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Scum And Villainy (Chapter Five)

Posted on Jun 06, 2019 @ 5:51pm by Raxl Dreyton
Edited on on Jun 06, 2019 @ 5:52pm

Mission: Section 31

= Scum and Villainy, Chapter Five =


STARDATE: [2.19] 0606.1458

Raxl Dreyton opened his eyes. The lids felt sticky, like they’d been closed for a long time. He realized his mouth had gone dry, too. He managed to pull one eye open, but the light stabbed into his retinas so savagely that he slammed it shut again and contented himself with a pained groan instead. He rubbed at his clenched eyes with his hands, and slowly hauled himself up into something close to a sitting position. He risked cracking his eyes open again; the pain, while still there, was less intense this time, and
after a few blinks, his blurred vision resolved itself into a view of a patch of dull gray deck-plating, framed by the dirty brown leather of Rax’s own boots.

“Water,” Rax rasped. He didn’t even bother trying to raise his head; between the dull throbbing in both the base of his skull and his chest, he thought any excess movement might make him puke, and judging from the desert that his mouth and throat had become, he wasn’t sure he had the moisture to spare.

No water came, but there was a voice. It was familiar.

“There’s a sink. It’s reclaimed water from the ship’s sanitation system, but it will keep you hydrated.”

Rax lifted his head a little, just enough to look around. He found himself staring through the familiar blue shimmer of a security forcefield. Beyond it was a small walkway, and just beyond that was another wall of shimmering blue. Between the two forcefields, and the swimming feeling in his own head, it was difficult for Rax to focus, but he could make out the silhouette of a figure standing in the security cell across from his own. True to form, even in his diminished state, it was the curves of the figure’s body that Raxl recognized first.


“Quiet!” Selyara’s voice seemed to lash at him through the twin security fields, so suddenly that her name died on his lips. He looked at her, and must have managed a confused expression, because Selyara gave him something that approached a reassuring smile. She lifted one slender finger and pressed it against her lips, and capped off the gesture with a wink.

“They’ve brought us aboard their ship,” she said, looking around. “We’re at warp, you can feel the vibrations through the deck. This must be the brig.”

She looked back at Rax, and now her expression was deadly serious.

“You never know who might be listening.”

Rax got the message; the scum who’d captured them hadn’t recognized Selyara’s face, but there was no guaranteeing they wouldn’t recognize her name. There was every chance they could be listening in, and tipping them off that one of their prisoners was, or had been at one point, one of the most wanted fugitives in the Alpha Quadrant would not be the best idea.

“Okay,” Rax said. He managed to haul himself to his feet and stumbled over to the corner. The sink Selyara had promised was there, and the water tasted exactly the way Selyara had promised it would, but it was at least cool and wet, and managed to go some way towards soothing the burning feeling in his throat. He caught the water in cupped hands and drank them greedily down, before the taste overcame him. He stepped away from the sink, and for a moment he wondered if his stomach would hold the foul-tasting water down. Once he was convinced it would, he turned back to look at Selyara.

“So. Aella. They got you too?”

Selyara gave him a smile, and for once Rax would have sworn it was genuine. Aella had been the name she had used when their paths had first crossed, all those years ago on the space station LIMBO. Rax thought it would make an appropriate pseudonym for the immediate future, and Selyara seemed to agree.

“Their leader, Brass, seems to have a thing for me,” Selyara said. “Though so far he’s contented himself with leering at me through the forcefield.”

“Lucky him.” His legs felt unsteady underneath him, so Rax let himself drop roughly onto the cot behind him. “How long have been out?”

“I don’t know for sure,” Selyara said, looking around. “They stunned me too. And they weren’t using one of those polite Starfleet stun settings, either; whatever it was put us down hard. I’ve been awake for about six hours.”

“Shit. If they’ve had us on their ship that whole time, there’s no telling where we are. They might have hauled us halfway across the quadrant by now.”

“You seem to appreciate the contours of our situation,” Selyara said, giving him a wry smile.

“Very funny. Anyone come visit since you’ve been awake?”

“Just Brass. He made a few promises about the kind of treatment I can expect when he finally gets us to where we’re going.”

“I don’t suppose he mentioned where that would be?”

“Not specifically. He mentioned rendezvousing with another ship.”

“Well, that’s something,” Rax said. “Two ships, probably no shortage of escape pods or shuttlecraft… we pick the right moment and we make a break for it.”

Selyara shook her head. “No.”

“No?” Rax leaned forward. “I guess maybe you ain’t been following ‘the contours of our situation’? These people are probably going to kill us, or turn us over to people who will kill us. What, are you curious how much they’re planning to make it hurt first?”

“The case,” Selyara said simply.

Raxl remembered; the case he’d come to sell to Brass. The one that Selyara had implied contained some kind of weapon, maybe even a bomb. She’d tracked Rax down to get that case back, and now that it was in the hands of Brass and his pirates, she wasn’t going to just let it go.

“Shit.” Rax sat back.

“You’ve been in worse situations than this,” Selyara said cooly.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t like them either.”

Any further conversation was cut off by the sound of the brig doors sliding open with a hiss and a hint of grinding metal. Selyara and Rax both turned, but impeded by the forcefields in their cells, they couldn’t quite get the proper angle to look up the walkway and see who it was that had just entered. Rax noticed that the change in Selyara’s demeanor was instant - her controlled poise evaporated, as her shoulders hunched and her head bowed slightly.

They heard footsteps approaching up the walkway, and a moment later a human male stepped into view. He was six feet tall, with shaggy brown hair that was the same color as the scruffy beard covering his cheeks and chin. A single pale blue eye stared suspiciously through the forcefield at Rax; the other eye was covered by a black eyepatch. Rax recognized the man immediately.

“You. I thought I must have been mistaken, or maybe that I dreamed you up after your friend shot me.”

The man smiled humorlessly. “You dreamed me? Weird.”

“You know what I mean,” Rax frowned. “You’re Jake Crichton.”

Jake Crichton rolled his remaining blue eye. “I should really just start carrying around a card with all this printed on it. No, Dreyton, I’m not your old pal Jake. We just share a face.”

Rax raised an eyebrow. “How’s that?”

The Jake look-alike waved this question off. “Oh, you know. Parallel dimensions and all that. Managed to cross over from mine into yours and decided I’d stay awhile. But that’s not why I’m here.”

“Okay. So why are you here?”

“Just wanted to see how you’re feeling,” Crichton shrugged. “We have a doctor on board. Well, he was xeno-veterinarian before he started skimming the top off his own supply of painkillers, but close enough. His hands usually don’t shake too badly.”

“Why would you care how I’m feeling?” Rax asked, crossing his arms in what he hoped was a defiant gesture.

“Personally, I don’t,” Crichton shrugged. “But the bounty on your head stipulates you be brought in alive and alert. I guess Riss has plans and he wants you awake for them.”

“Riss.” Rax couldn’t stop himself from glancing over Crichton’s shoulder at Selyara, still pretending to cower in the opposite cell. “You work for Riss. Wonderful.”

“Yeah, funny the kinds of people you run into out here,” Crichton shrugged. “Riss had no idea you’d be the one sent to courier that case. If Brass hadn’t recognized you, this day would have turned out awfully different.”

“Guess I’m just lucky,” Rax sighed. “I don’t suppose there’s any way you could be persuaded to pretend you never saw me?”

Crichton gave a single, short laugh. “Not likely. You don’t look like you’ve got enough money to buy me off. And anyway, it doesn’t matter, Riss already knows you’re coming.”

“Great.” Rax slumped back against the wall of his cell.

“You know, I read up on you,” Crichton said. “After Brass told me who you were. I heard about what you did - stealing Riss’s wife, then burning down half of his spaceport in your escape. You’ve got some real guramba.”

Now it was Rax’s turn to laugh, though his was more humorless than Crichton’s had been. “Would you believe I barely remember any of it? I got drunk and slept with that asshole’s fiance, so he killed her for it.”

Crichton didn’t appear moved. “Sounds like Riss. And the spaceport?”

Rax shrugged. “I set a small fire, as a diversion. Guess I set it too close to the fuel reserves.”

Crichton grinned. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. Riss has you pegged as one of the slipperiest, most dangerous people he’s ever painted a target on, and you’re telling me it was all an accident?”

“That’s right,” Rax said. “I guess it’s more impressive if you think it was all according to plan.”

“Well, either way, it sounds like quite a story. Wish I could have heard it over a couple of beers.”

“I don’t suppose that’s gone any way towards changing your mind about letting us go?”

Crichton shook his head. “No. But I’ll tell you what, you’ve got my sympathy. I hope Riss makes it quick for you, but I wouldn’t count on it.”

Rax felt a subtle shift in the vibrations coming up through the deck. Crichton noticed it too; he looked around for a moment, then back at Rax.

“We’re about to drop out of warp,” he said. “We must be at the rendezvous. You sure you don’t want to see the doctor?”

“I think I’ll manage.”

“Suit yourself.” Crichton turned to leave, and then he seemed to notice Selyara in the opposite cell. Still playing her part perfectly, Selyara barely met his gaze before dropping it again to the deck.

“Um,” she said quietly. “What about me?”

“You,” Crichton said. He stared at her, long enough for Rax to start to feel nervous. He felt his muscles tense, though what he expected to do from behind the security field, he couldn’t say.

Finally, Crichton looked away. “If it were up to me, we’d have left you back on MIRA V. Now, I guess what happens to you is up to Brass and Riss. That doesn’t exactly bode well for you, sweetheart.”

“But... what does that mean?”

“You’ve got my sympathies too,” Crichton said. He moved back up the walkway, towards the brig doors, without looking back at either one of them.


NRPG: “Guramba” is the Nausicaan word for “gumption, nerve, gall, etc.” according to Memory Alpha. ;-)

Shawn Putnam
Raxl Dreyton
A Soon-To-Be-Cooked Goose



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