about alternative ‘arrangements’ was more than enough to keep them in line. At least for the moment.

The work expected of them was soon explained. Most of it was basic manual labour involved in the upkeep of the household, which both Faye and Cam were well used to from life on Tracken. Faye didn’t mind all that much. She found the physical work helped keep her mind from dwelling on the things she couldn’t quite process. The harder she worked, the more tired she was at the end of the day, and the more likely it was she might sleep.

The nightmares began almost immediately. At least once a night she woke up in a sweat and her startle reflex was now annoyingly sensitive. But there was nothing she could do about any of it, so she just carried on.


Her duster swept along the shelves. Her and Cam crossed paths in their work but often Faye found herself working alone. Even though she knew she was under constant surveillance, she prized these moments even as she worked. She was a servant (her mind fought the word slave) and while it was all menial work, she so far hadn’t found herself treated poorly- except for Dez, the Orion who was some equivalent to a chamberlain. He seemed to treat all “purchased help” with disdain.

Today she was cleaning the third floor common areas, of which one whole side of the wall adjacent to the stairs were covered in bookcases packed to the brim. As the duster caressed the spines and tops of the books Faye would occasionally allow her fingers to pull a book towards her and peek at it. The variety of topics covered and languages the book were written in were vast and it boggled her mind. She had never seen so many books in one place before. Her father would have loved it.

She froze and then pushed him out of her mind. For the time being it was too raw, too new for her to process. Not yet. Later, but not now.

Pulling a book that was written in Orion, Faye’s curiosity got the better of her and she tucked the duster under her arm and began to skim the pages. It had only been a couple weeks, but she already was starting to pick up words here and there. She even understood a few phrases.

“What do you think you’re doing?” a voice said sternly as they got to the top of the stairs. She had been so absorbed she failed to hear them, even though the handwoven runner softened footfalls. Faye jumped, the book tumbling out of her hands.

Kodell stared at her and Faye shrank against the wall. She was in trouble, she knew that much, but she didn’t know where exactly this transgression fell in the scheme of things. “I, I… I’m sorry. I…” Faye realized her entire body was trembling and she hated herself for it. Hadn’t she faced down a Cardassian and survived? This was pathetic.

The Orion stepped up to her and stopped, picking up the book, which was an odd book of verse- old poems and songs nobody likely remembered. “Reading is not a crime, Faye,” he said gently, handing her the book. “Though damaging books might be.”

It made no sense. Everything she understood about how this system of ownership worked was that the less educated and knowledgeable your workers were, the more control you could have over them. And here he was encouraging her?

“It’s not a trick, I promise you”. Kodell smiled.

As she gazed at him, Faye realized he had a calm smile. Soothing almost. He was also younger up close than she had first guessed. Older than her certainly, but not as much as one might have thought by his lifestyle. And she could understand that he truly didn’t mean her harm in this moment. Her hands reached out and her fingers tentatively gripped the book. Still she said nothing, her eyes fixed back on the floor.

“Do you understand any of it?” he asked. Silence. “It’s okay Faye, I’m not angry and you’re not in trouble. Everything is alright.”

Her gaze flicked upwards and Kodell saw the depth of angry, fury really, present. “Everything is not alright! This might be some game to you, but it’s not to me.” She fully expected him to hit her but she jutted out her chin ever so slightly in defiance. Let him hit her, she didn’t care anymore. it was like a switch had gone off inside and whatever game was afoot was of no interest to her.

Kodell’s green eyes stared deeply at her- uncomfortably so. He reached out and almost hesitated as two fingers barely touched the side of her chin, not quite a caress but something similarly tender. “I’m not playing any games. But you’re right, and… I’m sorry.”

Faye stood there shocked into stillness and silence. Kodell simply turned and headed back down the stairs but said as he went, “The bookcases are in a public space and therefore anyone is allowed to borrow the books.” And then he was gone.

She looked down at the book of verse in her hand and then back at the stairs. Here was a man who lived in ostentatious luxury and owned sentient beings. it made her want to vomit! And yet there was more to him then it seemed, and much to her chagrin Faye Calloway was intrigued.

{To be continued…}

~Faye Calloway


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