Obsidian Command

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In the Running: Diverting

Posted on 13 Feb 2022 @ 10:44am by Yuliette Marayan

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Loki System, aboard the SS Wishbone
1178 words - 2.4 OF Standard Post Measure

There were sheets of translucent plastic, taped from a hotel ceiling, layers and layers of them, which seemed to form an endless tunnel. Each time she reached out and struggled to push back one curtain, her bloodied hands smeared and stained it, and yet just as the sheets of plastic went on and on indefinitely, so did the blood on her hands. Where was the door? Where was the way out? Her heart seemingly beating through her chest, ears ringing with terror, she pressed through faster and faster. In one desperate dive, she pressed with her arms and hit an elastic wall of pliable but never ending plastic, squeaking and crinkling and shrink wrapping her arms.

The shrieking of the plastic became a defining shrill tone and she couldn’t scream over it.

Covered in a thin night sweat, the dreamer woke with her arms outstretched against the cool metallic bulkhead. Her eyes flew open and adjusted to the soft lighting of the sleeper cabin, the bunk spacious enough to sit up in and keep a locker of personal effects, but not unlike a large coffin.

A tone was repeating on the ship intercom, with a calm voice of one of the crew routinely explaining something over the gentle tones.

“—making it necessary for the SS Wishbone to divert course to the nearest port for repairs. Partial refunds will be made available. New arrangements can be made for flight connections. We apologize for the inconvenience—”

Pulling on her sweater and grabbing her shoulder bag, which accounted for all of her personal possessions, the slight half-cardassian woman rolled out of the bunk and came to her feet on the floor of the hall of passenger bunks. There were a dozen in this section and here and there others were also rubbing sleep from their eyes and taking in the announcement. She had seen their faces for nearly two weeks now, but had managed as much as possible to avoid getting to know any of them. It was best if she kept to herself to avoid any possible misunderstandings or worse… discovery.

She wasn’t much of a liar, so it was simpler to avoid talking altogether. If she went around asking people for their names and stories, they might want to reciprocate the polite inquiry and it wouldn’t be long until suspicions were raised. She was determined to keep her head down long enough to make it out of the Federation. It was just such a terribly long journey to Cardassian space and the flight connections she had to take were so indirect. With her funds low and her need to stay out of any major ports, it was going to be a couple of months of travel on some pokey little boats until she made it out to the Cardassian Colonies.

And she was already going to miss her first connection with this diversion. She contemplated confronting the Captain about it. But there was absolutely nothing to be had by doing so. He was hardly going to change his mind on unexpected repairs because some mousey little Cardassian woman insisted. And if she got on his bad side, he might look closely over her credentials and find something that didn’t hold up.

They had to hold up. She had pulled every resource she had left to her name (or left to her alias, at least). But in the end she had to trust that snake, Bonaventura. At first she wasn’t sure he hadn’t orchestrated the entirely new identity as a ruse to walk her right into some bounty hunter’s arms and claim part of the reward money. Or to have her picked up by a Rho Saran Marshall as she boarded her flight. But after Merton’s desperate warning, she knew she had to take her chances to get off of Starbase 109. With the ancient patchwork of deck modifications and allowances for private organization (or disorganization) as the case had been, SB109 had plenty of room to hide and lots of ways to stay off the radar. But it was still ultimately a Starfleet station. Not everyone would continue to turn a blind eye like Doctor Lanis had. Or maybe, eventually, that drug-hungry detective Renato would have blurted her real name out at the wrong time and everyone in earshot would try to cash in on being a tipster.

She went to one of the little portal windows at the end of the hall and tried to remind herself to breathe. Paranoia had truly kept her neck out of a noose so far, but it still was too much to let it run roughshod all of the time. She’d missed the announcement of what port the ship’s Captain had selected while she had been asleep and was curious to find what the SS Wishbone was pulling up to dock with as it dropped out of warp and turned about.

Her eyes grew wide in the reflection of the glass and her muscles froze as the inverted mushroom of a Stardock came into view.

Had they turned around to SB109 to hand her over? Was the whole intercom talk of repairs a cover? When had they dropped out of warp and turned back? She couldn’t recall. Had she been sleeping at the time? Then she shook herself. There was an entire planet filling much of the view port. 109 wasn’t stationed in orbit of any planet.

But no one was looking at her. No personnel were coming to secure her. Everyone seemed perfectly unaware of her secret terror. They just seemed irritated by the change in plans, gathering their luggage or debating how this unexpected stop on Obsidian Command affected their itinerary.

Obsidian Command? She stood with her jaw agape. The last she’d heard of Obsidian Command was before she’d left home, when it had been reported missing— a whole Stardock supposedly vacuumed up into some vortex of subspace! While taking his breakfast, her father had discussed how it had destabilized the entire region. At the time it had seemed typical breakfast conversation while pondering over the daily news. But she’d since learned so many unfortunate things about her father that she had to wonder… she racked her memory to try to recall if she didn’t detect some hint of pleasure in his easy tone.

With white knuckles, she gripped the strap of her bag. Her ID and travel credentials had worked leaving SB109. They would no doubt serve just as well here. The batch update record falsification into the Federation core database ensured she had an entire referenced history. She closed her eyes to run through the details of her borrowed life story just as when she’d recited it back the first time. “Foolproof.” Bonaventura had assured her with that shit eating grin reaching from mutton chop sideburn to mutton chop sideburn as he collected her latinum, tucking the marks inside the lining of his silk vest. “I wish you a beautiful future, ‘Neone’...”

-tbc-

 

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