MHAW Day Three – Day 3 – Sound

A/N – This is a sequel to my Khanolly fic "Descent Into Darkness". It would be best if you've read that fic first, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary to understand what's happening in this one.

Totally unbeta'd because it's late and I'm lazy. Most of the bridge dialogue is lifted directly from the movie. Please don't sue me. Also, it should be pretty obvious that this is an AU fic because where is the fun in a Khanolly fic if there isn't a happy(ish) ending? I'm not really happy with this, but it's 11:56 pm and I'm stubborn about deadlines so I'm calling it quits now. Finally, since it's not obvious, the sound theme is about voices (specifically Khan's and how Molly reacts to it and what she can read in it that others might miss).

From Darkness

Molly's heart raced.

From the moment the Vengeance warp core had shut down and the sickbay had switched to auxiliary power, her world had turned upside down.

No, before that. Long before.

When Section 31 had been bombed and Admiral Marcus had personally visited her flat to ask her to recreate the bio-agent that would be capable of killing John Harrison, that's when everything she'd thought she'd known had tilted on its axis.

It wasn't just that the man she'd thought she'd been friends with, had flirted with, had even shared one perfect kiss with, was a mass murderer. She now understood that everything she'd worked on in Section 31, all of her projects for who knew how long, had been approved with an eye toward eventual weaponization. That Admiral Marcus wasn't the honourable man she'd believed him to be.

It had all been a lie.

The only thing she was absolutely sure of anymore was that she was currently in danger and there wasn't a single person on the ship she could trust.

Not even the man she'd agreed to help in his mission to save his crew.

Especially not John Harrison.

It's Khan, she reminded herself as she rushed from station to station in the sickbay.

While the ship's warp core had come back on-line, most of the computer systems were still powering up. There was a specific order to follow as power would be allocated to the most vital areas first.

"Life support systems will switch back from auxiliary. Basic bridge commands, impulse drive, sickbay functions," Molly recited under her breath as she struggled to remember the basics she'd learned when she'd first joined Starfleet, before she'd specialized in medical research for the Federation.

She bit her lip in frustration as several of the terminals remained down. "How long? How long until we're back?"

Even if she did get the entire sickbay up and running before Khan had his crew transferred to the Vengeance, where would she put them? The seventy-two cryotubes would have to be stored somewhere until they could be safely opened. She was unfamiliar with the layout of the ship and had no idea where Khan would send his people, but she would need to make sure she had the proper equipment ready to go when they arrived.

There was nothing for it, she was going to have to find Khan.

She stuck her hand into the pocket of her tunic and brushed her fingers against the hypospray containing the bio-agent Marcus had requested, reassured by the cool metal. Molly hoped she wouldn't have cause to use it on Khan; but she would be a fool not to keep it with her, just in case. She readjusted her hold on her phaser, the weight of it unfamiliar in her hand, and eased through the door into the corridor outside.

Khan had said he was going to deal with Marcus, which meant he would have headed toward the bridge.

Molly picked a direction and ran for it, hoping that if she ran into one of the crew they would be the ask questions first, shoot second type.

It didn't take long before she heard a woman scream in pain. As far as she knew, there hadn't been any other women aboard the ship when it left dock. Perhaps she was one of Khan's crew?

Moments later, Molly heard another scream, loud enough to mask any sounds she might have made as she cautiously slipped through the door to the bridge and ducked behind the closest thing she could use as cover.

She immediately spotted Khan pulling another man off the floor as if he weighed nothing. From her hiding spot, she could see other bodies on the ground. The only one other one that was conscious was the woman who had switched from screaming to whimpering as she cradled her leg.

Khan held a phaser to the head of the man he was clearly planning to use as a bargaining tool. He shoved the other man in front of the viewscreen and addressed the crew on display. "I'm going to make this very simple for you."

One of the other ship's crew spoke, a Vulcan from his speech pattern and appearance. "Captain."

The man with Khan seemed to gather himself at the sound of the Vulcan's voice.

Molly considered the distance between herself and the other woman, and her odds of crossing the bridge without being spotted.

Khan spoke again. "Your crew for my crew."

That caught her attention.

"You betrayed us." The Vulcan didn't seem shocked by the revelation.

Khan smirked. "Oh, you are smart, Mister Spock." Something in his voice made Molly shiver, something almost sinister and yet . . . it wasn't quite fear that brought goose bumps to her skin.

The man Spock had addressed as Captain said something before Khan hit him with the butt of the phaser and let him drop to the floor. Khan turned his full attention to the viewscreen and demanded his crew once again.

"And what will you do when you get them?"

Molly thought she saw one of the men on the ground twitch.

"Continue the work we were doing before we were banished."

Banished? If she got out of this alive, there were going to be so many questions.

"Which, as I understand it, involves the mass genocide of any being you find to be less than superior." Spock seemed to be attempting to deliberately antagonize Khan.

The mention of mass genocide made her blood run cold. For a long moment, Molly considered raising her weapon and shooting Khan in the back. He'd survive it, probably, but it should be enough to bring him down long enough that she might be able to inject him with the hypospray. If the twitching man or one of the others were able to help her . . .

"Drop. Your. Shields." Khan's voice made it clear that he was nearing the end of his patience.

Her thumb nudged the switch on the side of the phaser away from Stun.

"Well, let's play this out logically then, Mister Spock. Firstly, I will kill your Captain to demonstrate my resolve." There was no trace of the man she'd known as John Harrison left in Khan, not in his voice or in the way he held himself. "Then, if yours holds, I will have no choice but to kill you and your entire crew."

"If you destroy our ship, you will also destroy your own people," Spock countered.

"Your crew requires oxygen to survive, mine does not. I will target your life support systems located behind the aft nacelle."

The Captain of the other ship began to stir. Molly bit her tongue, not sure if she was trying to hold back a warning for Khan or a distraction to give the Captain a chance to catch Khan by surprise. Her loyalties should lie with Starfleet; but she knew what it felt like to lose your family and if Khan had been telling the truth, if all of this was really about getting his crew back . . .

"And after every single person aboard our ship suffocates, I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my people. Now, shall we begin?"

She believed him. Of course, she did, there was no way she could ever forget what he'd done to Section 31. The question was, did Spock?

Apparently, he did. "Lower shields."

Thank the heavens. Molly slumped in relief. The odds of her survival would increase dramatically if Khan got his people back.

"A wise choice, Mister Spock." Khan barely spared a moment to kick the Captain out of his way before he was flicking his fingers across the screen of a console. "I see your seventy-two torpedoes are still in their tubes. If they are not mine, Commander, I will know it."

From where she was, she could see the way his hands shook as he transported the torpedoes and their precious cargo aboard. "Thank you, Mister Spock."

He dropped into the Captain's seat as Spock insisted Khan uphold his end of the deal. As if the chair had been made for him (which it probably had), Khan took command of the Vengeance. "Well, Kirk, it seems apt to return you to your crew. After all-"

Kirk, the woman, and one other man beamed away.

"-no ship should go down without her captain."

Immediately, the image of Spock disappeared from the viewscreen to be replaced by a view of a cargo hold containing row after row of torpedoes. "Welcome home, old friends," Khan whispered with reverence.

His hand moved again, and suddenly there was a heavily damaged starship on the viewscreen. "Goodbye, Kirk."

"Wait!" Molly shot to her feet. "Don't do it."

Khan's gaze flicked from her face to the phaser and back. She immediately held the phaser up and to the side, making it clear that she wasn't aiming at him.

"Don't do what, Molly? Don't destroy this last threat to my crew? I'm afraid I can't do that."

She eased closer to the command chair. He tensed. Molly carefully set the phaser on the closest console and lowered her hands to her sides. The reassuring weight of the hypospray was still in her tunic pocket.

"If you blow up that ship, the Enterprise, they'll never stop coming for you. Your crew will never be safe. Not really."

"If you think I'm scared of Starfleet-" he began.

Molly shook her head. "It won't just be Starfleet. It will be the entire Federation. All hunting for you and your people. You said that everything you've done was for them. Right?"

He nodded to show he was listening.

"Let the others go. Tell them . . . Tell them you're honouring your word. Their crew in exchange for yours. Tell them that all you want is to find a new home, you just want to be left alone. Leave them to tell the Federation how you spared them, granted mercy when you had the clear advantage."

Khan shook his head. "Mister Spock will never agree to that. Neither will Kirk."

"They don't have to. People will ask what happened, and by the time Kirk and Spock have been debriefed and the Federation has heard all about Admiral Marcus and convened a committee to decide whether or not to pursue you, you'll be long gone. If you destroy them now, every armed ship in the area will be sent after you in retaliation within a matter of hours."

She took one more step closer and stared into his eyes. "You'll need time to revive your crew. This could buy you some of that time."

"And you, Molly? What would you have me do with you?"

"I-I . . . You wanted my help to wake your people. I'm here. What do you need?"

He tapped a finger against the arm of the chair. "Khan to the crew of the Enterprise. As promised, I have returned your crew-"