Throwing Back the Cover

Posted on 22 Feb 2016 @ 12:20am by Commander Kenneth Lawe

Mission: Drydock
Location: Ceres III
Timeline: Six Months Prior to Start

Ken woke knowing two things: his head was pounding so hard it felt as if his brain were trying to hatch out of his skull and his bladder throbbed as if jealous that his head would get more attention. Both fought against him realizing that there was heavy pressure across him as well.

He opened his eyes as he realized that there was something missing. The near constant low level buzzing of all those other voices that ran through his head.

Bright morning sunlight slanted through a crack in the heavy, drawn curtains over the window, but even that small amount of light was enough to send daggers jabbing through his eyes and straight into his brain. Which didn't concern him as much as the cessation of the constant noise of other thoughts.

Or that there was a woman draped across him, her hair in disarray, completely naked and, by appearances, very, very dead.

"Oh, frell," he muttered, then wished he hadn't. And that he didn't try to move because the pounding in his head only intensified. But at least he was able to roll the woman off him. She flopped onto the edge of the bed, balanced precariously. He recognized her, of course. She was all over him last night, trying to hustle him. If she realized what he was, she wouldn't have remained in the same seedy dive. She would have been long gone.

"Ah, you're finally awake, that's good."

The voice came from a shadowed corner of the room. It had an oily, slithering tone that suggested an ego used to getting what it wanted and corpulence. Ken squinted but all he could really make out was the edges of the shadowed person, which spoke the truth of the second perception. The speaker was extremely wide.

"We don't have a lot of time to talk. I'm afraid an anonymous report of gunfire was made, pinpointing to this very room. And you're cover is very good. No one will believe you're a Starfleet lieutenant."

"Ah, frell," Ken muttered, again wishing he hadn't spoke. "You've drugged me." It was a statement explaining why his head was so clouded and he couldn't hear a thing. "She's one of yours?" he asked, hoping that he passed out long before he did anything unsavory with the likes of her. He wanted to check to make sure he wasn't visibly diseased.

"Are those the questions you really want answered?" the speaker said.

"Those are the answers I need, Mr. Kiplik," Ken said, wishing he could sense the surprise in the man as he showed that he had some intelligence as well. "Everything else is academic. Your nephew didn't just go AWOL, he then absconded when the judge gave him a chance. He's going back one way or another."

"That is very unfortunate for you to say," Kiplik said from the dark corner. "I had hoped you had sense enough to save yourself. I'm afraid the authorities on Ceres are going to take the death of that young girl very seriously. She is the daughter of a prominent senator after all."

Ken shook his head, again wishing he hadn't. But sitting up was just as bad. He found that he was naked but, where he expected to find his clothes strewn about the room, there was none.

"He'll want to blame someone for the death of his daughter's innocence. You will be convenient. An off-worlder, a criminal scum at that. Your carefully constructed persona will ensure that your trial is very public and very short. At the end of it, you will be sentenced to life in their prison camps. I understand you know what will happen once people get word that you're former Federation security."

"Which I'm sure you'll be sure to make happen," Ken said, scratching his scruffy face. Just his luck to get lice from this run down motel. Probably from the young, sweet and 'innocent' senator's daugther. If the senator didn't know what a drug whore his daughter was, then he wasn't very good at living.

"You hear that?" Kiplik said. "Sounds like Ceres authorities have arrived. I'd say you have about thirty seconds to accept my deal. Leave this planet and forget ever coming after my nephew again."

Ken clicked his tongue, "Sorry, can't do that. My superiors are a hell of a lot scarier than you."

The sounds of booted feet on the stairs outside were getting louder and getting closer.

"As you wish," Kiplik said. "I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay in our prisons." There was the impression of cold smiling in the shadows and then the unmistakeable whine of a transporter.

Ken leapt out of the bed at that point and made a quick once around of the room. His clothing, his guns. His idents that would prove he was undercover. Even the miniPADD with the warrants for Kiklak...all gone. All that he had was the dead woman and the sound of his freedom being taken away thundering closer.

Without hesitation, Ken turned to the heavy drapes and pulled them apart. The sudden influx of bright light stabbed into his eyes, causing him to groan and glance away. His bladder continued to threaten to give it up and just let go of any worldly concerns.

From the sounds of the running forces outside, he didn't have much longer. He chose this hotel and this particular room all by design. He wondered if Kiplik understood him? He made sure to slip him something that clouded his telepathy, so they had to know of his Betazoid heritage. But did they not realize that Betazeds didn't have taboo against nudity like just about every other species in the galaxy?

Kiplik must have thought taking his clothes would freeze him with embarrassment. Kiplik must have thought Ken was new at this. With denials of both and the first booming crash against the hotel door - oddly enough, the doors were reinforced. People busting into these rooms must be an common occurance - Ken threw up the sash, opening the window.

He took the few moments necessary to pull on the rope dangling over the window ledge until he was able to grab the pack at the end of the rope. A quick jerk freed it and Ken was able to throw it over one shoulder as he climbed out the window and onto the small ledge. He hit the emergency beacon on the edge of the pack.

The door burst open and Ken jumped, the purpose for choosing this particular room was that it was located next to a large pool. The room was high enough that the trajectory from the window would carry him far enough away so that he would land comfortably close to the center.

He designed all of this as the necessity of an escape plan. Which, the energy beam shots hitting the window lathing around him attested that he needed that escape plan at the moment.

It was unfortunate, for him, that he knew the pool was part of the city's waste processing. It was a large tank of gray water, street run off but, as he hit the water, making sure his eyes and mouth were closed as he hit and sank under the tepid waters.

As soon as his force was stopped by the water, he kicked out, swimming back toward the hotel, hoping that police forces would expect him to keep going forward, away from them. The precious few seconds it would take for them to realize he was closer to them and readjust might just be the time he needed to get out of the pool and away.

Fortunately, as he was climbing out of the pool; wet, naked and smelling of wastewater, he felt the all too familiar grab of the transporter.