I do not own Stargate Universe
Warning - Mentions of Torture and Violence and Murder
"_" Radio Talk
Rating M to be safe
Chapter 13 – Justice
Once the door shut, Claire turned to face Camille and asked "Well?" while TJ, Vanessa and Chloe looked on confused
"Why didn't you tell anyone?" Camille asked and Claire scoffed
"Oh yeah it's something I really want to talk about, a real conversation item" Claire said sarcastically "To tell everyone that your father was one of the most infamous serial killers of the twentieth century" she blurted out and TJ, Vanessa and Chloe looked on shocked at her words
"What on Earth are you talking about?" TJ asked whenever the subject of families had come up before Claire had just quietly directed the conversation away from herself.
"Exactly what I said, I take it you've never heard about Magnus Williams?" Claire asked and the three of them shook their heads, Camille looked on unsure of what to say
"If you lived in Britain you would have. Magnus Williams kidnapped and tortured over thirty people to death throughout his life; he kept them alive for days after snatching them off the streets; devising new ways to hurt them without killing them, ripping their fingernails and toe nails off and putting low level electric currents through the exposed nerves, blowtorching areas of their skin. I think you get the point" Claire told them as the four other women looked disgusted at the things she was saying and the images they created
"Me and my mother found out eventually, he'd always kept it hidden from us but then I found some of his 'trophies'" she told them and explained "Serial Killers sometimes collect things from their victims like ears or teeth" and the four women looked sick at the thought
"In Magnus's case it was fingers" she said "One from every kill. When I found them and showed them to mum, she was horrified" Claire told them thinking back to the day she had tried to so hard to put behind her
Flashback…1992 Earth United Kingdom
The small house was quiet as a six year old Claire sat on the front room floor drawing with her crayons. A beautiful red haired woman entered, Claire would look a lot like her when she grew up but not for many years.
"What are you drawing sweet heart?" the woman asked her and Claire turned to face her
"A train mummy" Claire told her and showed her a picture of a train. It was one of those pictures that were already drawn but children could colour in how they liked. In Claire's case the train was completely red even the smoke from its funnel.
"That's nice sweetie" her mother told her and pulled her into a hug that Claire eagerly returned "Now could you get the book from mommy and daddy's bed for me sweet heart?" her mother asked and Claire nodded her head
"Good Girl" her mother said and let Claire down so she could go and get the book. Claire skipped to her mummy and daddy's room and found the book and was about to take it back to her mother when she saw that her daddy's special box in their closet was unlocked. Her daddy had always told her not to look in his special box but she just couldn't help herself. She moved forward into the big closet and carefully lifted the lid off her father's box.
When she peered inside she didn't understand what she found. There were fingers, big fingers like mummy and daddy's fingers; maybe they were joke fingers like for April fool's Day but they looked real.
Claire was confused, she decided to ask her mummy and so she picked up the book her mother had sent her for and went downstairs to the Kitchen where her mother was making dinner
"Thank you my darling, would you look like to help me make dinner?" her mother said smiling as she saw Claire enter
"Mummy, I looked in daddy's special box" Claire said and her mother's smile faded as she looked at her daughter disappointed
"Sweetie you know you not supposed to go through mummy and daddy's things" she said as she told off her daughter
"But there were fingers inside mummy, like your fingers" Claire said and her mother looked surprised at these words
"What do mean fingers sweet heart?" she asked
"Real fingers, grown up fingers like yours mummy" Claire told her again and her mother now looked really worried
"Could you show me sweet heart?" her mother asked and Claire nodded leading her mother back to the special box were her mummy put her hand over her mouth and gasped when she saw what was inside. She quickly looked over to the clock and saw that Magnus was going to home any minute.
"Now sweetie there's something I need for you to do for me" she said quickly and picked Claire up and carried her down stairs "While I call the police I need you to hide in the closet okay sweet heart and do not come out or make any noise till I come to get you okay sweetheart?" she asked her daughter who looked quite scared
"Why mummy?" Claire asked but her mother said more harshly than she'd intended
"Not now Claire, I need you to be a big girl and do as I say right now sweet heart" her mother said as she opened the closet and put Claire down wrapping her up in coats to hide her and gave her a kiss on the forehead and a tight hug before closing the day leaving Claire in the dark save for a few beams of light coming from the holes in the door that Claire could just see through.
She watched as her mother called the police who told her that they'd be there as soon as possible and to try and act as if everything was normal till they got there and she heard her say where she'd hidden Claire. She saw her mother hang up the phone and go back into the Kitchen. Claire wanted to go to her but stayed where she was.
Then a few minutes later the front door opened as daddy came home, he called out to her and mummy who shouted that she was in the kitchen. Her daddy went up to his room and then there was a yell as he got there
"WHO HAS BEEN GOING THROUGH MY THINGS?" he shouted as he came running down the stairs and her mother came quickly to meet him
"I don't know what you're talking about Magnus" her mother said trying to pacify him till the police arrived but he had worked himself into such a rage already. From her hiding place Claire was getting really scared, she never seen daddy this angry before.
"Don't give me that you tart!" He screamed at her and grabbed her by the throat and squeezed, Claire wanted to run out there and tell daddy that it was her who looked in his special box so he'd stop hurting mummy but she was frozen in place by fear. Her mummy started making noises she never heard before and then she heard sirens coming from outside. Then her daddy started shaking mummy who stopped moving and fell to the ground and didn't get up. Claire wanted to cry out but was too scared.
The police barged down the door and after a brief struggle put daddy in handcuffs and dragged him away. Then the door of the closet opened and a policewoman looked in and saw the small figure of Claire huddled in the corner
"The policewoman picked me up and carried me out. I didn't say a single word for days, they got my dad for over thirty murders including my mother's" Claire told them as her audience looked on shocked and horrified.
"I actually testified at his trial, they sent him down for life and I was sent to my grandmother on the Welsh coast, it took years of counselling to get through it" she told them not able to meet their gaze as her head fell "But everyone knew who I was and about my father and what he'd done. Everywhere I went people whispered about me behind my back; parents would keep their children from playing with me and tried to ignore me. My grandmother was a drunk and spiteful woman who just loved to dig the knife in and twist it, reminding me about it all the time. I was so lonely" she confessed to them, tears starting to fall from her eyes. TJ stepped forward and put an arm around Claire and sat her on the bed
"But my counsellors and my teachers said that I had potential when they looked at my school work. So they encouraged me to excel, I guess it gave me some confidence in myself again and to express myself through my work" she told them "I got to university two years early and I got all my qualifications despite everything" she said with some pride in her voice
"But then at my graduation, Magnus showed up" she told them surprising them "He'd broken out of prison and had decided to 'discipline' me for speaking against him. He held my entire class hostage, killed five of them while the police tried to get in. They did eventually and they took him down" she finished her story and expected rejection but TJ only tightened her hold on her and then Vanessa sat on the other side of her and gave her a hug
"Claire it's not your fault" Vanessa told her firmly and Claire spoke up
"But it is, if I hadn't looked in that box then my mother would still be alive. She died because I was too nosey"
"Rubbish" Chloe told her "If you hadn't then he would have kept on killing, it might have taken years for them to catch him or never. You never killed anyone, he did"
Claire couldn't speak and as if sensing her need for comfort, Vanessa and TJ wrapped her in a joint hug, Chloe came forward and put a comforting hand on her should and Camille's expression softened.
"I'm sorry for bringing this up" Camille told her and they all turned to face her "I just didn't know what to make of it, I mean General O'Neill had your file sealed" and Claire gave a small smile
"Probably Sam's doing, to make sure no-one would know about my past unless I told them" Claire said and they all fell into silence
Camille was the one to break it after a few minutes "We'll keep it between us, that way if you want to tell people it'll be your decision" and Claire nodded and said a grateful
The group broke up and went to do their jobs while Claire went back to her quarters and tried to rest up, the talk had taken a lot out of her and she was tired. But she just couldn't sleep, so she went to her laptop and started work.
With a renewed vigour she went straight to the X-306 design and started working out the flaws and then putting on the finishing touches. She sat back and looked at the completed virtual model she'd created; it had a more sleek profile than the X-304 with smoother aerodynamic lines and a narrower profile in accordance with its role as a destroyer carrying only half the crew of an X-304. The different profile of its hull would allow it great speeds within atmospheres and the improved engines at sublight if needed while maintaining a large enough weapons capability to harm larger vessels.
She then decided to look at her subspace capacitor research, back on Earth when trying to design and build one they'd run into a major issue. They needed to create a transducer that was capable of not only handling the extreme levels of power required but also converting that energy into a form of energy they could use. They knew it was possible with Earth's current level of technology because the Alternate Daedalus had been no more advanced than their own but they didn't know how the alternate SGC had done it.
She reread the research and picked up her PDA and her notebook and decided to go to the Control room so she could try and find out about Destiny's solar collectors. For the ship to convert solar matter into useful energy they would have to have a form of transducer to do the conversion so a study of them might provide the answer.
When she'd got to the Control Room, Volker and Franklin were on duty. They nodded to her as she entered and she nodded back before going to work. She took a moment to study their faces and saw depression on both their faces, probably left over from Rush's little stunt. She sincerely hoped that this would past and that maybe the crew could learn to be hopeful again.
With some difficulty, Claire managed to access the database and found the technical readouts of the solar collectors. She located the components she was interested in and started to make notes and wrote down some of the necessary mathematics.
Everett Young stood at the door to TJ's quarters and knocked gently, he didn't know why she wanted to see him, they hadn't resumed their relationship while on board Destiny and he knew he was being unfair to keep her dangling. He knew in his heart that his relationship with Emily was doomed; they struggled to keep it together when he was on Earth never mind now he was billions of light-years away with no physical way back except in the body of another man for a brief time. And he loved TJ it was as simple as that, her smile, her understanding nature, everything about her. If he had met TJ first he would have married her, no doubts about it. He knew he was being unfair to both the women in his life, keeping them from finding someone else, but he just didn't know what to do.
The door opened and TJ clad in some of the Ancient Clothes they'd found, the white t-shirt and pants clung to her body and her blond hair was loose in gentle waves to her lower back, he was momentarily struck dumb by her beauty but quickly recovered.
"You wanted to see me TJ" he said in a gentler tone than he'd use for anyone else. And she nodded, leading him in to her quarters and closing the door.
"Yes sir" she said and looked very uncomfortable, he gently tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and asked
"What's bothering you Tamara?"
TJ almost shuddered when his fingers brushed against the skin of her cheek and ear but still couldn't find the words to tell him of her secret. She took hold of his hand and held it as she tried to say what she knew she had too.
"Sir" she said but he corrected her
"In private, it's Everett. Tamara" he said to her and his fingers rubbed against hers.
"Everett" she said and said before she lost her nerve
The effect on Everett was immediate, he stopped stroking her fingers and he became still
"You're pregnant" he repeated as if unable to believe it "Our baby?" he asked and she nodded
There was silence for a minute or two before Everett pulled her into his arms and kissed her gently
"Don't worry, I not going to let you go through this alone" he told her after breaking the kiss, Tamara looked him in the eye with slight tears
"It's just" she stammered "You're married and we're trapped on this ship. How are we supposed to do this? Raise a baby in all this?" Tamara asked him
"Tamara I won't deny that I'm terrified the same as you, l but I know that we can do this" he told her gently and she felt safer in his arms and felt for the first time because of the conviction in his voice felt that maybe they could do this.
Claire was on her way back to her quarters when she saw Greer looking through the door to Spencer's room.
"Hey Greer, what's going on?" she asked him with a slight smile, walking towards him
"Look" Greer said without emotion and a bit puzzled Claire peered through the open door and gasped when she saw what was there; Spencer's corpse with a gun in hand, a bullet hole in the head and a splatter of blood on the far wall.
"Oh god" she exclaimed and lent back against the wall opposite the door "Why would he do this?" she asked Greer.
"Who know but he's been off lately" Greer told her and went to call the Colonel and Claire just stared at the scene in front of her. Colonel Young, TJ and Camille soon arrived and while a grim look crossed Young's face Camille and TJ's faces nearly blanched. Military discipline took over TJ's responses and she went to check the body
"When aside from the obvious there are no signs of injury or a struggle, just the bullet wound in his head" she reported and concluded that he hadn't been forced. Despite Spencer's problems with other people he was a United States Marine in as far as they knew near prime condition, only a handful of people on this ship could over power him. Camille noticed an empty medicine container on his desk and picked it up. She read the prescription before handing it to TJ who took one look and said "Sleeping pills, carries a warning that their highly addictive"
"So he runs out of a drug he needs to sleep and can't face not having them, combined with the depression brought on by Rush's lie about the Icarus planet" Young said putting it together
"And kills himself" Camille concluded, then Claire noticed the Kino hovering above the desk
"Maybe he left a message" she said nodded towards the Kino to draw their attention to it
They took the Kino to Eli who quickly accessed it and they watched Spencer's final farewell before he put his gun to his head and took his own life.
"Well" Eli said trying to look on the positive "At least we don't have a murderer running around"
"No one else but Spencer may have pulled the trigger Eli but he wasn't driven to this entirely on his own" Young reminded them "One thing for sure is that Rush's lie put the crew's moral lower than ever and this is just one result. We can only be grateful that more of the crew didn't follow his example" he said before turning to Camille "We need to talk about what to do with him"
"Okay maybe we should also talk about some other issues as well" Camille suggested and before Young could rebuff her a look from Claire made him hesitate
They moved Spencer's corpse to a disused area of the ship while they thought about what to do with the body. Camille and Young had finally had a sit down where under the guidance of Claire, Young had agreed to relax restrictions a bit and that a court would be held to put Rush on trial for his actions.
An improvised court was quickly set up with a jury made up of equal numbers of civilians and military personnel. Rush had decided that he would defend himself and had declined to have a member of crew do it. Camille would prosecute and if the jury found him guilty would decide his punishment.
They decided to hold it in the Mess Hall were the tables were moved over to the side and a chair placed in the middle were Rush now sat, his nose still in a bandage from Claire's punch the day or so before but he sat boldly and defiantly as the crew looked on from the side. The hostility in the air was thick, many of crew were not so angry about Spencer's suicide in fact some were glad to see the back of him but their hopes and dreams had been dashed by Rush's lies and they were keen for him to be punished.
Camille started the proceeding with an opening statement
"We are gathered here to investigate the conduct of Doctor Nicolas Rush" she turned to Rush looked stared back unflinchingly "Your conduct in regards to safety and survival of this crew has been called into question, do you have anything to say before we begin?" Camille asked
Rush said in his arrogant way "None of you have what it takes to do what is needed to be done, I do not need to explain my actions to you" the murmuring of anger whispers in the background answered his declaration and Camille's eyes narrowed
"Very well if that is your position we will get started, we'll begin with your actions on Icarus Base during the Lucian Alliance attack" Camille said and a great many of the crowd stiffened as the memories of that fateful day came back to them.
Claire unless she was called to testify had decided to avoid the court, she wasn't sure she could stay objective if she was there. So she had decided to work in the Interface Room to distract herself, she was looking at the readings that the computer gave for Destiny's solar collectors and she was making notes to try and apply some of what she was learning to the Subspace Capacitor project.
She noticed a planet coming into range, she looked at the data being relayed to her and she reached for radio
"Colonel Young come in" she said switching it on
"This is Young go ahead" the Colonel's voice sounded. He himself had decline to go to the court for much the same reason as Claire
"We've got a planet coming just into range in an hour or so. Do want me to put together a team to go planet side?" she asked and he paused for a moment to think
"Okay but keep it small at the moment its best everyone stays on the ship" he said
"Understood" she said before clicking the radio off and went looking for people to go to the planet.
After getting a team together of Doctor Volker, Doctor Caine, Vanessa and Airman Rennie, Claire and Young waited in the gate room while the ship dialled the planet. The familiar plasma eruption in the centre of the Stargate with its whoosh sound settled down to reveal the puddle that simmered like water. They looked up at the clock and saw that the ship had ten hours before jumping back into FTL.
Claire sent the Kino through and reported on its findings
"Atmosphere's breathable, a bit hot but not scorching. Just a red and rocky desert not much vegetation or water" she said looking at the readings
"Okay" Colonel Young said to the four members of the team "I'm not expecting trouble and we've got a few hours but if there are any problems come straight back understood?" he asked the team who nodded before disembarking.
"So your defence is that you believed it would be too dangerous to dial Earth but rather than dial any number of planets in our own galaxy that were listed in the dialling computer you decided that it was better to dial an unknown address which of course brought us here" Camille summed up back in the makeshift court room.
"It was the only chance we'd ever get" Rush said "It might have taken years or never to find another way"
"So rather than prioritise the safety of everyone on Icarus you decided to put your research first" Camille countered
"The greater good means more than a small number of lives, this ship could be the greatest discovery that mankind has made since the Stargate itself" he defended and a lot of glares were directed his way
A few hours had past and nothing new was happening outside of the court room. Claire was going to gate room to check on the planet side team when she saw someone inside the Repository Chair room. Claire quickly moved into the room to find that Franklin was inside working on the console
"What are doing in here? This room is out of bounds" Claire said wondering where the guards where
"I just wanted to check something" he said nervously as he continued working without looking at her. Getting suspicious she went over to see what he was doing and saw that he was powering up the chair
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she said angrily but Franklin turned around and without any warning punched her straight in the head, sending her head back into the wall behind and after the second collision Claire fell to the floor out cold.
Franklin kneeled over her and checked her pulse and let out a sigh of relief that she was alive but then he quickly sat down in the chair and his breathing quickened as the restraints clicked into place before his world dissolved into a great white light.
Eli was going back to his room when he heard a weird sound he didn't recognise, he moved to investigate what it was when he saw a sight that sent him into a panic. Franklin was sitting in the chair foaming at the mouth and shaking violently; he grabbed his radio and called out desperately
"This is Eli in the Chair room I need help"
Everyone rushed over to the Chair room and released Franklin from the chair and both Claire and Franklin were moved to the Infirmary where TJ looked them over.
"He's completely catatonic" TJ told Camille who had halted the trial for the moment, Colonel Young, Eli and Lieutenant Scott as she shone a light into Franklin's eyes "Whatever the chair did to him there is no response to normal stimuli"
"And Claire?" Young asked as he looked over at the unconscious young woman on the bed next to Franklin
"Aside from a heavy concussion and a cracked skull she's fine, give her a few hours she'll come round" TJ told them and then Riley's voice sounded on the radio
"Colonel Young sir com in" Young picked up his radio and answered
"Go ahead Riley"
"Sir the team on the surface have found something" Riley told him
"Define something" Young said
"It's some kind of crashed alien ship" Riley told them and the entire room fell silent
"Riley confirm, did you just say an alien ship?" Colonel Young asked
"Yes sir, old but definitely an alien ship" Riley told him
"Understood Young out" Colonel Young said clicking off his radio before turning to the others
"Well I guess that we're not alone out here after all" Eli said eager to see the ship for himself but Camille, Young and Scott frowned worried that this species might be threat
"We need to look at that ship" Camille said and Young said
"I agreed but Claire's out of action" and Camille bit her lip
"We'll have to use Rush, aside from Claire he's the only one we've got with the skills" she said reluctantly. Young hated the idea of using the other man but as Camille had just said that the only other person on Destiny who might have a chance of understanding the alien ship with Claire out of action was Rush. So with a little trepidation he turned to Scott
"Take him down to the planet but keep him under close observation" he ordered his second in command
"Yes sir" Scott said before heading off
Let out of his quarters and dressed in desert gear, Rush and Scott exited the Stargate before quickly making their way over to the crashed ship, they had less than an hour before Destiny went back into FTL and had to make the most of it. They quickly arrived at the site and saw the small vessel on the hill above them. Rush was excited and made his way quickly up the hill and started examining the ruined vessel.
Time moved quickly and soon there was mere minutes before they were left behind so the team packed up to leave and made their way back to the Stargate leaving Scott with Rush but Rush was still taking his time. Scott got annoyed so he shouted
"Rush it's time to go" and Rush looked annoyed but started down the hill but on his way a bunch of rocks came free from the hill and fell straight onto Rush knocking him out and nearly burying him. Scott quickly went to free Rush but some of the rocks were heavy and as many as he moved he couldn't free the scientist.
"Scott come in your window is closing" Young's voice sounded on the radio and Scott answered
"Sir there's been a rock slide Rush is out and unmovable I can't free him before the ship leaves" Scott told him and waited for the Colonel's orders
"Leave him get yourself back here" Young ordered, Scott was shocked
"Sir?" he asked
"If you can't free him then it's better to lose only one person as opposed to two so get your ass back here" Young said firmly and with a small hesitation. Scott dropped his supply filled backpack to give Rush a chance and ran back to the gate, just in time to leap through it before it closed and the ship returned to FTL.
A few hours later as it became night on the planet, Rush came too and looked up at the sky as he struggled free on the rock, his night still confused as to what had happened. But then just as he got free it hit him. He'd been left behind! The ship was gone and he was all alone on this desolate rock.
He looked up in horror at the stars above when he felt a trembling in the ground. He looked around him but could see no reason for the trembling and then a dark shape high above him began to emerge from over the horizon coming straight towards him.