Part of USS North Sea: The Xenius Mutiny

Beat on the Brat

Starbase 11
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The cell was clean. Charlotte approved of that much. To see her fiancée behind the security screen was heartbreaking. Rey hated the sterile smell of the brig. The disinfectant triggered her allergies. She wiped the sleeve of her gray jumpsuit across her nose.

“There’s tissue in the bath, Rey.”

Ford eyed her fiancée for a moment. After a deep sigh, the cadet rose from the small bed and violently snatched a tissue from a tiny lavatory in the corner of her cell. “Yes, mom,” she replied.

“Rey … I’m sorry that —”

“Don’t.”

The cadet turned away. She knew the consequences of mutiny would be brutal. Prison for life or worse. “I did what I did and I don’t regret it.” She meant it.

“My crew and I would be dead if you hadn’t come to our rescue. They should give you a fucking medal. Not, this —” Fawkes eyed the octagonal doorway with disdain. She glanced at the guard next to the cell. Rumors and conjecture ran rampant through the starbase and Rey’s tale was juicy fodder for the mill. The guard seemed at ease, but said nothing.

“Stop it!” Ford growled. She stood from the bed, her eyes pained. “No. Regrets,” she said proudly.

Captain Fawkes inched closer to the security screen. Her hand hovered close enough to feel a tingle from the screen’s EM field. Rey did the same. Charlotte gave her girl a smile that reached her eyes. “I have some errands to run,” she said, primping her uniform.

“You’re lying, Fawkes. You primp when you’re lying.”

“Do I?” asked the Captain as she straightened her cuffs. Rey stared directly at her fiancée’s cuffs as the woman worried over them.

“Yeah and you’re still lying. That’s what got us here in the first place.”

Charlotte let go of her cuffs. “I didn’t have a choice, Rey.”

“Really? Is that what you tell yourself?” Ford huffed.

Fawkes felt her fiancée’s words as they hit. Rey sat back onto the bed. She held herself tight. “I think the lawyer’s coming soon. See you later?” Hope and regret tinged Rey’s words. She didn’t look up.

“Of course, Rey. As I said, I have errands to run.” Charlotte smiled. “I’ll see you later.” The Captain gave a nod to the guard as she walked away.

Charlotte left Ford’s cell just as the cadet’s advocate stepped through security. She waited just out of Rey’s sight for the Vulcan lawyer.

“Captain Fawkes, I am Lt. Mauk and will be Cadet Ford’s counsel for her board of inquiry and inevitable court-martial. It is fortuitous that we meet.” He held up a PADD with the Captain’s report. “Thank you for the report, but I have a question.”

“Inevitable? That bad, huh?”

“She mutinied, Captain. I will do all I can for the cadet, but the evidence of her guilt is overwhelming.”

“You said you had a question?”

Mauk glanced at his PADD. “Your ship, the Leda, was ordered into the Velorum Sector to study spatial phenomena, however portions of your report were redacted and the data was marked classified. I may need that information to assist the cadet.”

“I’ll do what I can to obtain that information for you, Lieutenant, but don’t get your hopes up.” Fakes nodded once. “Good luck.”

“Thank you, Captain. I will anticipate your response.”

The Vulcan gave Fawkes a polite nod, but an ever so slight frown indicated he wasn’t pleased with her response. As the two parted, Mauk was puzzled by the Captain’s lack of interest in the matter. For the time being, he put the thought away and headed for the brig.

Rey was ordered to stand back as the screen was dropped momentarily. “I am Lt. Mauk, your defense counsel. May we speak?”

“Are you asking me? I’m a prisoner. I didn’t think I had any rights.”

“You are a prisoner, yes, but you have yet to be convicted of any crimes. Also, I was being polite.”

Ford shrugged and curled up into the corner of her bed. “Have a seat if you want.”

“No, thank you. I will stand.” The Vulcan opened his PADD again. “I have a few questions.”

“I’ll bet,” chuckled Rey.

“Describe, in your own words, what happened on the Xenius, stardate 75219.61.”

Rey rolled her tongue around her mouth as her fingers twirled through a lock of brown hair. “Well, I took my ship and went to get Charlotte.”

“I have no time for amusement, Cadet Ford and neither do you. Please answer my question.”

“Did I say something funny?” Ford sat up and huffed, genuinely perplexed. “You asked me what happened and I told you.”

The Vulcan stared blankly back at Ford, uncertain of her truthfulness. He decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Allow me to rephrase the question. On stardate —”

“I stole the fucking ship, okay? I’m guilty. Toss me in the hole.”

Mauk paused, uncertain the cadet fully realized the gravity of her situation. “How old are you, Cadet?”

“What?” Ford rubbed her nose against her sleeve again as the Vulcan glared down at her.

“How old are you?”

“I’m 26. What does that have to do with anything?”

“The average human female will live approximately 141 years. If you plead guilty to this charge and assuming you live to an average age, that means you will spend the next 115 years in a cell similar to this one. Do you understand what I have explained to you?”

“Y-yes.” For the first time, Rey was scared. She didn’t fear death, but incarceration for that length of time seemed too cruel.

“Do you wish to plead guilty? We can do that, however, I still would like to hear your story in your own words.”

“I don’t know!” she screamed. Ford chewed on a lock of her hair as she thought. “I need time. Okay?”

“You have very little.”

Mauk sat next to the cadet and reviewed his notes while he waited.

“Okay,” Rey said. “I’ll —” The cadet stood from the bed. Mauk watched her movements. “Hey you!” She called the guard. “You heard what Ch — Captain Fawkes said. I should be getting a medal.”

Mauk looked to the guard for confirmation.

“The Captain did say that, sir.”

“Yeah, she did,” stressed Rey. The girl sat back on the bed, fired up by the fear of a century in prison. “Not guilty. That’s how I want to plead.”

“Understood, Cadet. Please be aware that our chances are not favorable. Now, would you please describe, in your own words, what happened on the Xenius, stardate 75219.61.”

Rey frowned, still overwhelmed by the possibility of life in prison. “Sure. Char lied to me about a mission. I knew that meant trouble, and I knew I had to go find her.” 

Comments

  • Truly, I'm amazed every time by your skill with the quill. You have this way of saying so much, even amid a brevity of words. Every word-choice evokes a feeling and illustrates so many things happening between the lines. You do that so well here with the lying and the evasion, telling us so much about Rey and Fawkes without spelling it out. The jousting between Mauk and Rey conveyed such an even-match of wits; it bodes well for the repartee in the board of inquiry and eventual court martial. I so loved this like with it's film noir flair: "I knew that meant trouble, and I knew I had to go find her.” Perfect button to a scene!

    September 17, 2022