STF

Sickbay ...When the past doesn't match the present...or the future

Posted Dec. 1, 2021, 3:17 p.m. by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) (Kate O'Neill)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in Sickbay …When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future

Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (child) in Sickbay …When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in Sickbay …When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by… suppressed (1) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Snip
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Atlantis sick bay
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“I’ve got some questions you need to answer,” was the last thing Jessa remembered before her eyes flew open and she gasped in a huge gulp of air. Her heart was racing and she pressed back hard into the bed looking around. Waking up however did not help with the flood of anxiety that had filled her sleep. It only filled her with more confusion. Jessa ignored the large man’s questions as she fought the fogginess in her mind. She had to find something to ground her to stop the panic from swelling in her mind like Pellan had taught her. focus on what you know. Knowing is control a voice said in her mind. What did she know right now. Taking a second to orient herself and the people in the room one thing was abundantly clear. Jessa was not on a Galactic Union ship nor were the men in the room Elders or Parliamentarians. Thier uniforms were not like anything Jessa had ever seen…or were they. Something seemed vaguely familiar.

Taking a few deep breaths she looked around the room and focused on the only thing that was familiar: The large green alien in the room who asked the question. Why was he familiar? He was the one that attacked them. Jessa’s hand moved up to her neck feeling the small bandage. The spot was tender but didn’t hurt unless she pressed it. Things had happened so fast but it was slowly coming back the more Jessa thought about it. She took a steadying breath before she asked her question. She had to appear confident and in control. Relaxing the tension in her body, Jessa concentrated on laying back in the bed and keeping her breathing slow and regular. “Did you kill my companions,” she asked dreading his response. If it was yes, Jessa was in a lot more trouble than she could deal with. If the answer was no, there was still hope the mission could be completed.

Jessa Novar (Currently the crew only knows as Jane Doe)

Entering the room, Lauren did not stop Mardusk and the others in the room from talking to the kid. For now it was purely to be there if the kid needed another sedative. While Lauren did have some sympathies for the kid, she also knew kids could be unpredictable. Until they had more answers to the questions, things were going to be tense.

Lauren Shan.

Mardusk looked at the girl for a long moment, shimmering emerald green eyes takig in every detail. After a few long, silent moments, he said “No, kid. I didn’t. But your friends did a hell of a number on my Captain, and I don’t tolerate that kind of thing. “

The breath Jessa had been holding escaped in a small puff. She visibly relaxed processing the information the alien had supplied her. It had nothing to do with worrying about Zala Tsu and the other’s safety. Jessa knew they could take care of themselves. It was more that the mission was still viable and she did not have to do it alone. The man did not seem the type to be interrupted but Jessa took the chance. She felt in her gut this would be a one time thing he allowed so Jessa pressed one more question. “Where are they?”

” They in holding. Safe, conscious, and uninjured. But they are in my custody. Now…” and he moved slowly and half-sat on the bed, his eyes never leaving her.

Jessa watched him intently but with him moving it was not so easy to keep her eyes on both the men in the room and the doctor moving about. The doctor was way out of her peripheral vision but for the moment the man at the door that came in with the green alien seemed to be standing still. Shifting her body slightly Jessa let it appear she was moving back from the alien. In truth, she was just angling herself so she could keep both men in her line of vision better sitting in this new position.

“My name is Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk. I am in charge of Security on this ship. I also handle any investigations related to criminal activity. So that means I need to ask you a couple of questions, ok? But we’ll start small and easy and work our way up to the bigger stuff, alright? Now then… whats your name?” His voice was low, even, and pleasant. Conversational, not accusatory.

Mardusk, CoS

Hearing his name, Jessa burned every detail she could about him in her memory. The only name they had before setting foot on the ship was Ian Bordeaux. Now she had the supposedly head of security Gravel Mardusk. The more names she knew the better. Jessa sat in the bed and bit her lip thinking of how to respond. If he was asking her name that meant he didn’t know it. She could tell him anything and he would believe it unless he knew everything and this was just a test. If that was the case this was all a game and Zala Tsu’s warning was correct. They would never be honest: only lie and deceive to stop the mission. Jessa licked her lips to buy time to answer. Such a simple question but the answer was as important as the winning hand in a Rotar game. “Kaliea. Kaliea Soone,” she replied confidently. If he didn’t know her name, he would accept anything. “My turn,” she immediately fired back. “Who is he and Why did you attack us with the light weapon?” Jessa left no room for him to interrupt her. Whatever they used to get them on the ship, she needed to find more about it. She let her eyes dart briefly to the side where Odinson stood.

Jessa Novar (aka Jane doe. aka Kaliea Soone)

Mardusk was really strong. He could take a full stun phaser shot and not go down. But what made him really good at his job was a muscle most people really underestimated in him… his mind. He was sharp… and he could read people so well it was sometimes weird. So when she said her name, his eyes narrowed a bit and he took a breath and slowly exhaled. “First, we fired only after your companion threw our Captain into the ceiling. We gave him the choice to stop and be peaceful. He chose… poorly.” and he took another breath. “And then we moved because the woman with you opened a vein in your neck and you were going to die. So… since I saved your life… how about you return the favor and tell me your real name?”

Mardusk, CoS

Jessa opened her mouth to cut him off but decided against it. Listening intently she turned her head to the side slightly as if intently studying something. Her forehead wrinkled up in confusion and she pursed her lips slightly. “So you only participate in aggressive negotiations and deception instead of negotiations and diplomacy? I only say that ‘cause the way I saw it you came barreling at me like a bartock stuck in the ass by a trichbee. I seem to remember being fine until you body-slammed me on the deck and then I started bleeding. Zala had no reason to hurt me but you all did. See I might have had a better recollection of events if I wasn’t worried about my ass being shot by your weapons fire,” Jessa crossed her arms in the bed. “As to Da Mu defending us against your captain,” Jessa let her voice pause for a second. She really had no idea what had happened there which was highly problematic for her. Rogan and Da Mu had had her hidden behind their bodies. She had heard the decoy claim they were the captain but did not see any of it. Still, she needed this Mardusk to understand none of the Elders would ever provoke an attack which is why she altered the word to defend. They would only defend against someone so his story did not make any sense with what she knew and had been taught.

“I am sorry about your officer, ” Jessa decided to curb the anger growing inside her. Letting out her anger was a sign of weakness and she could not afford to let them see how lost and confused she was. Of everything that had happened the one thing Jessa knew was the person they presented was not the captain which is why she chose to use the word officer instead. “I hope she is okay,” she replied sincerely. “I really hope she is but you have done nothing but attack and deceive us since our arrival. You kidnapped us off the Beacon, start off diplomatic relations with an imposter, and then,” she stressed the conjunction, “tried to turn us into Paldathan cheese. Attacked, lied, attacked,” she held up a finger with each word. “Why don’t you think we wouldn’t defend ourselves when you forcibly removed us off our ship with that light weapon of yours and placed us in a metal room with only one exit you have covered with soldiers. If that is how you say hello let me show you how we do it. Hi I’m Kaliea Soone so nice to meet you,” she stuck out her hand sarcastically.

Jessa Novar

Mardusk didn’t move, didn’t take the hand… didn’t speak. He just… looked at her. For a very long time. He then looked at the security Ensign and nodded once. The Ensign handed Gravel a PaDD and Mardusk turned it to face the young girl. The vid feeds of the hangar began playing.

Mardusk, CoS

Jessa looked at the feed and immediately sat up a little bit straighter. There were four screens playing showing all different angles but the largest and most pronounced was a side view of the crew of the ship meeting the Elders. This was the one he wanted Jessa to see and the one she wanted to see; however, all the various angles placed the occupants in the room in real-time of the event. Jessa watched and heard the woman claiming to be the captain address Zala Tsu. She clenched her jaw tightly concentrating on biting down to hide as much emotion on her face as she watched what followed because what she saw did not make sense. Sure the crew presented a decoy but nothing in the vid showed the crew attacking before Da Mu reacted. Seeing the way the woman impacted the ceiling of the room made Jessa close her eyes to erase the image from her mind. Opening them, Jessa looked away trying to make sense of what she saw. She had to have missed something. A blade, a beam…something had to have provoked Da Mu into reacting the way he did. There was only one way to figure this out.

“Replay,” she demanded rapidly hitting the display that was held before her. The symbols on the screen were foreign to Jessa so she had no way to replay it by herself. When it continued to play, Jessa became more agitated. “I said replay it!” Her breathing became more shallow and faster showing the tension building in the kid’s body as she slapped at the screen hoping to randomly activate the recording from the start again.

Settling some Jessa sat up concentrating more intently on the screen once Mardusk started it from the beginning. Unfortunately the second time around, even focusing on the crew, there was nothing to indicate they attacked the Elders. Jessa chewed her lip not stopping the vid again but watching it and trying to marry what she knew to be true with what she was seeing.

Zala, you said no one would be hurt. Jessa heard her own voice feeling a slight twinge of unease. This was the part she had seen and didn’t understand even the second time around. Her mind was not playing tricks. The woman pretending to be the captain was hurt and by the way she hung limply in Da Mu’s grasp, badly. All the mission parameters said this would be nonviolent and yet someone had been hurt and for no apparent reason.

Jessa felt like the room was spinning as she watched Zala offer her up as a sacrificial lomba to the slaughter. Her hand rose to the bandage on her neck for a second before sliding back down to her lap. We had to protect you. They are everything we have been told. They do not value life but mock it. We came in peace. They came with armed men. Every word spilling from Zala Tsu’s lips was a lie or was it the truth and these people were just twisting things to make her turn against her own people? Zala said that was what they would do. She said it even before they arrived on the ship and repeated it before the violence started. Zala Tsu was an Elder. Elders were people you could trust but had she ever really trusted Zala Tsu. The answer was no but could she trust these people. The answer also was no. The Elders had been invited here but these people had been acting from the start like Jessa and the Elders were the enemy. Her head was starting to ache as Jessa tried to make all the pieces make sense. Zoning out from the vid, she only snapped back to the present when she heard her name. Let me introduce you to Jessa. This sentence caused her eyes to snap back to the large green alien half sitting on her bed.

She resisted the urge to call them and their vid a lie. There would be time to do that later. Jessa had to get her emotions under control. She had the mission to think about and it was clear, these people only wanted revenge for what had happened to their officer. As much as she hated it, Jessa would accept their version of the events for now until she spoke with Zala Tsu and the other elders. If what she has seen was fact and not clever editing it had to have been done for the success of the mission. Nothing or no one was more important than the mission. “My name is Jessa but you already knew that,” she said feeling a bit more confident as she focused on the things that were fact. There was only one person who could clear things up. She needed to talk to her. The more a new plan started to form in Jessa’s mind, the more confident she felt. “You said the Elders are safe, conscious, and uninjured. Take me to them,” Jessa ordered calmly as she pulled off the covers from the bed and prepared to stand up.

Jessa Novar

Mardusk put a hand gently on her shoulder and held her to the bed as gently as he could. “Easy, kid. You aren’t cleared by Medical to go anywhere yet, so relax. And let’s you and I get something clear right now. You don’t give orders. You sit, and you answer questions. If… and thats a formidable if… you can show me you can be honest and help us figure out just what is going on, then maybe I’ll take you to them. But first you have questions to answer. Like why are you here? And what is your interest in Ian Boudreaux?” and a thought sparked in his mind.

“I mean… is it something more than a family reunion?”

Mardusk, CoS

The man’s tone was gentle but firm. He did not scream but the weight of his words felt like a punch to her gut. He might have questions but Jessa had questions ten-fold.
She needed to talk to Zala Tsu before saying anything else. If the plan had gone from peaceful negotiations to attacking the crew at all costs, Jessa needed to know this.
The only people that could confirm how and why the plan changed were sitting somewhere in this ship. Until she spoke to them, Jessa was no longer going to speak to anyone.

Letting her eyes dart around the room, Jessa caught a glimpse of the two men stationed outside the door to the room she was lying in. She might not be in a holding cell like Zala Tsu, Da Mu or Rogan, but she was a prisoner. The comment about criminal activity and his job title sprang to the front of her mind. This was not a friendly chat. The man was serious about asking some questions and getting some answers. She needed to make sure the green man knew her own request carried weight and could not be dismissed so easily. “I am not going to just sit here Mardusk until you deem it’s fine for me to walk out that door,” Jessa spat his name out without any title or honorific.

“Not me, Jessa… the doctor.”

“Wait…huh,” she looked at him confused. Jessa had expected Mardusk to become verbose and use his physical build as a weapon. When he did not, it threw her for a minute.

“Hello,” Lauren waved her hand with a half smile half sarcastic grin. “That would be me. Dr. Lauren Shan but you can call me doc, Lauren, or pretty much anything. Can I get you anything? Water or something to eat maybe?” Moving from slightly behind Jessa’s field of vision, Lauren moved to the wall slightly in front of Mardusk but out of the kids reach. Leaning back casually she held the PaDD and propped one foot on the wall to hold her in place. She may not like what was going on right now but she understood why it was occurring. She also knew that no matter how anyone felt right now, they all had to appear to be on the same team. If this kid noticed anything but a united front, Lauren knew Jessa would try to use it for her advantage. This was why Lauren concentrated on the perception of her greeting. The words were warm and friendly but her position behind Mardusk was a subtle gesture she knew Jessa would be smart enough to comprehend. Lauren had the power to clear her from medical or throw out the people in the room. Instead, she made sure her dialogue supported Mardusk’s stance that he was in charge and had no plan to release her until the security chief gave the okay.

Jessa looked at Mardusk and then Lauren like the two adults in the room were crazy. “Did you just offer me refreshments?” Her voice and tone indicated that Jessa thought this was the most ludacris thing she had ever heard.

“Yes I did,” Lauren said calmly and with a neutral expression.

Looking back at Mardusk, Jessa shook her head as if to wipe the conversation out of her mind. Yes she was getting hungry and a drink would not be the worst thing in the world, but she could get something later back on the Beacon of Hope.

“I am a representative of the Gala,” she casually tried to bat his hand off her since his touch was so light and meant to suggest she remain in place instead of physically holding her there. The problem was her shove did not move his hand an inch and Jessa used a decent amount of force. Looking at him, Jessa immediately accepted two facts. One, the man saw himself in control of this situation, not her. Two, he saw her not as an equal but as a kid. Translated in Jessa’s mind these two facts meant he expected her to comply with his request before she would gain anything in return. Jessa Novar was going to have to show him how wrong he was.

“Get,” Jessa snapped angrily putting her hand over Mardusk’s as she tried to push it off. The man had used very little pressure so it should have been easy to knock it off her however, the second she touched him, he matched her strength just incrementally stronger to stop her action. “Get your,” Jessa closed her fingers the best she could around his wrist to push him off her yet again Mardusk matched her force just enough so that her action was futile.

Mardusk was careful not to hold her too hard, not cause her any true pain. But he also wasn’t going to let her, first, further harm herself; or second, get away.

“Ugh get off…me,” Jessa struggled pushing back farther in the bed and placed a foot on his body to give her leverage to now pry his arm off her shoulder. This man was definitely going to be a challenge to get past. If she was just standing or had some room to maneuver, Jessa had a few tricks that might surprise him. Being semi pinned to the bed with the tree trunk of his arm though prevented any real way for her to take him on.

“Lemme go. Let....me....go,” Jessa yelled out struggling and twisting on the bed sliding into a panicked phase. The man’s strength was incredible. If he had wanted to use true force on Jessa, there would have been no way she could have moved. This revelation was not missed by Jessa nor was the fact Mardusk was only using an open palm flat against her shoulder to keep her in place instead of physically grabbing her.

“Stop, Jessa… stop. YOu can’t win this, and I really don’t want to escalate this, okay? Relax. You need to take a breath and think.” Mardusk said firmly.

“Think…think about how you are holding me hostage. Stripping me of my Galactic Union rights. Isolating me,” she felt the tension in her body rising as a sweat was starting to break out on her body and yet this large green alien looked like he could be relaxing back on a beach somewhere.

Not caring about what anyone was saying, Jessa put both hands on Mardusk’s wrist trying to lift it off her body as she dug her heel into the thick quadricep muscle of his leg. Her struggling was getting far more aggressive than the restraint Mardusk was applying. “Take me to the Elders. Get your mother triffing hands off me you triffing varphole.” While the words were not anything Mardusk or anyone had ever heard before their meaning was quite clear. The little blonde in the bed had a mouth like a sailor in a bar fight on shore leave.

Gravel smiled slightly and chuckled under his breath. “Yeah… you sound like me when I get pissed off.”

The fact her slurry of profanity did not phase him irked Jessa slightly. Normally a speech like that would get her a sharp reprimand but this Mardusk was acting like she had yelled out golly gee wilikers. Jessa needed to provoke the man. The reason for this was simple. When people got emotional they did not think clearly. Jessa needed Mardusk to react out of emotion and not logic. Only then would she be able to take control of the situation.

Understanding the only thing going for her at this time was the large green alien was not trying to hurt her, only contain her, Jessa used that to her advantage. Twisting her body she sunk her teeth into Mardusk’s wrist and bit down hard. With any luck, he would move enough so she could slide out from under his hand and off the side of the bed. Only one thought was driving her now. Get out of this room and find her allies. The success of everything relied on that.

Jessa Novar

The guards saw and took a step, but Mardusk simply held up a finger on the hand that wasn’t attached to Jessa’s teeth and stopped them.

It was like biting into semi-rigid thermal insulation. Really tough, and very unyielding. Her teeth could get a purchase, sure… but it seemed the harder she bit the more firm the flesh became. Mardusk took a breath and looked down at her with a look that Really? We are going there? and he shook his head slightly as he reached up and, with a move born of practice and necessity, he put his thumb on one side of her jaw and his fingers on the other and simply squeezed slightly and pushed the hinge of her jaw open and moved his wrist further away from her mouth while still holding her flat.

Jessa felt the man’s hand grab her jaw. Ah triffe me, she thought as he did not try to pry her mouth open but simply pressed between her molars so that if by magic her mouth slowly opened. She had fully expected for him to hit her or at least draw back off the bed. Now she knew why he had sat where he did on the bed. It was too close for her to get out of the bed, however, it was just far enough that she could not get any power or leverage in a kick or punch. This man was not only strong, he was highly intelligent. As her mouth popped open, the large green alien spoke.

ENOUGH.” he said sharply and with a tone of authority that harbored no sense that his order was not to be adhered to. “You want something from me, yeah? Well… this is certainly not the f@<king way to go about it, ya hear me? So choose now. You and I talk like civil people having an honest conversation, or I get the doc over here to sedate you and turn you and your people over to the nearest station and you never lay eyes on Ian Bordeaux ever.

His words instantly took the fire out of Jessa’s eyes. The look she wore was as it he had slapped her not with words but his open hand. Jessa gave up completely struggling and fighting, sitting perfectly still and quiet as he spoke. Mardusk had struck a chord and Jessa’s worst fear rang out from the promise he was making her. Licking her lips Jessa blurted out. “You can’t,” but Mardusk continued. Just as Jessa had expected, he was not the type to be interrupted when he spoke. She had wasted the one chance he allowed her to learn this fact twenty minutes ago.

” You will be seperated, confined in a cell on penal worlds far from each other, and never see one another again. Thats the choice you are leaving me with. So? Pick now, because you are really not in a position to negotiate and here shortly I am going to get really tired of trying to treat you like anything other than a suspect in the attempted murder of a Star Fleet officer and terrorists who committed and act of war on a sovereign vessel of the United Federation of Planets.” Mardusk still wasn’t loud, still wasn’t angry (at least on the outside)… but it was obvious that his patience had limits. He was also playing a card. The girl was obviously very intelligent. And she was obviously torn between something, although the what Gravel didn’t know. But perhaps… just perhaps… that intellect, coupled with the actual severity of the crimes he was talking about her facing, would shake something loose.

Mardusk, CoS

Jessa did not have some snappy comeback or sarcastic comment. She had reverted to the tried and true comment of youth. “You can’t do that,” she yelled out for the first time showing her age. “People are counting on us. You have to let us go.” she had almost a whine to her voice. Jessa was not worried about imprisonment. Someone would come for her eventually but she could not be left or separated from the group. While Mardusk might think she was worried about being alone, Jessa was far more worried about being left if the Elders completed the mission and she was not present. Orders that nothing was more important than the mission sounded fine until one realized you were the one that was expendable. The mission dictated the get the prism and get home. If they were in prison this would make the task incredibly difficult and too many people were counting on them to fail.

Not resorting to fighting a battle she could not win had given Jessa the time to think and not let her emotions cloud her judgment. Sitting in silence for a second, Jessa’s head swam processing everything the man said. Even if these people were on the outskirts of civilized space, they had to have some sort of legal system. There was only one play left right now. “I request asylum and a legal droid,” she blurted out confidently. All the childish panic and fear had left her voice. Taking a deep breath Jessa felt far more in control and therefore relaxed. Pellan always taught them that facts conquered fear. If Mardusk was threatening penal colonies, that meant there had to be a way to get sent to them which concluded they had a legal system. “I am a minor and request all proceedings go through my appointed guardian, the Elder Rogan.” She had no idea if they would believe that or not but the man was human. It was at least plausible.

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Waiting area inside Sickbay
=======================

The commotion and noise was not hard to miss. It also signaled that the fourth person who had boarded the Atlantis was now awake and alert. Ian did not pause as he stood up and walked away from the small seat outside of Evrilla’s office. All he cared about was knowing if Kelly was okay. A nurse had confirmed as much. Whatever else she had to say to him could wait. It was time to start acting like the chief diplomatic officer and not a husband. Moving from her office Ian crossed the breadth of sickbay in purposeful strides heading to the one place deemed off-limits.

“Sir, I need you to back up,” the man at the door immediately called out knowing Ian was headed towards him.

“Lt. I need you to back away from that door now,” Ian’s voice was steady but firm. Nothing was going to stop Ian from entering that room. The individual inside the room clearly was out of immediate danger and could not be contagious with Odinson, Mardusk, and the doc in the room and not in hazmat suits.

“SIr you know I can’t do that,” the Lt replied in an equally steady cadence. “I have orders,”

“And I have orders from Fleet Admiral Kirsten Clancy that says I am to engage in open discussions with the visitors one of which is in that room,” Ian pointed a finger just for emphasis. “If Commander Mardusk has an issue with this he can take it up with the command in chief of Starfleet,” Ian snapped. A long moment of silence was ended with Jessa’s request floating out of the room.

“I request asylum and a legal droid. I am a minor and request all proceedings go through my appointed guardian, the Elder Rogan,” Jessa’s voice easily carried past the isolation barrier in sickbay and was clearly heard but everyone eavesdropping on the conversation. The field was never meant to be a holding cell except to keep infectious agents and material contained.

“You ready to also strip away the rights of someone claiming asylum or requesting legal aid to the list too? Thought so,” he snapped leveling a firm gaze at the man guarding the door. Right now he did not care about the man and his orders. If Mardusk had an issue with him entering, Mardusk could take it up with Clancy.

Not waiting for a further exchange of words Ian pushed past the officer entering the now slightly crowded sickbay room. Finally seeing the fourth member of the group that had boarded the Atlantis slightly took Ian back. She was young like the rumors stated. This was a huge advantage for Ian. Kids were easily convinced to talk and share far more than adults.

“Asylum is not a guaranteed thing Miss Doe,” Ian immediately began to address the child in the bed after glancing at the name listed above her bed. There was no indication Ian had any idea who the person on the bed was or that there was any connection to him. “You have to apply for it and your application has to be granted. To be eligible you have to one,” Ian started to count off the requirements, ” show that there are changes in conditions in your country of nationality meaning you are stateless. Two is you fear persecution upon returning home. There are extraordinary circumstances that are not limited to serious illness or mental or physical disability which you clearly have in spades with the company you are traveling with and or Legal disability, such as your status as an unaccompanied minor. Now I am going to take a wild guess and say you have that one nailed up too but are going to claim otherwise; however, I am sure Commander Mardusk here has pointed out that violent crimes or acts of terrorism can nullify your request.” Ian stopped his speech trying to judge how much of what he said was absorbed by the girl in the bed. “So balls in you court kiddo. Are you batting it back and going to start playing ball with us or do I walk out that door and get you some prison orange?”

“My name is Jessa Novar, not Jane Doe,” she said no longer caring about Mardusk. Whoever this man was, he seemed to be offering her something different than the green security officer. Nothing about her expression or demeanor indicated she had any idea who she was speaking with. “I wish to speak with an ambassador or representative of the Galactic Union and secure a legal droid” she repeated her request leaning back slightly on the bed. There were many times diplomacy did not work however Zala Tsu’s brute force method had only served to cause more issues than they needed. Maybe a few diplomats clashing was not such a bad thing in this situation.

“Then I suggest you start answering whatever questions Commander Mardusk has asked you,” Ian pulled up a chair and took a seat in the room. There would be time later to battle it out with Mardusk. Right now the Atlantis needed information. Once they had gleaned all they could get out of this girl, they could meet up in the conference room and compare notes. Until then, Ian prepared for a long q and a.

Jessa Novar

Mardusk looked at Ian and gave him a Well, here we go shrug and then looked at Jessa. “Another problem, Jessa… we have never even heard of the Galactic Union; nor do we, the United Federation of Planets, have any dealings with them. And to my earlier point… you can’t request asylum when you are under investigation for criminal acts, so there goes that ploy. So now you are gonna tell us what we want to know. Why are you here? Who are you? How do you know Ian Bordeaux and why do you want to see him? And why did your people attack us? And before you decide to see how far you can push back… this is as far as you can. From here on its we ask, you answer as honestly as you can. Period. Any deviation from that avenue will be the end, and penal station there you go. Understand?”

Mardusk, CoS

Jessa felt her stomach drop hearing what the large green alien had said to her. How did they not know of the Galactic Union? The Galactic Union spanned the entire galaxy. Even backwater worlds and the Consortium sector knew of the Galactic Union even if its laws were not followed with the same stringency as inner worlds. What he was claiming was impossible yet everything about the man’s demeanor and posture indicated he was telling the truth. Jessa had spent the better part of her life learning to read people so how was she not able to read him. Her heart began to race and she worked hard to try and stay calm. Jessa could hear the man continue to fire question after question to her yet her mind was focused on questions of her own preventing any response. How far out did they really travel? Did the Elders know where they were? Was there a way to get home? As much as she did not trust Zala Tsu or the Elders right now, only they were the ones making sense. Running her fingers through her hair, Jessa looked around the room as if searching for something as she bit her lip.

“You can talk to us, kid. We aren’t here to hurt you. We’re just trying to figure out what the hell is going on…” Mardusk said gently.

All his years in Diplomacy had driven home that communication was ninety percent nonverbal so it was exceedingly clear to Ian that Jessa had checked out after Mardusk’s first statement. He wanted the answers to all of Gravel’s questions and yet what was troubling him more than not having answers was two points. First, all the visitors had done since arriving was to demand to meet Captain Ian Bordeaux yet this Jessa seemed to have no idea when he was sitting three feet from her. Second, Jessa appeared to be completely thrown they had never heard of the Galactic Union gauging the expression on her face at the moment. It was not a look of her being flabbergasted but more of slight panic.

“I’m trying but things don’t make sense for me either,” she said. For the first time, Jessa Novar looked like she was going to drop her bad attitude or hysterics. “There is no way you can’t know of the Galactic Union. None.” The look in her eyes showed she just needed them to admit this. In her head, if they just admitted this, Jessa could try to trust them even if only as far as the distance they were from her in this room.

“You know,” Ian avoided giving Mardusk a side glance as he spoke, “the universe is a pretty big place. What if we pull up the galactic map and you can,”

“Stop lying to me,” she yelled snapping out of her daze, she looked at the large green alien and the man speaking next to him. “Why do you keep lying to me and expect me to tell the truth,” Jessa felt her calm demeanor slipping away the more her mind raced with questions these people were either unable or refusing to answer. Her voice carried a bit of a whine to it almost as if she felt this situation was unfair.

“We aren’t lying. Seriously have ZERO clue who or what you are talking about.” Mardusk said, his hands dropping to his side as he watched the girl get more and more agitated.

“Stop lying. How can you sit there and claim you don’t know about the Galactic Union?” Although the anger in her voice made it appear to be a rhetorical question yet the way her eyes searched his face showed she was actually looking for an answer.

“AGAIN. Still have no idea what that is. Is it a government? Where is it based? Who are the members?”

Sitting up, Jessa met Mardusk’s gaze straight on. She was not going to get any answers from him. There was only one way to figure out what was going on. She had to get out of this room and find the Elders. Zala Tsu might be lying about many things but she had not lied about these people’s propensity to deceive and confuse to get what they wanted. Finding solid ground in her faith in the Elders let Jessa’s mind settle and think logically. This had to be some sort of elaborate illusion. Whoever these people were, they were trying to make Jessa believe something that was not possible. She just needed to call them on their bluff. If they refused to let her leave it meant the illusion only went as far as the end of her bed.

“Fine take me to the detention block,” she stated so rapidly it almost sounded like she was begging for it. Having a plan took the panic from Jessa. Throwing back the blanket, she repeated her demand. “Arrest me,” she jumped from the bed and moved towards Mardusk. She had expected him to react as he had before and when he didn’t Jessa began to show her confidence in her plan waver. “I said arrest me,” she demanded again looking now between Ian and Mardusk wondering why they were not signaling the man outside her door to enter and haul her away. The calmer the two men acted the more irrational Jessa was becoming.

Mardusk shook his head. “Not till I get some answers. I said it before, I’ll say it again… you want something from me, you give me something first.”

“Do it,” she kicked his leg holding her breath slightly and tensing her body preparing for him to react. “Come on you triffing varphole,” Jessa taunted Mardusk taking a stance that indicated she was about to attempt to take on the mountain.

“Ah honey I am seriously going to advise you not to,” Ian stood up from his chair warning the girl. It was not that he thought the big guy was going to need help taking the kid down if needed. It was more he didn’t want to get a hand or foot to the face when this thing went where he saw it going.

“Listen to him, kid. You don’t want to do this.” Mardusk said cautiously.

“Want a reason to arrest me,” Jessa’s voice was not calm or controlled. She was on the edge of irrational thoughts and bad decisions. Taking a deep breath, Jessa threw a punch directly at the large man’s jaw.

The ‘punch’ connected… and her hand stopped cold. The head attached to the jaw didn’t move… didn’t quiver. The brilliant emerald eyes looked at her with sympathy and patience… but also finality. “And now we are done.” he said firmly as he reached up slowly and took her wrist, his motion as slow and deliberate as it could be… adding a sense of inevitability to to what was about to happen.

Of all the things Mardusk could have said to Jessa, the simplicity of his comment struck harder than any vulgarity he could have stated. Awww trife me, Jessa thought knowing she had violated every rule of engagement every. Her opponent was too big. She was fighting offensively instead of defensively. THere was no place to fall back and regroup.

Jessa felt his massive hand lock around her wrist before she could pull back to a safe distance. Her eyes got wide knowing there was no way she could pull herself free. Years of training had her drop into a crouch as she made a fist with the hand in his grasp so she could grab it with her free hand. Pulling down hard she aimed for the weak point in the hold: the area between his thumb and index finger. The defensive technique worked only she had to lean back so far she fell on her butt instead of on her feet. This was not a problem however because Mardusk got her to her feet in one swift motion.

Taking a handful of the front collar of her shirt and the waist of her pants, the girl was unceremoniously lifted off the deck and high above the biobed.

“No, no, you said you were taking me to the brig,” she kicked her feet wildly knocking over the small bed side table and nailing Mardusk in the thigh with blind luck.

“Guess I’m a liar too…” the Orion said as he half-slammed her onto the bed. It wasn’t hard… but hard enough.

As Jessa hit the bed, she felt it and knew she was meant to. It was not enough to hurt or injury but get her attention which it did as she felt the air slightly knocked out of her lungs as her back impacted the soft mattress and her head hit the pillow.

Mardusk tapped the side of the bed and restraints shot up and locked around her chest, wrists and ankles.

“Lauren,” Ian signaled already seeing the doc filling a hypo with some sort of sedative to knock the kid out. Right now she was in full panic mode and if this kept up, she would hurt herself even with Mardusk trying every non-aggressive defensive tactic he knew to control Jessa instead of subduing her.

“On it,” she said moving into position.

“You triffing lying Varp,” Jessa pulled at her hands feeling the safety restraints lock her hands and feet into place. “You have to take me to the detention block. Please…please take me to the detention block. I want to go home,” she no longer demanded but begged twisting and opening her hands as she tried to get them free. “You promised,” she looked at him with a hurt expression.

Mardusk shrugged dismissively. “Look, I dunno why the hell you all are here. And I don’t think you do, either. Because you raised all this fuss and ruckus in order to see one person… Ian Bordeaux. And you don’t even know who the hell that is because he’s been sitting here this entire time, dumba$$.” and he jerked a thumb at Ian.

As Mardusk began to talk, Jessa felt a slight poke in her right arm. The effect was instant as whatever the doctor had given her was starting to take effect. All the fight instantly left her body as she relaxed back. Blinking she looked up at the large man as he said something to her. “He what,” she said in a slow whisper before her eyes closed as gently as if she had fallen asleep.

Jessa Novar and Ian Bordeaux

Mardusk took a deep breath and then looked at Ian. “You… my quarters. Ten minutes and bring the hardest stuff you have. And yeah… thats an order.” and he walked out of the containment field. “Round the clock, four-person team. Nobody but the doc and me comes in. No exceptions.” and he walked out of sickbay.

Mardusk, CoS

“Because he expects a full on assault to get her out,” Lauren looked at Ian rolling her eyes slightly..

“They did take out Kelly, Lauren. I know she is just a kid but,” Ian crossed his arms looking at the doctor.

“So where are you in all this,” she cut to the point looking at Ian. “I know you just had a metric crap ton of $h1# dumped on you but your most pressing issue is Kelly and Jessa. Forget the rest of the noise. The people in the brig will be dealt with one way or another. What are you going to do with the situation in there,” she nodded her head towards Jessa.

Ian looked nervously over his shoulder at Jessa on the bed sedated and calm and then back at Lauren. “I can’t pretend to know her. Be her father yet if I don’t because I know I have some connection to her, I will be some deadbeat dad who abandoned his own kid,” he whispered at Lauren. It was the first time she had heard him use the word father.

“Take care of her Lauren” Ian quietly said staring down at the sleeping form before turning on his heel and heading towards the door.
“Where are you going,” Lauren demanded, grabbing Ian’s arm as the doors to Sick Bay slid open. “You can’t walk out on her. I am a Doctor, not a babysitter. What are you going to do if she wakes up here alone?”

“She is not going to be alone. You are here. I have to figure out what the hell is going on and why,” Ian spat back icily, yanking his arm out of Lauren’s grip. He only got three steps outside the doors before Lauren heard a slew of obscenities through the glass pneumatic doors. As he looked back, he met Lauren’s gaze. There was no way he was going to get the clean break he wanted. Moving back into sickbay, Ian’s voice became firmer. “Comm me immediately if she wakes up before I get back,” he says. “I am not being a dick here but I have several fires to put out and only one hose. Stay with her for me…please,” he pleaded softening his voice almost to a whisper. “If you can keep her sedated until I return with some answers I think it will be for the best. I am an adult and can barely process the past hour.” Ian searched his friend’s face and saw the tension starting to fade from the corners of her eyes.

“Go. Do your job. I won’t leave her side until you get back here,” Lauren promised, slightly annoyed with Ian at the moment. Part of her knew it was wrong of her. Ian was right. If he was struggling to make sense of this, how was Jessa supposed to. Entering Jessa’s room, she reached down activating the controls for the security restraints on the kid’s bed. “You are going to be just fine darlin’,” she brushed some hair off Jessa’s face and pulled the blanket up around her shoulders. “Your dad will come around. He just has a lot on his plate.”

Before leaving however Lauren did one thing. Picking up a PaDD she tapped a few buttons. The monitors around the room flickered. No longer did it say Doe, Jane but they now read Bordeaux, Jessa. “THere we go,” she said softly pushing a few stands of hair off the girls face. “You might be lost but you do have a name.”

Ian Bordeaux


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