In the Dark
Posted on June 14th, 2001 by Sullivan Ruffian
In the darkness of the night, she laid her cheek against the cool stone that was both her escape and her prison. She didn’t know how long she had been here… three months? Four? Why haven’t they come for me? She thought in despair. Maybe something happened to Solitaire… maybe they think I’m dead….. maybe….. maybe maybe. Her thoughts turned angry and she rose off the stone bunk and stretched her aching muscles. What softness she had gained from her time in Starfleet had melted off her bones and left nothing but muscle. Sinew and tendons had regained their bowstring tautness. The meals had a lot to be desired, but she ate them and any other thing that came across her path during the day. Grubs and beetles, the occasional rat all supplemented her scant rations. Her mouth had regained the grim lines that her years of life lived in a secure environment had begun to erase. She was reverting to the person she had once been. Her fingers reached up and gently probed the swelling around her eyesocket. Nothing seemed to be broken, just bruised. If they find me, Pierre…. I swear…. I will feed your coeur to tu……
Four Months Previous
Commander Sullivan walked into the ramshackle bar that sat on the edge of the badlands. It was mostly deserted, with the exception of a large Cardassian behind the bar and a few unsavory patrons. No one looked up as she walked in. There was nothing to really distinguish her from the clientele. Olive green tank top, black fatigue pants, hair braided and tied with rawhide, clunky black boots that looked like they had been taken from the feet of a deceased soldier. Suli shifted the rifle from one hand to the other and slung herself in a chair with a careless motion. Almost immediately, a young Orion girl approached and asked for her order.
“Bourbon, straight. Bring the bottle.” She laid the weapon on the table, secure in the fact that the pulse pistol and a wickedly sharp throwing knife were in easy reach should she need them. A shadow darkened the tabletop and the bottle and a glass were thumped down by a hand that was masculine.
“Mon cher,” a voice smoother than any drink known to man intoned. “Do my eyes deceive me or is it really ma douce amie who sits alone at this table?”
“The only sweet love you ever had, Pierre is that stuff you shoot in your veins… or do you think I’d forgotten?” Suli didn’t look up, just took the bottle and wiped the mouth off it on her shirt before taking a drink.
“Rumor has it that you went to work for grand Fleet,” he sat without invitation and forced her to look at him by planting himself directly in her line of sight. His eyes were as dark and piercing as she remembered. “Are you here to place me under arrest?”
“No, Pierre,” she sighed and took another slug from the bottle. “You of all people should have known that I would not last there. All the rules, all the regulations, they bit into my freedom too much. “I tired of the long days and the empty nights.” She stopped and looked meaningfully at him as she said this. “I thought perhaps you might have missed me.”
“Oh, ‘tite chatte,” he took one of her hands and held it in his. His eyes searched hers for some sign of duplicity. “Have you come back looking for work?”
She shrugged and looked around the place. “Not much has changed, has it.” She looked at his hands holding hers and pulled gently, trying to escape his grasp. He held firm and she stopped. “I’m afraid I’m just passing through at the moment as I try to figure out what I want to do next with my life.”
“Ah, sa c’est honteu,” he sighed and released her hand. “I was hoping you might want to stay. Thing have been lonely without you, ma jolie fille.”
She looked at the amber liquid and swirled it in the bottle. It was as Caine said it would be at their last meeting. She had been been disturbed of late and unsure of whether or not she had changed since her days in the seedier sectors of space, or if she was just a pirate in a Starfleet uniform. His advice had been good. “The best way to see how far you have come is perhaps to go see where you had been.” She wiped her brow, surprised at the sudden change of temperature. She swirled the bottle again and saw the slightest bit of sediment whirling along the bottom of it. “You tcheue poule,” she slurred and attempted to stand. The room tilted and she swayed. Pierre stood and moved close to her, supporting her weight. No one else looked at all.
“Now, now,” he whispered close to her ear with a lover’s intimacy. “Especes de tete dure don’t fight it.” To the outside world, it looked as if they were melded together in drunken lust. “It’s only moi, your etalon…… ”
“Etalon?” She swallowed hard and let out a laugh. It sounded so far away. “not with your ‘tite pine and ‘tite boule!” She passed out before she could see the anger in his eyes.
Return to the Present
So, now she stood in her dark cell in the hours before her shift was up again. She estimated there were 500 Bajorans in the camp with her. Most were in bad to terrible shape and she did what she could to help them. Most of the residents called her Commander. Most of the guards called her Stumpy. She called herself patient. It had been a mistake to lash out today when Terit had fondled her as he had escorted her to her cell. Because of her Fleet background, she was kept separate from the others when not working. The bruises would remind her to bide her time. A broken arm would remind Terit to keep him distance.
She returned to her bunk and eased herself into a prone position. In the darkness, she checked the cloth that she kept tied around her right arm where her hand usually was. Someone was smart enough to know that I probably kept a homing beacon in there. She winced as she touched the tender flesh. I hope you got a good price for it, Pierre. She almost chuckled. Bio-medical prosthesis were both well sought after, but hard to sell on the black market. It was probably still at The Joie de Vie unless he had destroyed it. Knowing she had to conserve her strength for another day at the minds, she forced her mind to clear and her eyes to close. Within moments, she was asleep.