Chapter Thirteen: Breaking The Chain
DISCLAIMER: All these characters are mine. Their various species, technology, and the overall idea of the Star Trek universe is not mine. The idea to--for some odd reason--place a NYC orphan who tries desperately not to be a Mary Sue is, however, all mine.
TIMELINE B—ROMULAN BRIG
Eli was so up to her neck in problems that the only words that could describe it would cause the maturity rating of this story to go up several degrees.
"Come on," Commander Jergon said with a condescending smile. The green shade of the force field between them made him look even more acidic than he already was. "You could not possibly believe that I would spare you your promised punishment just because you used fine words?"
"Well—yes," Eli stammered. Having drawn a complete blank on clever quips but still feeling obligated to talk back to him, she found she could only speak the truth.
Jergon chuckled. "I will grant you, you humans are quite amusing. But we must get on with things now, hmm?" He turned to his centurions. "Dal'enn, you bring down the forcefield. Everyone else, choose a prisoner and keep your crossbeams on them." He demonstrated by pulling out his own disruptor and leveling it at Eli's heart.
The centurions snapped to, and the ne called Dal'enn took his place behind the console. "Forcefield coming down in five, four, three, two, one—" Everything was suddenly less green, and the Romulans once again assumed their only slightly green-tinted pallor.
Which was when Sorick stepped forward. The Centurion that had her disruptor trained on him yelped in surprise, obviously dismayed that she might actually be called on to be able to shoot her Vulcan target. Fortunately for her, however, Sorick stopped a decorous distance away from the Commander.
"Have something you wish to say, kiste'mra?" He stole a glance at Sorick, but not for one moment did his gun waver.
"Yes, for I am not so foolish as to not heed the warning given me," Sorick replied, the slightest hint of a snarl in his words, only detectable because of the nature of his comment. Eli felt like she were watching the hackles rise on a dog, and wondered if it was wrong to be delighted with him for being illogical.
Subcommander Jergon was wary of Sorick now, and his eyes were calculating as he turned them fully on Sorick. (He still kept Eli in both his crosshairs and the corner of his eye.) "Well then. What is it?" Mock courtesy suited him well.
Sorick's face was Vulcan-level deadpan as he replied, "I propose that you swap the human with me."
While Eli was busy staring at Sorick like he was a crazy man (which he was), the Subcommander was doing much the same thing, actually raising his eyebrow, of all things. "You're offering up yourself in place of her."
Sorick's visage remained noncommittal. "I am more likely to…endure whatever punishment you have deemed necessary for her. This way, I may have my comrade unscathed, and you may have a greater number of political prisoners. Or slaves, if that is your final intention for us. Either way, the good of the many outweighs the needs of the few." He shot Eli and Captain Arandel both looks as he said this, making them freeze in their thoughts that were already forming protests.
Eli felt like smacking him. Stop using Spock quotes to make me agree with you, you…you mostly Vulcan prick! She thought. She looked over at Captain Arandel; unfortunately, she too seemed tripped up by the quote.
Subcommander Jergon was actually in conflict over this. "But…she is the one who did the deed. Other than the wrongs of your ancestors in the so-called 'Time of Awakening,' you have done nothing against the Romulan Empire. She may be your wife, but I cannot believe you to be one whom throws himself in front of every blow aimed at those he knows."
Sorick was impassive. "I, however, agree with the sentiment of the words, and might have said something similar, if not with such passion. From a Vulcan, is that not an equal evil to hers under your laws?"
Sorick was surprised. "It is." He fluctuated a moment, then said, "Then, if you truly wish to undergo punishment, so be it. Step out, slowly."
Sorick complied, slowly.
Eli began to step forward. "But, Sorick—"
Sorick glanced back at her, pausing. "What?"
Eli gave up any protest she was going to have. She wasn't going to stop him. "…I'm going to owe you know, aren't I?"
Sorick considered a moment, a slight glint of amusement coming into his eyes. "Yes. I suppose you shall." He continued his slow, even walk, falling in with the Romulans. The forcefield came up just behind his heels, and as he walked out the door, Illyn summed up everyone's feelings on the subject:
TIMELINE B—SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE BOWELS OF THE FEDERATION SHIP
Rathana felt like screaming again. If it weren't for the fact that she was far too busy trying not to be killed by the Romulans, she would've put herself out of her misery by now.
She had thought she'd chosen a guy who was smart; this guy was famous for his chess game, provided he wasn't up against a Vulcan or a member of any particularly un-sportsmanlike species, so she thought maybe he'd have a good tactical mind.
He threw his hands up at her. "I have a photographic memory! I read a few books on chess strategy that had lots and lots of pictures, and…boom. Instant visualization of what to do. Works out pretty well, actually."
"So you must remember what you read back in your Academy engineering class."
"Well…there weren't all that many pictures in it."
"So what? Photographic memory isn't picture-specific!"
He hung his head. "…But, I'm dyslexic. So, I remember the words, just not necessarily the way they were written."
Rathana smacked her forehead with the heel of her hand. "Just…just try, okay? Tell me what you remember seeing, and I'll see if I can decode it."
"All right…you sure about this?"
"Yes…now, do you remember the chapter about ship command controls? It was the one with the picture of a captain at the beginning of it."
TIMELINE B—ROMULAN BRIG
"Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit…" was the constant mutter from the corner where Illyn sat, plotting, in a way she had obviously gotten from her Jovit-ness. She had hardly stopped cursing since Sorick had left, occasionally switching to worse language—or what Eli assumed was worse, because they were neither in English nor any of the curses in other Earth languages she had collected during her younger years. It was pretty obvious that the plotting was not going well.
The room was otherwise silent; the rest of the crew, having come up with average, 24th century answers that had been shot down immediately by Illyn, had resigned themselves from the brainstorming race and had resumed their previous cell-bound hobby: finding shapes in the various dents and other marks making up the walls of their little prison. Aside from Illyn, only Captain Arandel seemed busy, pacing up and down while looking at her shoes.
Eli, meanwhile, was attempting to think, unsuccessfully. Mostly she felt as if there was blood rushing from her head, only constantly. It was kind of like that time, when she first came to in the sickbay, and had somehow ended up standing on her bed, smiling at a doctor like a crazy person and demanding to know what the hell was going on in her life. That was pretty much exactly the feeling, if she was honest with herself; as if, by some way that was currently beyond her, she was constantly putting herself in the middle of events, making things fall around her, but not in the way she wanted to…
She subconsciously reached down and touched her IDIC pendant through her shirt, feeling it, remembering when she had come back to the sickbay, her thoughts having by then fallen back into some semblance of order, and having been recognized as a bowl of petunias at first by a tricorder because of this aluminum pendant. She smiled at the memory—
Her smile froze. Aluminum. The tricorders had gone haywire, because in the future there was transparent aluminum, and so most things weren't programmed to take its highly reflective qualities into account…she had a feeling that theory held for Romulan technology as well.
Eli rose, the previous blood-rush feeling and her current illumination were acting in combination at the moment to make her rather calm. She was pretty sure that it would break into a million pieces pretty soon, and she wasn't entirely sure she would like the feeling she got when that happened, but for now she was going with the flow. "Illyn?"
Illyn's head snapped around to look at Eli. "What?" She asked, crabby.
"You can stop cursing now. I've figured out how to get out." The blood-rush feeling was starting to fade, and she started to tremble a little. "You too, captain. You can stop pacing."
Every eye in the room was on her, but it was from the mouth below Jovit's that Illyn said, "What…?"
Eli raised her voice because it seemed necessary for the drama of the moment. "If everyone wouldn't mind stepping back from the forcefield? Also, on the count of three, you might want to shield your eyes. I'm betting it's going to be really bright."
To no one's surprise, everyone obeyed her. It's actually best to do so when someone has a crazy look in their eye, and also when they look absolutely sure that they can spring you out.
"Okay." Eli took a breath, then pulled out her IDIC pendant. She yanked it off her neck, not bothering with the clasp; she would've fumbled too much. She slid the pendant off the broken chain and held it in her right hand, cocking her arm back as to get some good force going. "On the count of three, then. One…two…three!"
She threw the pendant at the forcefield.
The world exploded as the pendant hit the bright green wall of electricity, paint vaporizing on contact to let the beams touch the shiny metal underneath. They reflected off in all directions, leaving burn spots wherever they hit an exploding the lights on contact, throwing everything into a shadowy darkness for a split second. Then some of the beams reflected straight back at their source, and the resulting explosion was so bright that there were no shadows, only things illuminated by one bright, day-glow shade of green, with a huge crackling SHOOM to act as its musical accompaniment. And finally, they were plunged into black, slightly burned-smelling darkness. (Note: If you've ever seen a transformer explode, forget this description and go by your personal experience of that.)
"Ow,"commented Boral from somewhere in the shadows behind and to the right of Eli. "I'm going to see spots for years."
"Idiot," Illyn said, but there was an unmistakable tint to her voice that told them she was smiling. "She said you should cover your eyes."
"Well, I wanted to see it," Boral huffed. His tone was serious then. "Well, we're free of this hell-hole of a cell. Now what?"
Captain Arandel sounded slightly deflated. "A lot of running and hiding."
Eli probed, "To get Sorick, right?"
"And live," Illyn contributed.
"And get off this ship and onto our own," added Boral.
"And get back to our own time," a voice Eli didn't know put in.
"Without being Romulan prisoners," said Sh'tas.
"And in our own version of the universe," Eli voiced, for good measure. As long as they were voicing their goals, she thought it prudent to add her own concerns.
"Sounds like a good plan," Captain Arandel said, in a voice that both approved of their against-the-odds hopeful spirit while also trying to reign them in. "Now, let's start all that running and hiding, shall we?"
Never before that moment was a teenaged orphan from New York City who had been mixed up with a TV show come to life and transported into an alternate universe so happy to obey an authority figure.
A/N: Darn it, it's all shortish, again. I have to remember that the font my Word program is set to is really big...Anyway, after a month-long delay, Chapter Thirteen is here! In which we have the scene for which the chapter is named, and is supposed to be quite big. I'm not sure if I wrote it right, but here it is. Enjoy.