Sorry about the wait! I had exams, study, etc. Enjoy!
Khan stared down pensively at the rocks below him, long coat flapping out behind him in the wind like the wings of a crow in flight. He struck a powerful figure, a dark blemish against the smooth stone of the cave he stood in. Had that not always been the case? He was the black smudge against the otherwise perfect complexion, the shadow against the Earth, the vengeful monster, clacking his hideous claws, gnashing his blood-drenched teeth viciously and belching black smoke onto his jailors' corpses. He reached out a long-fingered hand to the horizon, as if to trace the burnt orange of the setting sun.
His other hand traced the non-existent scar on his cheek, a mark that had been healed long ago by his superior biology, but the shadow of the blade that had been clutched in one trembling hand, still remained. The small portable computer beeped in his pocket, and he took his hand away from his cheek to flip it open. A notification message told him, in concise terms, that there was an update in the Starfleet records. It pertained to the crew of the Enterprise, upon which he had been paying particular attention. There, on the tiny screen of the device, was information on a new recruit. There were several paragraphs worth of information, but only two words stood out to him.
The corners of his lips curled up in a rare, cold smile that was neither a result of happiness or mirth. It was anticipation.
Things were finally about to become interesting.
Jenny stared at the holographic image in front of her, the blue light emitted from the screen making dappled patterns on her skin. She sighed, crossing her arms, and surveyed the dark figure that stood, straight-backed as always, amongst the destruction he had caused.
She was alone in her designated room, standing in the darkness that was only broken by Harrison's image. There was a row of buttons on the inside of her door, and a soothing female voice which could be altered at command informed her could control a variety of factors within the room, including the temperature, alarm clock, light and ambience.
So, she sat, a blanket wrapped around slim shoulders, staring at a picture of the man who'd tried to kill her in total darkness while the soothing sounds of rain pitter-pattering on a roof floated through the speakers.
Jenny sipped the mug of tea that Pavel had brought her, blushing and mumbling something in Russian, after a decidedly odd pep-talk Jim had given her and his crew, the steam washing over her nose and cheeks. It was weak (just like a Russian to give her weak tea), but he was too cute to condemn for anything, really.
"Alright, team," Jim had said, constructing a steeple with his fingers and peering at them over the tip of it.
There had been a pause. Then, Uhura, rolling her eyes and stepping forward had asked "What, Captain?"
"I'm glad you asked, Lieutenant!" Jim had exclaimed, raising one hand from steeple position and stabbing the air
Not for the first time, Jenny had questioned his sobriety.
"We've found a lead." Doing another one of his quick-snap Captainly mood swings, he had suddenly become quite serious. "We have someone who has a link to Harrison. Jenny here," he'd thrust a hand in her direction, "is our lead."
Jenny reached out and zoomed in on the screen, until Harrison's face filled it almost completely. He was frowning (as usual), looking over his shoulder. Dark hair swept across his forehead, his mouth set in a firm line.
He looked exactly the same, right down to the dark coat and the cheekbones capable of cutting diamonds.
Jenny sighed. Passing a hand through her hair, she racked her brain for any clues as to where he could have been. Jim and Spock had already questioned her about it, and after half an hour of her coming up blank, they decided to give her the rest of the night to see if she could come up with anything.
Update: she couldn't.
Jenny had never been one to give up though, nor was she the type of person to sit around while there was work to be done.
Telling herself this, she sprang to a standing position.
"OK," she said, tossing her blanket to the side and setting her tea down carefully on a strategically-placed bedside table.
Facing the holovid, she quickly accessed the files she'd pulled up for Jim earlier, the ones that she had flagged two years earlier. She wasn't exactly allowed, of course, but the security was so dismally easy to find a loophole in that it was practically accidental. For a supposedly top-notch company, and the "harbingers of justice" as Hikaru had reported to her importantly, their Firewall (who even used that anymore?) was pitiful.
A few minutes, a little overriding of specific systems, and she was in.
"I love myself," she whispered, cracking her knuckles as the files appeared on the screen.
A tad narcissistic, but then again, who wasn't guilty of that?
There were thirty-four files for Jenny to flick through- all she needed to do was find the common factor in all of them. She was sure Jim was doing the same, of course, but she was also sure he'd do his best to keep her out of the loop.
Well, officially. Unofficially, however, he was perfectly aware she was capable of hacking the system and probably expected it. She rolled her eyes.
Lacing her fingers together, she cracked her knuckles. File one. A mission report, dated quite a few years ago. And by a few, she meant before she was born. Jenny scrutinized the screen, scanning the information. The Captain of the mission had been somebody named Marcus, he had lost two crew-members in an incident with an alien race on the four-year voyage, and other than that had no oddities to report.
Weird, Jenny thought. You didn't have two of your crew-members killed under your watch in an altercation and write "no other oddities to report" on the official recount of the event. She frowned. The sentence itself, rather like a deliberately blank holovid message, looked like a decoy.
File number two. Another report, with Marcus as Captain again. This one was much the same, albeit sans the suspicious phrasing. It was on the subject of a trip to Kronos, for diplomatic reasons. All had gone well.
Jenny's frown deepened. A visit to Kronos, and everything had gone well? Nothing to report?
"Bullshit." She muttered, drawing the word out. She tapped the little 'exit' button on File Two, pulling up File Three and flicking her wrist so the page soared to a different corner of the room.
Dimly, she allowed herself to wonder at the awesome technology Starfleet had on-hand. There hadn't been much room for holovids and PADDs back in the lowly gutters of Perth.
Report after report, file after file. They were all the same. Captain Marcus' mission reports, suspicious circumstances and nothing going wrong, except for one or two sentences dedicated to something Starfleet couldn't cover up.
What was this Captain Marcus hiding? And why exactly did John need this information?
Jenny flicked back to his image, biting her tongue. She didn't want to think about how, after almost two years, she'd reverted back to calling him John.
His eyes seemed lifeless in the picture on-screen, lacking their normal cold, calculating edge. People had told her that she had cold eyes, eyes that searched, but hers were nothing compared to the sheer deliberating predatory look in his.
They'd always seemed to soften when he looked at her.
Even when he was mad, when she'd questioned him or undermined his authority and he'd had her pinned against a wall, his eyes had bored into hers with undeniable caring.
Don't. She thought, please.
Even when, her memory pressed on, even when he had sliced you open- even then, he'd looked at you with something akin to sorrow.
A slight stirring in the air, something that caused the hairs on the back of Jenny's neck to stand up, made her breathe in sharply and swipe at the screen. Jo- Harrison's image disappeared.
She looked round. What was that? It felt- no, sounded, like a slight cough. Her eyes darted to the speakers she'd noticed in her room earlier.
The Enterprise had a two-way sound-system that could be activated and controlled by the Bridge.
And as soon as she'd entered the room, she had opened the communication system so that if Kirk needed to contact her, he could. She had probably allowed a two-way transfer.
He was probably listening, she realised suddenly.
"Jim." She snapped, scowling as a disembodied voice cut across the soothing rain sounds, full of smug authority.
"This is your Captain speaking, how may I help you?" he asked, mock-innocent.
"Shut up, you were listening the entire time, weren't you?" Jenny said indignantly, crossing her arms.
"Of course not, Jennifer." He drawled in reply. "By the way, how much exactly do you love yourself?"
A sharp sound, as if somebody had hit another somebody over the head, crackled through the speakers.
"Ow," commented Jim, irritated. "Jeez, Bones, you-"
"Um, yes, can we please focus back on me?" Jenny interrupted. "I've made a connection, genius that I am."
Silence. Then, "I'm going to ignore the fact that you most likely hacked into the system to achieve that. Good, good! What is it?"
"Are you sure you want me to tell you over the system?"
"Fair point. Be up at the Bridge in five, and," Jim lowered his voice, the sound becoming somewhat muffled as if he was cupping his hands around the speaker, "try not to be too friendly with Chekov. Don't want him having a heart attack."
Before she could shoot back a barbed reply, the speaker beeped, signalling that the communication had been cut off. "Arsehole," she settled for muttering, taking her knife from its place under her pillow and sliding it into her boot.
It didn't hurt to be prepared.
Jenny drained the last of her tea as she stepped out into the bright hallway, and nearly dropped the mug as she promptly whacked into someone.
Said someone immediately became a fountain of apologies.
"Ack!" Pavel exclaimed, settling his (extremely welcome) hands on her waist in a not-really-needed-but-much-appreciated gesture of helping her achieve balance. "Sorry, I-"
She waved the one hand that wasn't holding the tea mug, and smiled winningly at him. "No worries, Pavel. Doesn't matter."
He nodded. "Are you on your way to the Bridge?"
"Me too," he smiled, his eyes lighting up.
He was so nice. Just nice everything, so different from any other boy she'd flirted with. He wasn't trying to 'establish his male dominance' for one.
God, she hated the fact that she could actually put quotation marks around that.
"Um, care to walk with me?"
"Da." He said, softly, and then she noticed exactly how close their faces were. And other parts of their bodies.
She wet her lips with her tongue.
"AHEM." Said a very loud, very Scottish voice behind them, and Pavel practically pirouetted away from her.
"Oh, hi." Jenny said casually, as if she hadn't just been about two seconds away from pashing a cute Ensign in the corridor.
The man who'd so rudely become the proverbial cold shower to end that little adventure she'd been looking forward to brightened considerably once she turned her attention to him. "Hello!" he blurted, surging forward to shake her hand.
"Um," she replied, darting a glance towards Pavel as the Scottish guy pumped her arm up and down vigorously.
The Russian Ensign shrugged at her. "Scotty, this is Jenny." He gestured lamely with one hand.
"Yes! Jim mentioned you're our lead! I'm Scotty, head of Engineering, pleased to meet you." 'Scotty' said in a rush, dropping her hand.
"Oh, same here." She answered, smiling at the shorter man.
He wore a red shirt, typical of his profession, and his grin was wide and welcoming. She decided, moment-ruining habits aside, that she kind of liked the guy.
"Are you off to the Bridge?" he asked, his accent rich and broad, rolling over the rs and os.
She nodded in return, and he slung an arm around one of her shoulders. "I'll take you, then!"
He led her off, and they walked side-by-side to the Bridge, while Pavel brought up the rear. Scotty yakked and yakked the whole way there, but it was comforting to hear someone talk to her about something other than John- shit- Harrison.
"I know what it must be like for you, comin' from someplace like Australia, me bein' from Scotland meself. All these Americans, and even if you're an alien they all learnt American English so they have the bloody Yankee accent as well! Us migrants should stick together, eh?" he nudged her, and she laughed.
"Yeah, I reckon so too, mate."
"I am migrant also," Pavel muttered, but Scotty ignored him.
Jenny shot him a grin, but had to crane her neck as the Engineer steered her through the doorway and onto the Bridge.
"Jenny!" Uhura beckoned her over.
Extracting herself from Scotty's grip, she jogged the remaining distance over to the Lieutenant. "I opened the flagged files," she told her, nodding at Spock and Jim.
"The common factor? Someone called Captain Alexander Marcus. He's an Admiral now, am I right?"
Realisation dawned over the three's faces.
"Shit," Jim hissed. "Get me Marcus!" he barked, enabling the communication system on his PADD. "Marcus, to the Bridge. Carol Marcus, to the Bridge."
"Well, I guess the shit just hit the proverbial fan, then." Jenny observed, watching amusedly as Jim practically tore his own hair out.
"What else did you find?" Uhura wasted no time with idle chit-chat.
"He made quite a few visits to Kronos, an unusual amount, and they didn't appear to be cleared with the Klingons themselves. I think Harrison might be there."
Spock nodded, and as a pretty blonde woman with sleek hair and worried eyes- Carol Marcus, Jenny assumed- stepped onto the Bridge, he said, "I suppose a visit to Kronos is in order."
"Kronos?" Pavel said nervously, from behind her. His presence was warm, subsiding the sudden chill that had descended over her.