CPA Muse Award Winner
Posted on April 4th, 2001 by Geileis Kael
“I’m really terribly sorry.” The man grinned widely, revealing two rows of stained, unpolished yellow teeth. Judging soley by the material lodged between them, one could have made a winning bet on what he’d had for lunch.
His breath was even worse.
“Listen, you backwards begrimed bureaucratic bastard. It’s been almost a week. In case you don’t know how many days that is, it’s seven. Seven days waiting, trapped in the pit of hell itself, with all manner of hideous, ungodly beasts such as yourself bouncing me from one to the next, always at opposite ends of this ridiculously run-down insitution you call a starbase, with one or more ale-swilling thugs following my every move — ” Geileis Kael glanced behind her, just in time to see a hulking shape duck into a doorway. “I know you’re there, you fat bastard!” she shouted.
The teethy Romulan in front of her laughed, a disgusting action that rolled up from the pit of his stomach, carrying all manner of noxious fumes with it.
“And as a doctor, may I suggest some common dental hygiene and an antacid!” Geileis couldn’t help but finish the tirade with a medical comment.
“Doctor, doctor, you must be calm. Shouting personal assaults will get you nowhere. I’m sure a sensible woman such as yourself can see the necessity of our precaustions.”
She didn’t like the sneering way he said the word “woman.”
“Can you see the necessity of me shoving my boot up — ”
“Doctor, please. Contain yourself. You have my deepest and sincerest apologies — ”
“For your breath?”
“For the amount of time you have had to endure on our humble establishment. However, I’m afraid we haven’t finished processing — ”
“I know exactly what you’re doing. I know exactly how you people work.”
“I’m afraid your encounter with the Thrai while serving on the Kryptonite hardly constitutes you an expert. Although I must say, it does add to an impressive list of credentials.” He paused, the silence loaded. “Impressive for a K’mai.”
Geileis could feel her fingernails digging into her palms, making tiny arcs all along her skin, as she resisted the urge to claw his sodding Romulan eyes out.
“I think you need to be grateful for all that we have done to make your stay with us more comfortable. Far more comfortable than some of our other guests. You don’t have to stay in the brig. We dispensed with the full military escort — ”
“After three bloody days.”
“We have given you almost complete freedom — ”
“Freedom? Freedom? You call this freedom? Freedom would be giving me back my shuttle and allowing me to report to my post on the Atlantis, or at the very least contact them — ”
“I assure you, doctor, your new ship has been contacted.”
“You know, holding me here against my will could be considered — ”
The man smiled broadly again as he interrupted her.
“An act of war.”
Geileis met his eye evenly. She stood a lofty 6 foot 3, and was accostumed to using every inch of it when the need arose.
His chest swelled as if it had been a compliment.
“You know, I’m forever surprised that more doctors aren’t warmongers. It keeps you in business you know — fresh pain to heal and all that.”
Geileis glared at him. If she were a different person, a stronger person, a security officer perhaps, she would have leapt at his throat by now.
“It can’t be much longer now, doctor,” he continued. “I’m sure your application to pass into Romulan space will finish processing soon.”
“This is all bullshit. Every bit of it.”
It was interesting to think that many people thought Geileis to be incredibly shy. The truth of the matter was, she was just usually very quiet. Except when angry.
“That may be, doctor, but you are still stuck here. And it would be wise of you not to make enemies for the time being.”
“You’d suggest making friends instead?” She snorted unattractively. “In this place, I’d rather make enemies than friends.”
Had it been a different situation, Geileis might have laughed at Lieutenant Wen’den’s definition of “dispensing with the full military escort.” It was true that the number of officers following her had been drastically reduced, and that they now tried to pretend they weren’t really there, but even now, sitting in her “quarters” (a converted storage room with an upholstered mat thrown on the floor), she could hear them stomping around and whispering just outside the door.
Your average Romulan military-type would make a lousy spy.
What was unusual about these particular muscleheads was that although most officers would be annoyed and bored with tailing a skinny Starfleet surgeon around to make absolutely sure she wasn’t a terrorist or spy in disguise, these did it enthusiastically, with gusto. Geileis wondered if they fancied themselves mini James Bonds, or were merely so sadistic that they wanted to make her life as miserable as possible. Probably a combination of both.
She flipped her hair out of her face and pushed some of the slop they’d given her to eat around on the plate. She knew the place was chock-full of replicators. They served her table scraps. If she asked about it, they’d probably tell her all of their replicators were broken. Just like all of their guest quarters were currently housing “important diplomats.” Any excuse to insult her. Just like the nearly unbearable 1700 hour curfew, which was now preventing her from leaving her “quarters” and attempting to scrounge up something more resembling “food.”
She sighed, tossing the plate of inedible sludge at the door like a frisbee, and began knawing on one fingernail. An admittedly bad habit only to be indulged in when circumstances seemed to have reached their absolute lowest.
This undoubtedly qualified.