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Stick And Carrot

Posted on Sep 14, 2014 @ 7:42pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos

Mission: Absolute Power

"Stick and Carrot"
(Cont. In Veritas)

Location: Seattle, EARTH
Scene: Outside Kassandra’s apartment.

Kassandra glowered at her apartment door as she keyed in the access
code. Her fury was simmering under her skin like a live thing. She had
never been a patient woman where political power plays and intrigues
were concerned but the game Edgerton was playing had pushed her over
the edge. She despised people who ruined lives by those in power using
them as pawns.

**Especially when there’s someone like me involved, who actually
deserves to have their name dragged through the mud.** She thought
sourly as she punched the lock code into her door. She swore as a smug
beep informed her that she had entered the wrong code. What was it?
She’d punched the same code in every single day for over two years, no
problem. Now, a couple months later, and consciously thinking about
opening her door, she couldn’t remember what the godforsaken code was-

She felt a prickle of warning on the pack of her neck, and her
attention snapped back to the full data stream from her sensor nets
just in time to catch the flash of a stun beam as it splashed across
her back. She stumbled against the door, and the world went black.


Scene: Unknown

She had no idea how long she had been out when she finally came to.
Her sensor nets, overloaded by the excess energy from the stun beam
were flickering erratically. She swallowed the sour taste of fear in
her mouth as she tried to control her rising panic. Twenty years
later, she still remembered the impenetrable darkness that she was
certain was Karmic justice for the massacre at Balbossa; she
remembered laying in that darkness, hearing phaser fire whining
through the air above her, bodies falling to the ground, the yells of
her fellow Marines as they fought and died-

“She’s up now.” A voice belonging to a man she could only get vague
impressions of as her the nanites tasked with repairing the delicate
nets under her skin rushed busily around her bloodstream turning on
and off her sensors to repair damaged components said from close by.
She was hauled upright and placed in a chair, and she felt the
familiar sensation of a static field being activated to keep her
restrained. She tried to hide the terror she felt as she waited for
the nanites to finish their work. Fear was weakness. Weakness was
death. She slowed her breathing, replacing her fear with anger.

Edgerton watched with interest as the groggy Marine began to apprise
her situation. The tightly held fear masked with rage reminded him of
a cornered feral cat as Kassandra subtly tested the field holding her
in place. The nets under her skin sparked and shimmered angrily.

“You.” Kassandra finally hissed angrily at him when her sensors
finally came back online. Her ears turned a bright shade of crimson.
“You have a lot of nerve, kidnappin’ me after all the shit you’ve
pulled. Let me the fuck out of this forcefield.”

“I think not.” Edgerton leaned back and eyed her warily. “I saw what
you did to Mr. Johnson. I don’t fancy getting attacked with any
impromptu weapons you might devise.

Her dead blue eyes smouldered with hatred.

“What. Do. You. Want?” She finally asked, spitting the words at him
like bullets.

“I want what you owe me, Captain Thytos. An explanation. What really
happened on the DISCOVERY. The truth, not the lies or the dumb hick
routine you pulled out for the Board of Inquiry. Let’s not insult each
other’s intelligence. How is it that all my people are dead, except
for you and a small handful of bit players?”

Kassandra turned her false gaze towards the floor, an unconscious
gesture left over from a time when she could still see. She was
clearly struggling with her desire not to cooperate with him, and the
satisfaction of explaining to him exactly how all his careful plans
were ruined.

Gloating won out. A smirk pulled at the edges of Kassandra’s mouth.

“Stonn overplayed his hand, and you badly misjudged me.” Her glassy
eyes seemed even more distant, if it were possible, like she was
looking back into the past. “All this is his fault, really. He coulda
ended it by gettin’ me and the Marines to destroy the computer banks,
or plantin’ charges to make it look like the CENTURY ruptured her
plasma manifolds, but no, he decided the best plan of action to keep
what we found secret was to mutiny.”

Edgerton raised his eyebrow in surprise. It was a rash move he would
not have associated with a Vulcan. But then again, one downside of the
Vulcan’s logical thought processes, and lack of faith in non-Vulcans
behaving logically meant that they did tend to act like control

“What precipitated the mutiny?” He asked, his prim accent clipped.

“We found out about your little fatal rendezvous with the CENTURY and
the Essentialists.” Her pronouncement hit Edgerton in the gut, but he
didn’t allow it to show. Edgerton wondered what sort of game Captain
Kane was playing- the information could have caused him a major
headache, but Kane had withheld it from the Board. “So you see, it’s
unnecessary the shit yer pullin’ with Crichton, well, you shoulda left
well enough alone.”

“Thank you for your concern.” Sarcasm oozed from every pore of that
statement. She might be a good tactician on the battlefield, but the
subtle game of politics was far beyond her capabilities. “Now, tell me
how you fit into all of this.”

“No.” Her stubborn chin jutted in defiance, and her lips clamped
tightly shut. Edgerton sighed. He so loathed recalcitrance.

“I don’t think you understand your situation, my dear Captain. You
hold no cards in this situation, while I have a royal flush. You will
tell me.”

“Or what, you’ll have me court-martialed?” Kassandra scoffed. “I live
in a perpetual state of disgrace, if you hadn’t noticed. Once more
embarrassment won’t kill me. Try again asshole. I ain’t a dog, and you
ain’t my master.”

“Ah, the defiant keeper of her own destiny. It’s nearly as fun to
watch you fall as a moral idealist.” He grasped her chin in one hand
and forced her to ‘look’ at him. Not because it made a difference, but
as a display of the vulnerability of her situation. “No, Kass- I may
call you that, right? Your friends do, and I so dearly wish to be
friends- I’m not some mustachioed villain, lurking in the shadows,
issuing anonymous threats and assassinating people.”

“Coulda fooled me.” Kassandra snapped, jerking her head away, her
teeth snapping shut a hairsbreadth from his hand.

He snatched his hand back, and rapped her firmly on the bridge of the
nose as one would when reprimanding a puppy. The scarlet blush on her
ears spread to her cheekbones, and her breath came in staccato bursts
of impotent rage.

“No, because it would be crass, and lack subtlety- and that is
entirely your style, not mine. No, I won’t threaten you, it would
never get me what I want. The more I threaten, the more defiant you’d
be come. They call that Oppositional Defiance Disorder, by the way” He
steepled his fingers and fixed her with an authoritative gaze. “I will
only say this: Your niece Asta is currently on the short list for an
extremely prestigious position at the Daystrom Institute’s department
of Computer Sciences and Technology. A word in the right ears would
give her a sizable advantage. On the other hands, there is a
Federation station out in the fringe worlds that desperately needs a
competent computer systems repair technician.”

He paused to let her absorb that. The flush of anger crept across her
nose and down her throat. She understood him.

“And lest you think that that is the only thing I can do, your nephew
has been accepted as part of the Starfleet Cultural Exchange Program.
Think of the publicity and exposure he’ll get if he is sent to the
right planets- genteel, metropolitan, civilized planets that will
appreciate his performances. Then consider that part of the program is
geared to bringing civilization to the more… savage cultures.”

He let that sink in. She was by no means an idiot, and though her
pride, principles and fierce independence fought over her features for
a brief moment, they quickly vanished, leaving behind the hollow
acknowledgement of defeat.

“Once I realized what Stonn was doin’- and that he planned to kill
everyone that wasn’t with you to keep that idiotic secret, I- I
couldn’t and wouldn’t be part of somethin’ like that. Balbossa has
dogged me enough as it is. I didn’t want to kill anyone again, but no
matter what I did, I had to.” She said it bitterly. The entire story
came out, with military precision, the CENTURY, the away team,
rescuing the engineers.

“I suppose bein’ here is part of my punishment for that. I killed
your people, killed my Marines, and those that I didn’t kill or get
onto the CENTURY died when *I* blew up the DISCOVERY. You happy now?”
She finished, her shoulders sagging in the force field.

“Hardly.” Edgerton said dryly. She’d put an odd emphasis on the fact
that she was the one who destroyed the DISCOVERY. Edgerton could not
quite decide whether it was a warning not to underestimate her, or a
potshot at him to rub in how thoroughly she’d ruined his plans.

He mulled his options over in his head. Kill her or use her. She
seemed contrite and docile under the implied threat to her niece and
nephew’s careers. He may have misjudged her the first time, but he was
certain of the woman’s willingness to do anything to protect the
twins. And Kane would trust her implicitly after her part in
overturning the mutiny.

Use her.

“You’ve caused me a great deal of trouble, Kass.” He continued. “Your
little tantrum on the DISCOVERY has made my situation much more…
Delicate… than it used to be. And you have not even begun to pay for
that. So, keeping in mind the aspirations of your children, you will
make this up to me by acting as my eyes and ears on Michael Turlogh
Kane’s next command. You will report on his movements, you will report
the status of missions, and when asked, you will attempt to manipulate
and push Kane into taking the course of action I desire.”

He kept his eyes locked on her face, looking for the slightest hint of
defiance. He saw nothing but resignation, defeat.

**You’ve used the stick, now take the sting away with the carrot.**
Edgerton thought, smiling inwardly. **Coerce them, then entice them
with something they want.**

“Now, as I said, I want us to be friends.” He began again, smiling a
reassuring conciliatory smile. “I want you to want to work for me, I
want this to be mutually beneficial. I am very good to those that help
me, and as it happens, I have something that I think will fulfill your
deepest desired.”

“Booze and cigarettes I can get myself, and I don’t fancy bumpin’
uglies with you.” Her attempt at scathing contempt was querulous, an
attempt to reassert a measure of control.

“Not high on my lists of things to do either, Kass. But I do have a
finished version of the Daedelus Class fighter, and it could be
yours.” Her head snapped towards him. The longing was naked on her
face. Even after so many years, the addiction ran deep. “I trust we
have a deal. Dismissed.”

He signaled his aide, who administered a dose of sedative.


Scene: Outside Kassandra’s apartment

“Auntie Kass, Auntie Kass, MOM!” The voice cut through the darkness
and Kassandra opened her eyes blearily.

“I’m notchyer mom.” Kassandra slurred, pushing aside the nausea from
the sedative. Asta’s face was hovering over her, a look of supreme
disappointment on her face. She hauled Kassandra upright, her jaw

“You PROMISED. You promised you weren’t going to do this anymore!”
Asta sounded hurt and sad. “We believed you!”

“I wasn’t- I- this really isn’t how it looks, Asta. I haven’t been…
I’ve been keeping my promise, I have.” Kassandra hung her head. Asta
was in no mood to believe her, and Kassandra didn’t blame her. The
relationship between herself and the twins had been strained for the
last three years, since she hit her low point. Her drinking had always
been a bone of contention since they were old enough to voice an
opinion about it to her directly, but the other things… Those were
nigh on unforgivable to them, and rightly so.

“Sure. Whatever.” Asta snapped. “It’s the lying that hurts the most,
you know. Get yourself together, you promised to go to Lysander’s
concert tonight, and I am not going to let you ruin it for him.”

Kassandra felt herself wilting under the weight of her niece’s disappointment.

**Thanks a fucking lot, Admiral Edgerton.** She thought bitterly.

Alix Fowler
The tormentor of:

Captain Kassandra Thytos
Federation Marine Corps


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