Posted by Gamemaster Deus Ex Machina (GM) in Rinker’s Office - Jessa’s counseling session When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by Fleet Captain Kelly Bordeaux (Commanding Officer) in Rinker’s Office - Jessa’s counseling session When the past doesn’t match the present…or the future
Posted by Commander Heathcliff Rinker (Counselor) in Rinker’s Office - Jessa’s counseling session When the past doesn’t match the present…or the futureIC: Five minutes before Jessa’s arrival
Posted by… suppressed (7) by the Post Ghost! 👻
OCC: I tried to condense what has happened so far that would be relevant to Jessa for you. Hope it is not too confusing and saved you from some reading. ~ Kate
“Sir,” a knock at the door sounded on Rinker’s door was followed by the face of Rinker’s assistant. “Here are the files you requested for your ten o’clock appointment. I was able to secure the security report and her medical records,” the woman replied handing over the PaDD to her boss. “I will let you know when they arrive. Do you need anything else Sir I will be in the reception area,” she asked before walking out. On the PaDD, Rinker would see two files. One was an account of the incident of her arrival. The second was the complete known medical records of the patient.
“Yup,” Rinker took the information. “Thanks a lot.” He glanced down… “She took a shot at Mardusk, maybe you should have a phaser just in case.”
“Me…I think you are the one that needs the phaser or the hypo sir,” she laughed. “Think you remember enough of your security training 101 class from the academy?”
“No, it wouldn’t have helped anyways, I’m a lover not a fighter.”
Case number: 39402830 Date: 12 November 2397
Reporting Officer: Lt. O’Neill Johnathan J Prepared by: Lt. O’Neill Johnathan J
Assailant: Jessa Bordeaux
Alias(s): Jessa Novar
Incident Issue: At precisely 0430 hours a ship appeared off the port bow of the USS Atlantis with the designation Beacon of Hope. When hailed the captain of the Beacon of Hope claimed they had a package to deliver to Captain Bordeaux. The four occupants were beamed over into transporter room 12. Approximately thirty minutes later an altercation occurred. The first of the four occupants hereto referred to as Zala Tsu, demanded to see Captain Ian Bordeaux and refused to turn over the promised package to Captain Kelly Bordeaux. It was unclear as to why they did not know who the Captain of the ship actually was. When Captain Bordeaux announced she was the captain and wished to receive the package an assault occurred. Captain Bordeaux is currently in a medically induced coma to heal from her injuries sustained in the attack. The second of the four occupants hereto referred to Da Mu, used a blue crystal weapon on a four-foot staff to attack and incapacitate Captian Kelly Bordeaux. Lt. Commander Gravel Mardusk, attempted to remove the minor out of the line of fire however before he was able to secure Jessa Novar, she was attacked by Zala Tsu. The third of the four occupants hereto referred to as Rogan, was present but was subdued by Atlantis security forces without incident.
Actions Taken: When the fourth occupant, hereto referred to as Jessa Bordeaux, Aka Jessa Novar, was attacked by Zala Tsu, the security forces opened fire on the four occupants from the Beacon of Hope without further incident. Jessa Bordeaux was emergency beamed to sickbay for surgery to repair a nicked jugular artery injury. Jessa Bordeaux remains in sickbay under a four-person security detail as of this time. Rogan, Zala Tsu, and Da Mu are in cells in the brig.
Report Summary: From my vantage point, the attack on the Captain was completely unprovoked. The four occupants wanted to come aboard and used the attack for some gain to which we have not been able to ascertain. In no way did Lt. Commander Mardusk provoke the attack on the minor by Zala Tsu. It is my opinion it was premeditated by Zala Tsu yet why is still to be undetermined. The security chief has removed all personal items from the three in the brig. There is nothing in their possession that we have determined is the package. We do not know if there is a package or if it is a ruse for something else. Rogan, Da Mu, and Zala Tsu refer to themselves as Elders but we have no other information on this. Jessa Bordeaux refers also to them as Elders but does not refer to herself in this manner possibly denoting she is junior to them in some manner.
Name: Jessa Bordeaux Date of Report: 12 November 2397
Date of Birth: Unknown Parents: Father - Ian Bordeaux Mother - Unknown
Medical Condition Being Treated: Jessa will recover fully from her surgery and should be discharged from sickbay within the next two days baring any new medical issues that present themselves.
Genetic Composition - The subject is 100% human with fifty percent genetic markers for English and French and fifty percent unidentifiable human.
Physical Composition - Based on bone density, spinal length, and growth plates the subject is prepubescent between 11 and 13 years of age. She is A positive blood type but her blood contains unknow antigens not associated with either A type or O type. These antigens have had no apparent detrimental effect on the A positive blood transfusion she received during the operation. Further tests will be needed to understand the role and origination of these antigens.
Physiological Composition- Subject is within normal limits. No malnutrition is detected past or present. Body Mass Index (BMI) is 16.7 indicating subject is within limits for height but slightly underweight. Normal EKG and EEG readings. Subject has no antigen markers commonly associated with the basic immunization routine of Federation citizens.
Physician’s Summary: Jessa Bordeaux is a healthy female juvenile patient of unknown age. The child is roughly 11-13 based on her physiology. DNA results have shown her father is Ian Bordeaux however there is no match for the mother in Starfleet medical databases. Jessa appears to have had no knowledge of this prior to us informing her. We are beginning the immediate administration of vaccination profiles to prevent common diseases and illnesses. It is interesting to note she has no markers for ever receiving any vaccination or immunization common in the Federation Medical Facilities. Jessa needs to increase her dietary intake to create a better height to weight ratio even though there is no malnutrition to indicate why she is underweight. It is important to note that over the past three days, she appears to be not willing or wanting to eat or drink anything given to her. Psychological services should be considered immediately to:
- Deal with the news that Ian Bordeaux is her biological father. This appears to be new information for Jessa and she is not accepting or believing the results of the DNA analysis. She has not revealed any information about her mother at this time.
- Deal with the emotional and psychological issues of the arrival on the USS Atlantis and why she is here.
- Deal with behavioral issues of aggression towards anyone perceived as an authority figure. It is interesting to note that if Jessa believes someone is weaker than her, she does not display aggression or combative behavior.
- Possible deprogramming from the organization possibly deemed the Elders
- Address possible depression which is causing her to not want to eat or drink anything provided to her.
Dr. Lauren Shan
Arriving at Rinker’s office
“You know I am not going to talk to him,” Jessa said Ian standing outside a door with a name she could not read on it. This was her first time leaving sickbay. She would have preferred to walk to wherever they had been going instead of using the light transportation system to get from one place to another in less than a blink of an eye. It would have allowed her start to make a mental map of the ship however Bordeaux and Mardusk seemed keen on not letting that happen. If she did not have Ian and the four security officers flanking them, Jessa might have made a run for it but for now, she would just deal with her escorts.
“That’s up to you but you will be nice and pleasant,” Ian said in a firm tone. He tried to hide his nervousness from Jessa about this counseling session. If anyone on the ship needed to see a shrink it was Jessa however she was so unpredictable and that was what concerned Ian. He wasn’t a counselor but being a diplomat he had learned a few things about reading people and Jessa had a neon sign over her stating she was going to do exactly the opposite of what anyone seemed to want her to do. “Just know if you get scared or uncomfortable,”
This was all Jessa needed instantly react and cut Ian’s sentence off before he finished it. “I am no scared of whoever is behind that door,” she crossed her arms looking at Ian. As if to prove her point she knocked on the door instead of tapping the panel on the right.
Jessa Novar (Bordeaux)
“Come,” Rinker tended to be clipped. His office was not too remarkable, although the odd set up between his fairly large desk and nice, comfortable appearing chair, with wheels on the bottom. There were a few holo pictures on the desk that were opaque from her side of the desk. The walls had unremarkable art and behind Rinker was a bookshelf full of hardcover paper books. Each book had a small disk on its spine that blinked a soft green.
“Be nice,” Ian said giving her a side glance before walking into the room. He had debated about asking Rinker to come to sickbay. Lauren suggested that his office might appear to be more neutral territory.
“I am always nice,” she rolled her eyes letting Ian walk in before her. It was out of instinct and without any real practical purpose. It was not like anyone in the room was going to take out the man next to her. Tentatively she followed Ian in as if the room would pop under her feet like a bubble or a dream. Her eyes scanned the room taking in the center first before casually moving over so that her back was in the left-hand corner of the room. This gave Jessa a look at all four corners of the room. It was not what she had expected at all. It was just a square box with a desk, some art on the walls, and only one other person in there with her, Ian, and the security officers standing in the doorway. What did stick out to her immediately though was the books with the blinking green lights. At least you aren’t hiding that you are filming me, she thought. Jessa wondered if the sparse amount of furniture was typical or if they had removed all it before she came.
OOC: Oops forgot the couch in the corner and the extra chair… but it still a sparse room. Sorry.
“Hello I’m Heathcliff Rinker, Ms…” He paused to let Jessa respond. He left off Doctor, it appeared pretty good that Jessa had authority issues. Probably daddy issues too… there was little Rinker could do to hid his dad body and his slightly greying temples. He had been single for a bit and strangely he got in better shape when he was in a relationship than out… counter-intuitive but true.
“Prisoner number four so glad to meet you,” Jessa walked up to Rinker confidently extending her hand. Her tone was polite but very sarcastic. “At least that is what the people in the red and gold shirts call me. The people in the blue shirts called me Jane when I first got here. Mardusk and Ian call me Jessa. If you don’t like those you can make one up. Everyone else around here seems to do that.”
Rinker laughed slightly, well she was spunky. He voice was calm and friendly. “I don’t give people names and I’m not too concerned about what people call you. I asked for yours, you are the only one who can truly tell me what that is. So I’ll try again, My name is Heathcliff… and your name is.”
Jessa paused not sure what to say. She could not make up a name at this point. They already knew it. The easiest thing would be to just say, Jessa. It was what the man wanted. It would also move the conversation along. Looking up at the Rinker, Jessa tried to size him up. Even though his voice was calm and friendly, she was pretty sure the man had the patience and fortitude to stand here shaking her hand for as long as it took for her to comply with his request. “Jeh,” she started before stopping the rest of the syllables from leaving her mouth. “Prisoner number four,” she repeated. She chose this for two reasons. The first was because Zala Tsu was right. They were slowly trying to make her comply. While a name was small and simple, answering it would show she would comply with their requests. The second was it showed her allegiance to the Elders.
Letting go of his hand, Jessa moved slightly to the side and looked at the books behind him trying to make out the titles. She had no idea why she could not read the titles of any of them. Jessa was used to different cultures having different writing but nothing so far had been familiar anywhere. From the star charts she looked at with some guy named Chris Robins to the book the doctor left for Jessa to read. Instead of mentioning this, however, Jessa just nodded as if she was reading something interesting as she looked at the books.
He did something he also rarely did, “Can I get you something to drink?”
So absorbed in trying to decipher something on the bindings of the book, Jessa didn’t even think and replied, “Rellian apple or Saka berry juice please.” Her tone for the first time wasn’t snippy or condescending. It was typical of anyone answering the question. The second she replied, however, Jessa stiffened freezing completely in place. With her back to them, close closed her eyes and mouthed several curses before regaining her composure. Looking back at Rinker and Ian she let her expression change to one of fake sympathy. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I forgot your backwater corner of space probably doesn’t have that.”
“Well if you hum a few bars, I’m sure I can catch up…” Rinker paused. “I guess no one knows that joke.” He pressed a few buttons on the replicators and found what the thought was the closest to the drink requested.
“Seriously,” Ian shot her a warning look. “Didn’t we just talk about being nice to people. I said be nice. You said you are always nice so what the hell was that?” If it had been Ruth or one of his nieces or nephews, Ian would have taken their personal communicator or sent her to her room to get Jessa’s head on straight. Ian’s issue was jessa had no possessions and was basically isolated from anything fun already. The only thing he had to exert any control over her was firm word and sharp looks. This however was working as effectively as a broken umbrella in the rain.
Ian side glanced Rinker with a look that anyone who dealt with kids understood. It was the look of one parent saying the kid was going to be the death of them in some form.
Rinker looked at Ian but didn’t say anything.
Jessa debated about all the things she could say right now however she was out of the medical room. She could play nice, for a bit. “Fine,” she groaned moving to the only place to sit in the room: the chair with the wheels. Seeing Ian still staring at her Jessa turned her expression to Rinker. “No thank you I am fine. I really do appreciate the offer, however. It was very kind of you.” While the comment was polite, it lacked any genuine emotion behind it. The only emotion that came out was her next comment to Ian. “Happy?” The angry tone wasn’t completely all due to Ian’s glare. Jessa was thirsty but she was not going to risk taking anything from anyone on this ship. She would take care of getting a drink later. There was always water if you knew where to look for it.
Ian turned to face the counselor resisting the urge to reply to Jessa’s snarky comment. “Hey Heathcliff,” he said extending his hand. “So how do you want to do this?” His tone was low as he half-watched Jessa spin slowly in the chair. “I can stay or leave. I am kinda at a loss here on this. I am also not sure what you want to do about the security team. Do you want all four inside,two in two out., or everyone outside the room?” Ian had zero doubt the man could handle Jessa psychologically but he also didn’t want to force Rinker into a specific situation he might not feel comfortable with.
The problem was Jessa had no idea how important this eval was. Yes Ian wanted to help her but they also needed a psychological battery to help her possible impending legal case.
Jessa Novar (Bordeaux) and Ian Bordeaux
“I usually do my work alone and by definition it is confidential, unless the information is about a credible threat to one’s self or others.” This was as much to alert Jessa to the limits of confidentiality as much as Ian and the others, “so its best that you all leave… if something happens, I’ll scream at the top of my lungs, it will sound like a terrified Albarian mouse.” Rebellion like this usually came from lack of control. If a person was not being controlled the urge to rebel decreased.
His response got a laugh out of Jessa. It was the first time she had shown a moment of happiness since she had arrived.
The laugh and half-smile on Jessa’s face along with Rinker’s easy-going attitude relaxed Ian visibly. Maybe seeing a counselor like Evrilla suggested might help ease the tension. “We will be right outside,” Ian said. His comment was directed to both Jessa and Rinker. Pausing as if rethinking his decision, Ian turned on his heel and walked out.
Jessa watched Ian leave and felt a rush of nerves fire. She had only ever been alone with four people. While Ian was not acting the captain, Jessa knew he was the one in control. The large green alien felt like two people in one. Jessa respected his need to protect his people but the man was in her way currently from doing what she needed. The doctor was nice and seemed to he her sole care provider but what doctor didn’t care about their patients. . This Rinker seemed the friendliest person person so far but she knew sometimes being friendly was just an act to manipulate people into doing something.
He came up to Jessa, put down the cup of juice and the walked up to the bookshelf.
Jessa looked at the cup suspiciously. The amber color of the liquid looked like Rellian Apple juice but it had to be some sort of sleight of hand. Nothing appeared out of thin air. Keeping one eye on him, Jessa stuck her finger in the liquid. She had expected her hand to pass through whatever hologram this was but instead felt the cold and the wetness cling to her finger. Pulling it back rapidly she wiped it on her pants quickly.
The urge to pick up the glass and drink whatever was in the glass was overwhelming. For the past two days Jessa had been sticking her head under the faucet whenever she had gone to the bathroom or stealing sips from whatever someone was drinking they left unattended in her room. Ian seemed to favor some bitter black hot drink. Since he was always in and out of her room it was easy to steal that but Jessa was tired of that. Maybe this Rinker drank something better. There was only one way to find out and figure out where he seemed to get the drink. “You know from where I am from we consider it rude to drink alone,” Jessa kept her eyes half on the man’s back at the book case. “We don’t drink alone in a social situation.” It was a lie of course but the man didn’t know that.
“That’s true of many cultures, but I’m a little old to be drinking juice.” He looked at her for a moment. Although from what he had heard this was the most friendly she had been so far. “Well Jah,” He picked up her cup and took as clear sip from it.
A flash of irritation crossed her face when he used the stutter of her name to address him. “It’s not Jah. If you are looking for an acronym though Path Narn Firn will do.” Her voice contained a thick layer of sarcasm but her comment was not solely for a verbal battle. It was also to test the man’s intelligence and how observant he really was. If he wasn’t going to call her Prisoner Number Four, she would least make him use the initials from the title. He was not going to break her association with the Elders so easily.
“Well, that’s what you said.” He said bluntly. “I assumed you mean what you say.” He paused, “Perhaps you were saying Jessa and I missed it. I don’t think we reached the point of our relationship to use nick names quite yet.” He watched her, she was up to something, everything was a challenge… or a calculated maneuver.
“I always mean what I say,” she snapped feeling angry and frustrated, “but none of you do.” Her tone was accusatory and sharp. Jessa was so tired of everyone acting like she was the only one lying here. “And no we have not reached that easy detente where you call me Jessa. You should just feel lucky that I am not making you address me as Patron Novar.” After two days of all the games, Jessa’s patience was running thin. “You can separate us but that doesn’t mean I don’t belong with the Elders and the Order. Calling me Jessa doesn’t make me think I am not part of them. Calling me Jessa does not make me a part of your little charade here.”
“Detente… nice word.”
Jessa shifted her weight not sure how to respond to him. She expected him to reply to the meat of her conversation instead of striking up verbal banter. This guy was going to be tricky to deal with. She needed to stay in her toes.
“Well eyes learned me’s some fancy type words back when I was being schooled,” she spoke in a twang rebuffing his compliment. “If you want to play games I can play them too,” she said in her normal voice.
“I’m not playing any games with you and I can call you Patron Novar,” He shrugged. “If that’s what you want, I’d like to know what it means though. I don’t like saying things I don’t understand. It kind of like being dishonest. Saying something as if you know what it means when you don’t.” Rinker might not be telling her everything, but he wasn’t lying to her… therapists never lied it was the most fatal thing to rapport.
Jessa squirmed a bit uncomfortably in her chair. The man wasn’t wrong. Lying was never good and always came back to haunt you yet it wasn’t like Jessa could be honest about her mission. Too much weighed on completing it. Taking a deep breath she looked at Rinker hating that somehow he seemed to catch her in her half truth and not buying the lie. Maybe if she gave him a little bit of truth he would be satisfied.
“Okay so I haven’t earned the title Patron yet but after this mission, Zala Tsu promised it would be granted to me by the Order. Just don’t tell her I told you to call me that okay?” Jessa genuinely looked concerned Rinker would not accept this retraction as the truth. She had to make a concession to fix her mistake. “You can call me Jessa.”
Now that the name situation seemed to be resolved, Jessa could concentrate on the liquid in the glass Rinker just took a sip from.
Watching him take a drink however suddenly made her even more thirsty if that was possible. She studied him as he drank from the cup. He did not fake it or pretend. When Rinker set the cup down it was clearly less liquid in it than before. Clasping her hands in her lap helped her physically remind herself that no matter how bad she wanted it, she could not reach for it.
For now the concession to use her name was enough.
Not completely clear about her motivation, he asked, “Do you want me to get you another cup… or does your culture like sharing one glass?”
Jessa opened her mouth to speak but closed it looking at the man before her. If he drank it, it had to be untainted. It would do no good to dope up yourself in an interrogation no matter how friendly you wanted to make it. “One glass is fine,” she said but made no move to follow his lead…for the moment.
Jessa needed to get her mind off the drink and Rinker’s on a new subject. The key to any successful interrogation was controlling the narrative. There’s wasn’t much in the room to talk about so she focused on the largest thing.
“I see you like to read,” she said pointing to the wall of books behind the desk.
“Among other things.” Rinker smiled. “I like collecting, perhaps a little more than reading. These books mean more than the words on the page, they are history. They carry the weight of time and the burden of thousands, maybe millions of humans working and evolving the technology to put thought into word and word onto page, and page into book and books....” He glanced at his shelf “into a gift for all of us to learn, laugh, and transport to a place we’ve never been.” He looked a her, “Before there were ships and undiscovered continents, there were dreams… and these are dreams made solid.”
“Dreams and lofty ideals can get you into a lot of trouble. You have to know when to fight and when to bide your time to return. Idealism Is great but it can get you killed.” Jessa’s expression was sincere and for a second the weight of the galaxy could be seen on her face.
Jessa felt her stomach knot. Loft ideals and dreams were what got her here.
“However books are a great form of escapism. Show me your favorite,” she asked politely nodding her head at the wall of books.
“You were looking at my collection,” his back was mostly exposed to her, to a trained eye he was vulnerable, but not completely so.
Lucky for her, Rinker seemed happy enough to answer her questions even if Jessa was trying to avoid all his. It was also lucky that the books were behind the glass and the desk giving Jessa a singular opportunity.
Jessa moved forward as much and as fast as she dared taking a large sip from the cup when the man’s back was turned and replacing it in the same spot. Whatever was in the glass was not Sakaberry but it was very close to Rellian Apple. The liquid was sweet and cold. She savored it instead of drinking it instantly.
His head wasn’t fully turned so he turn fairly quickly, but again more than enough for a skilled person to take advantage. “These are actually paper books, some with actual leather covers. You have a genre of novel you like?”
Swallowing the sip, she wished she had mentioned they ate communally in her lie. The juice, while helping with her being thirsty, also made her realize how hungry she was. If she could figure out where he kept the juice, maybe she could get more before she left.
“Anything,” Jessa said trying to focus on the man’s question instead of her mind trying to figure out how he got a drink from the wall.
He scanned a bit. He reached out and slid a short, but fat paper covered book out… it glowed as he touched it the mini force field activating to keep his hands from actually making contact. “Not quite as valuable as some of the books.” He held it tenderly as he turned and faced her. He flicked off the metal disk allowing him to actually touch it. “There and Back again or the Hobbit. I read it when I was about your age.” He actually read it at 8, but that wasn’t to relevant. He handed it to her. He did take her drink off the table clearly paranoid about a possible spill.
Tiffe me, she grumbled in her mind seeing him move the juice farther from her. She wondered if this was to tempt her to try and get more or if he worried she was just clumsy.
Jessa watched him take the book off the shelf and listen to him speak. Her eyes never left him as he approached her with the leather-bound book. In a different time or place, she might have struck up a conversation with the man however she was not here for fun. She also could not have read the book if she tried. Leaning over Jessa pretended to look at the title. Rinker said that what happened her was private. It wasn’t a huge secret what she wanted but maybe she could convince Rinker to do what she needed without Mardusk, Ian, or the doctor saying no. “I don’t want to read There and Back again of the Hobbit,” she quoted what she thought the man said was the title. “I don’t want a drink,” she stood up and moved to the couch putting some distance between her and Rinker. She needed to set this man straight before he continued to try and be nice to her.
He watched her ‘not’ read the title, while she quoted him fairly well, that isn’t what he or the front of the book said at all. It just said The Hobbit, Rinker used the sub-title which was what the main character called his book. She was very verbal with a vocabulary of someone several years older than her, but she couldn’t read… possible… he had seen it before, but it was rare.
“I want to see the Elders,” she said taking a seat. Her posture was more rigid than in the chair. “Can you make them let me see them,” Jessa asked? Her tone was confident but the cadence of her words hinted that Jessa was hopeful more than confident. “This ship runs on some sort of hierarchy right? So if you can’t who outranks Mardusk and Ian and can make that happen?”
Rinker nodded sadly as he put the disk back on the book activated it and returned it to its shelf. At least she didn’t ruin my second edition book. “If you didn’t want a drink why did you ask me to drink with you?” He rubbed under his eye. He had already dismissed one medical theory, she wasn’t depressed, paranoid probably, anxious and defensive definitely.
Jessa wasn’t sure if this was a set up or blind luck, but she would not let the chance slip by. “What the triffe is up with you and the juice,” she stood up and stormed over to Rinker’s desk. “I am sorry I even said yes but fine,” she yelled at him picking up the glass. “Since you got it I will drink it.” Putting the cup to her lips, Jessa began to drink deeply from it. In any other time or place, she would not have guzzled it down like a man who had been lost in the desert, yet she was thirsty and didn’t want to risk him taking it from her.
She hoped her actions did not make the man angry enough to throw her out of his office but her little temper tantrum was a far better way to get a drink than try to steal sips whenever he wasn’t looking. Zala Tsu could yell at her all she wanted later. Drinking one glass of juice that they saw would not end the mission. “There are you happy now,” she set the cup down hard but not hard enough to break it or damage the desk. She put her hands on the edges of the desk and locked eyes with him trying to gauge how he would react to what she had done.
“Kind of,” he responded honestly. “Although I’m not sure making me happy is a strong motivation for you.” He blinked calmly at her. Tilting his head slightly, he wasn’t going to turn it into a staring contest.
“What the triffing rings of hell does that mean,” Jessa snapped. “Why is it my job to make sure everyone here is happy?” The fact that Rinker was so calm was pressing her buttons. She came here as a courtesy. Jessa thought about turning around and walking out of his office. She didn’t need anything from him no matter how bad she wanted it.
“That’s what I said, you didn’t drink to make me happy. You might have done it to make me mad, or to spite me… but whatever reason why you did it, it was your own.” He paused, that was too challenging. She was only begging to warm up. Challenging her would make them regress. Maybe some support. “It doesn’t matter what I think, what do you think?”
“I think everyone here needs to see me as an adult and not a kid. I don’t need anyone taking care of me. I am not helpless.” Her voice had lost some of the steadiness to it. “Ever since I got here every one is treating me like I am some child who is lost or needs help,” she stopped and looked away. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. If you do then put a pin in it and circle back around later,” Jessa announced closing her eyes and rolling her head slightly to make it appear like she was working out a kink.
Jessa needed to step back for a second and regain her composure however she was stuck in a room with only one way out and no privacy in it. Suddenly another idea came to her mind. “I need to go to the bathroom. Where is it?” Her tone indicated she fully expected Rinker to comply with her demand. She didn’t have to use the facilities in the expected manner but coming here was not a good idea. Ian said she only had to be here an hour. She could ride that out in the bathroom and get her drink without any help from Rinker or anyone else.
He tilted he head and waited, pursing his lips and barely hiding a frown.
A few seconds later she let go of the desk and returned back to her seat on the couch hating herself for letting her emotions cloud her reason. Asking to leave to go to the bathroom was never going to be granted because the lie was as transparent as a glass window. She needed to make sure she kept the conversation tighter so she could control the narrative between them. Her eyes never left him however as the man got up and moved across the room.
He picked up her empty cup and walked over to the replicator, “Juice, 12 chicken nuggets, and apple slices - paper plate.” Rinker said… he was trusting, but he wasn’t going to give her a weapon beyond what she could turn the cup and plate into. The first cup disappeared into the fire that was a replication beam before the food and juice replaced it. Picking them up and as he walked to her Rinker took a sip of the juice, one of the nuggets, and the apple slice … popping them in his mouth after he swallowed the juice. “Uhh, still too sweet.” He placed it plate and juice next to her on the couch. He clearly didn’t care if she spilled on the couch.
“I’m not hungry,” she said firmly however her hand hung just a little bit too long over the plate before she pushed it farther away.
“You sure? Okay… Just leave them there I’ll get what’s left when we’re done.”
Returning to his desk Rinker reached into a desk drawer removing a cushioned ball. He squeezed it before tossing it from one hand to the other. He plopped himself into the faux-leather seat Jessa vacated. He rolled it out from behind the desk as he done thousands of times as he shortened the distance to Jessa. “I know you want to see the Elders, I know you want to get me to make that happen.”
“What do you want to make that happen,” she moved to the edge of the couch in almost a perched like pose. “I can get you fifty thousand credits. More if you want,” she added rapidly to make sure the man knew any price he name, she could produce. “I just need five minutes with them.”
“A generous sum of money.” He raised his eyebrows, “Very generous.... I can’t imagine where someone so young would be able to obtain such riches.”
“I have powerful friends,” she licked her lips to moisten them. Part of her was happy that the man across from her could be bought. Zala Tsu was right. Everyone had a price and everyone could be bought. The other part however felt a twinge of sadness that he could be bought and so easily turned from his people. “I don’t have all of it now but on the ship we have a portion of it. I promise you I can get it for you…or more. Name any price and it will be honored,” she let her eyes dart between his as if searching his eyes for confirmation of the deal. “I just need to see the Elders.”
“Why is that so important to you?” He tossed the soft orange ball gently to Jessa… “Catch.”
As if she were on autopilot, Jessa’s right hand came up catching the ball. It was a purely instinctive and reflexive action to protect herself. Her reaction to catching the ball was also far faster than her mind realizing what just happened. Jessa had always relied on her gut before her head which for someone like Rinker, would easily explain the small look of confusion wrinkle up her forehead as his question was now being processed. “Because they need me,” she gently lobbed the ball back to Rinker as she talked. “We are a team and the first thing you did was kidnap us, from our ship, with that crazy light weapon and then opened fired on us. I need to know they are okay? I need to know you are not hurting them or killing them because Da Mu,” Jessa looked at Rinker and a wave of guilt coursed over her body as she abruptly ended her sentence. Her shoulders lost some of the rigidity and tension and her facial features softened some. No one was supposed to get hurt in this mission. That was the rule but there was someone who had gotten hurt and Jessa felt guilty about not being able to help her when Da Mu attacked.
“Its not in our nature to hurt or kill.” He toss the ball back, with more energy than the first time. He wanted to pick up the pace of the game of catch.
“Maybe not but it is sure in your nature to lie and deceive,” she threw the ball twice as hard as Rinker had to her.
Virginia Axline would be proud. “I haven’t lied to you.” He blinked at her innocently.
“No but you perpetuate the lies they are telling,” she tossed the ball back and forth with Rinker as she spoke ignoring the implication of her words as she concentrated on the ball. “You keep acting like you don’t know who the Elders are. That is just as bad as everyone claiming they have not heard of the Galactic Union,” she felt herself becoming irritated again.
Throwing the ball helped to expel the anger and frustration from her body. It was also making her do two things at once. The faster Rinker threw it and the faster she had to return it was not letting her concentrate on everything she was saying.
Jessa decided it was time to settle some rules of her own before she kept talking. “I heard you say to Ian that what we say here is confidential. You can’t tell anyone what we say right,” she looked at him and caught the ball he tossed back to her as easily as she did the first time in their continuing game of catch.
“Unless you plan on hurting yourself or someone else… and I don’t mean hurt self, like smoking… I mean real injury.” He just nodded after that like he expected her to continue as he toss the ball to her… the pattern was to get rhythmic.
“Why would I hurt myself,” Jessa threw the ball not only harder but directly at his face instead of his chest. “Why would I hurt anyone? Is this about Mardusk? The man is like nine feet tall and built like a mountain.” she looked at Rinker like he was crazy?
Jessa threw the ball back always trying to throw it harder and faster than how he returned it to her. “Triffe the reason I want to see the Elders is to make sure you aren’t going to hurt them for what they did to the decoy in the transporter room because that was an accident.”
“We don’t hurt people. Hell, the one rule in this conversation is everything is private unless you want to hurt someone.” He gestured with his hands inviting her to throw the ball back.
“You hurt Rogan…Da Mu…Zala Tsu or is shooting someone not hurting them,” she suddenly felt like she was about to cry. She was so angry and if she could not find a way to channel it, the emotion would turn to something else. She had to stay mad so she had something else to focus on besides the mission or the fact she just wanted to go home. “It was a mistake she got hurt. It wasn’t planned but you all pushed him to that course of action.”
Jessa tossed the ball back as if it carried the weight of her guilt with it over what happened. The ball might have been foam, but the effort behind Jessa’s throw made it seem like the ball weighed a hundred pounds. Right now Jessa hated herself. Her own words felt like bile in her mouth. What happened to that woman was not an accident. Da Mu had meant it and Jessa hated that she had to keep lying about every word that came from her mouth.
Decoy, that must be Kelly, who they according to report - they didn’t like learning she was the captain… “Perhaps,” the reports didn’t make it sound like an accident either but he wasn’t there so he didn’t know, “but sometimes people need to be held responsible for their accidents. In fact weren’t you hurt during the incident too. How do you imagine that happened… another accident? Is Da Mu known to be clumsy?” He glanced at the food on the couch. She could answer or stall by eating and drinking… in either case it was a good outcome.
“Da Mu was behind me. Zala was the one,” she spat before freezing in place like a statue. “I mean Mardusk.” Jessa could not add more to the conversation. She didn’t want to. Talking about it would make have to really look at what happened in the transporter room. “I don’t want to talk about this,” she crossed her arms. “Pick a new topic or I will,” she ordered leveling a challenging look at Rinker.
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