Disclaimer: I don't own startrek or anything trek
related. I am not making any profit just having fun
Many thanks to Bethany and Meagan for their beta work.
With Roy gone Ella was glad for the help she got from Anniek. She was quick, bright and surprisingly good company. Even so after four days of continuous questioning from the tall woman Ella was glad to have a minute to herself. It was good to simply adjust the power output without being asked to explain why she increased it by zero point four percent instead of zero point three which would maximise this or that. It hadn't taken more then a few hours in Annieks presence to figure out that the blonde's theoretical knowledge equalled her own. It was practical knowledge the woman lacked but she quickly made up for that by absorbing everything Ella told her like a sponge.
At this moment Anniek was having a breakfast meeting with Lady Way. Ella had learned that her new friend's presence on this trip had a purpose beyond merely accompanying her mother. Although the young woman had no official stakes in Way Industries as of yet, it was not a secret that she often served as an advisor to its board of directors. Nor had Lady Way made it a secret who she intended as her heir.
Ella was making a few routine check ups on the life support system when all of a sudden everything went pitch black. The ship's lights went out, Ella could feel that the engines stopped running and what was worse life- support systems were down as well. Tor went over the touch pad blind, but there was no response. Whatever happened, why didn't the backup systems start running?
The engineer didn't bother with asking questions about what had happened. Nor did she waste time wondering about what would happen if she didn't get things running again. She knew she had to get the power back up again or they would all perish. First she had to find a flashlight, because not even she could fix the ship without seeing anything.
"Damn." She uttered, hoping for a bit off help to arrive soon. Undoubtedly the Captain was all ready on his way to engineering demanding to know what was going on. Because the ships Comm. System was down as well, he wouldn't be able to ask that way.
Anniek fared little better then her friend in the engine room. She and the rest of her party where just wrapping up their meeting in Atay's office. The young woman was eager to return to the engine room. By now she was well aware it wasn't just for knowledge alone she wanted to go. She really enjoyed the company of the dark haired engineer. Too bad they would part ways when they reached Dillbachs.
As she stood up to leave the room, she temporarily faced the window, and halted her movements entranced by what she saw. For just a few moments a flash of electric lightning made its way towards her. Pretty much like an lightning storm on a planet.
Not three seconds later everything went black around them.
"What the hell?" exclaimed both Mereldos and Lady Way at the same time.
The office doors didn't want to open. While her mother attempted to contact the Captain to try and figure out what was going on, Anniek briefly looked at the others. With her eyes adjusting to her dark surroundings Anniek noticed Kastra sitting on his chair as if made from stone. She vaguely remembered his fears of dark spaces but wasn't paying him very much attention. She was just about to mention the electric charge she had witnessed when her attention was again drawn outside.
"What the!" she exclaimed. The others were right by her side after this and together they witnessed how two ships approached them. The vessels quickly took up positions next to the Carintia but Anniek and her companions where only able to see one from their side.
They witnessed how several figures in space suites left the other vessel and made there way towards the Carintia.
"They are going to board us." Hissed Mereldos. "We have got to do something."
"I quite agree," answered his boss, "but how would you propose to do so. We can't even open the damn door."
"I will give it a try." Answered Anniek knowing that because of her artificial arm she had superior strength. Immediately proceeding to the door she never reached it. A gas had slowly entered the room, as it had the entire ship, and quickly the entire group of Way industries was asleep.
The last thing Anniek mumbled was. "Pirates.again."
They were sitting in an unfamiliar room, Anniek, Lady Jane and Mereldos, having no idea how long they'd been unconscious or where they were.
After discovering they were alright, if they could call their situation alright, they spent the time trying to find a way out and wondering what would happen to them.
There really wasn't much they could do but wait. All of them being people of action, this was perhaps the hardest thing to do. When the door to their room finally opened it was difficult to guess wetter one or more hours had passed.
To their surprise the first person to enter was someone they knew. Olan, the Carintia's navigator came into the room. For one brief moment they believed he was a prisoner like themselves, since he sported a black eye as and his arm was hold in a sling. These thoughts were quickly followed by a more correct guess. Another man followed the brown haired male. A few inches shorter then Olan, dressed in nondescript clothes it was obvious they knew each other. Olan clearly thought it was a good joke to jovially wave the other man inside. This quickly negated the thought that he might be a prisoner as well. The second man was holding a weapon in front of him and he took charge immediately.
His attention was solely fixed on Lady Way, who was looking back at him with the coldest stare Anniek had ever seen on her mother. "Lady Way, how kind of you to visit us. It's quite an unexpected honour."
The eerie part was that he sounded completely sincere.
Lady Way was not as polite as her captor. Coolly she asked. "Who are you and what do you want?"
"Ah, an oversight on my part. My name is Savillo, perhaps you have heard of me?"
Three pair of eyes looked blank, they did not recognise the name at all.
"What I want is what your family has plenty of. Money my dear, I am certain your daddy will pay quite the ransom for you and your companions."
-*Lady Way, this is Commander Broekhuizen of space force, we have picked up your signal and are within hearing range. We are keeping track of your conversation. Please try and find out as much as you can. Every bit of information will help us as well as serve as evidence later.*-
Just prior to passing out on the Carintia, Jane had activated her implant. Positioned directly behind her ear it was a standard piece of safety equipment. Activating it immediately alerted the nearest star base and would bring help in the shortest possible time. For space force to be in hearing range meant they were less then one hour away.
"What did you do to Kastra and the crew of the Carintia?"
What Anniek wanted to know was what had happened to Ella Tor.
It was Olan who answered both Jane Way's spoken and Anniek's unspoken question.
He managed to sound quite businesslike, as if he was talking about plotting a course. "They are currently in one of the cargo bays. They should make us a nice profit on the slave market.
Anniek felt like she was kicked in the stomach, and it showed on her face.
Olan noticed and said. "Don't worry my pretty, once your granddaddy pays your ransom you will be free to go. Nobody will care if a few anonymous people end up missing, but if we kept you too long there would be a few too many people coming after us. You should be happy, in a few moments your little friend will join you and you get to spend a lot of quality time together."
At that moment a dazed and beat up looking Ella was shoved into the room. Anniek was at her side immediately.
Olan cupped her face in his left hand. "I told you my time would come didn't I? From now one you will be mine."
Irritated Sivallo interrupted him. "You will have time enough to play with your new toy later. Prepare the shuttle to leave."
Alarmed Way asked. "What is going on?"
"We," he grunted, looking Way pointedly in the eye to make her understand they were also coming, "are leaving. This little room is the private room of the shuttle's Captain. You should consider yourselves privileged."
Before leaving Olan once more caressed Ella which made Anniek glare at him. A weapon pointed at her by Sivallo prevented her from doing anything more.
-*Don't worry Lady Way, we have you on sensors. We will be with you in thirty minutes*-
Commander's Broekhuizen's voice came over her implant. Once they were alone again Lady Way, fearing they were monitored, did not mention help was already on the way. She did however catch Mereldos's questioning gaze, and briefly touched her head while nodding. Mereldos knew about the implant and had one like it. It was quite possible he had picked up on the same conversation. Both of them turned their attention on the two younger women.
Anniek who had adamantly refused the implant when offered to her, because it would have been a means to track her when she went off on her own was oblivious to the news. The moment Olan shut the door behind him she had her arm round the Engineer and guided her to one of the two small beds.
Anniek was extraordinarily relieved as Ella seemed to be getting more lucid by the minute, but became alarmed when the slightly older woman suddenly started crying. Not sure about what she could do Anniek sat next to Ella on the bed and gathered her close.
Never having seen this gentle behaviour in her adoptive daughter before, Lady Jane signalled to her assistant to give the two young women as much privacy as their small room allowed. Freezing completely when she heard what Ella said next.
"He killed the Captain."
Rapidly kneeling in front of the young engineer Lady Way demanded to know what had happened.
Now that her mind was starting to clear the images she had witnessed were starting to play over and over again in her mind. If only she had gotten to the bridge a second earlier. She could have saved him. She just knew it. Lost in these thoughts she didn't seem to hear Jane's question.
Jane Way however was determined to find out what had happened to her old friend. Filled with grief she re-asked her question harsher then she really intended, and did not notice the angry reproaching look her daughter bestowed her with.
It was uncertain whether Ella heard her this time either; she didn't look at anyone as she softly started to speak. Mereldos, across the room, had to strain his ears to hear what was being said and moved closer as well.
"I was looking for a flashlight when I noticed it was getting difficult to breathe. But I was standing near the compartment where we store our emergency kit.
Ella had managed to put an oxygen mask on her face just before she threatened to succumb to the sleeping gas. It quickly cleared her head and by then she realised this was not a `simple' matter of engine failure.
She browsed through the emergency compartment, looking for something useful. It didn't contain any weapons so she grabbed the first things to come to hand, a flashlight and a spanner. Not much but she had the urgent feeling she should not waste more time in finding something useful.
The logical move seemed to go to the bridge. She hoped that the fact that the Captain had not come did not mean he was in any trouble.
Moving carefully, she made her way through the hallways of the ship. When she heard a noise, she thought it was better to be safe than sorry, and hid herself as well as she could in the narrow niche of the corridor.
If it was a member of the crew she could always explain her foolishness to them. In fact, she hoped her behaviour was foolish and unnecessary, a hope that was quickly smothered when she caught sight of the people marching unencumbered through the corridor.
She didn't recognise them, which was enough to confirm her suspicions. Swallowing once, she continued onwards. She thought it was rather obvious from their movements that they weren't expecting any kind of trouble. This gave her a bit of leeway. However she couldn't be certain this would last very long. Also there was always the possibility she would be caught.
She did reach the bridge unnoticed, but had to knock one of the intruders out on her way there. This meant she truly did not have too much time left. The guard carried a simple handgun, so at least she had a weapon now. The spanner had also proved its worth.
The doors to the bridge were closed when she got there. It was then that she realised the foolishness of her actions. There were no places to hide in the corridor and she couldn't damn well just step onto the bridge, could she? That would be a dead give away.
What the fuck could she do?
This simple question did not change the fact that she had to do something.
The Captain's office. it too led to the bridge, and if it was occupied there was a good chance she could surprise whoever was insid..
The room appeared to be empty, with the door to the bridge open. Sneaking in she tried to look onto the bridge.
"Why don't you join us on the bridge Ella?" a voice said. One she recognised.
When from behind her two persons clad in space suits and equipped with small oxygen masks, appeared from the corridor, weapon's drawn in front of them, she realised she'd been caught.
Warily stepping onto the bridge, she saw the Olan sitting in the Captain's chair, the Captain's prone body lying at his feet.
"I should have known you would be the one to would give us trouble." The man sounded irritated. "Now drop that gun," he nodded towards her hand, "or your precious Captain will get it." To under line his words he pointed his own weapon at Atay.
Defeated, her gun fell from her hand.
"Ah, you are a good little girl. I am certain we'll have lots of fun together."
"What do you mean?" she asked unable to keep a touch of dread out of her voice.
A lazy smile appeared on Olan's face as he answered. "What do you think? But first things first." After his last words he pressed the trigger of his gun, which he had still pointed at Atay, and coldly killed him.
"Nooo!" This wasn't happening. Something snapped in Ella, she did not care about the consequences anymore. She threw the spanner, which she was still holding in her other hand, wildly at him. It barely missed his face, but he had to duck in order to avoid it. This gave Ella a moment to pound on him. She landed her fist on his face and in the same movement put her knee in his stomach. It seemed as if she forgot everything Donja had ever thought her, reverting back to her street fight moves. She only wanted to hurt Olan.
Olan's henchmen didn't want to risk shooting him so they had to physically restrain her. When they managed to get the angry young woman under control, they had received and dealt out a few punches and kicks in return.
Olan got unsteadily back to his feet, while both his helpers needed their full strength to keep the young woman under control. Seeing her incapacitated he neared Ella and hit her hard on her face.
"You are so going to regret this." He said angrily while wiping the blood off his face. Then with exaggerated care he removed the oxygen mask from Ella's face, causing her to black out a few moments later.
When awareness finally started to she was walking trough unfamiliar surroundings and ended up with her current companions.
By now Lady Way was sitting on Ella's other side. She tried to calm herself as she listened to the younger woman's story. She wished she had gotten the opportunity to hurt this Olan. `Oh gods, dear Charles is dead.' She put a hand on Ella's shoulder.
"I promise you he won't get away with it." Privately wondering how long it would be before this commander Broekhuizen made his presence known.
Ella had stopped crying and she shook Jane's hand off her shoulder and removed herself from Anniek's gentle hold. She looked the red head in the eye with a look that sent shivers down the older woman's spine.
"You're right. He won't get away with it."
Before she had a chance to respond to this Broekhuizen did respond. -*Lady Way, our presence has been noticed, and we have been engaged in action. We will be boarding your shuttle in less then five minutes. If at all possible try to keep them from using any of you as hostages*-
This was meant for Broekhuizen, but Ella Tor thought it was in reply to her statement, as she gave a curt nod and sat down again, not looking at anyone. Olan had killed one of only a few people who mattered to her. She owed so much to Atay; Olan was going to pay for this.
Looking around the room again, Jane did not see much in the way of keeping themselves safe. They really were in the hand of strangers for this.
The next few minutes were some of the longest any of them had ever experienced. They heard a loud bang of which they didn't know what it was, but which was in fact the space force Vessels docking attaching itself to the shuttle they were on. A bit later they could hear the muffled sound of weapon's fire through the locked door.
Mereldos explained to the younger women that space force had arrived. After this all of them stared at the door, waiting to see who would open it first.
It was a tall blond haired man dressed in the dark blue uniform of the force. "A few moments ma'am," this to Jane Way, "you'll be safe then."
After this things started happening so fast that later no one knew for certain about all that happened next. A single shot sounded and the soldier fell down, a wild looking Olan appeared in the room. Anniek was the one standing closest to the door and therefore him. If he was going to die then so would these people, he started to point his weapon at the blonde.
Figuring out his intent immediately Ella thought `No! Not Anniek as well.' She managed to grab Olan's arm before he pulled the trigger and for the second time that day slammed her fist in his face. This was enough to knock the man out cold, but anger-crazed Ella just kept on beating the guy untill his face had become unrecognisable.
Anniek, Mereldos, Jane and newly arrived space force personnel could only look in horror as Ella killed Atay's murderer.
"This isn't fair. She saved my life." Hissed Anniek angrily. Lady Jane stifled a sigh. "I know but it is out of our hands, we did all we could for her."
Bitter Anniek's only reply was. "Yeah, sure."
They'd had this argument countless times before; Ella Tor was currently on trial for the murder of Olan Aginsdy. Jane completely agreed with her daughter's assessment that Ella's predicament was not fair. The young woman had witnessed her mentor's murder, and had suffered both mental abuse and captivity at the hands of that cheap bastard.
She might have escaped capture if the space force officer in charge of the aftermath investigation wasn't such a hide bound desk jockey. He had barely spoken to the people involved and decided to charge Ella right along the captured pirates.
Lady Jane was powerful and influential enough that even this would not have led to Tor's prosecution. She had called in quite a few favours in order to avoid it. However it was then that Aginsdy's true identity came to light. The Aginsdy's were a powerful family, just like her own, and even though Olan was some type of black sheep, they still cried outrage at his death. Blocking every attempt Jane Way made to help Ella. She felt as frustrated as her daughter.
Ella's trial was held at Dillbachs, this created even more frustration for the noble woman. Most of the worlds in the Hardomian Empire upheld the age-old juridical system of judge and jury. On Dillbachs however they relied on machines to determine the truth. A human judge only passed the sentence afterwards. There was no prosecutor or defence. The charges were given to the judge and he or she would ask the questions he deemed relevant to come to an appropriate punishment. This form of trial also made the appearance of other witnesses unnecessary. The truth telling machines would inform him without problems if the defendant was telling the truth. In order to ensure that his verdict was a fair one the judge himself had to announce his judgement while standing in the truth booth as the machine was called.
This was all very well but it meant Lady Way could not even bring in her own top lawyers to help her daughter's friend. It frustrated the woman she could do nothing for her dead friend's crewmember. During her few days on the Carintia it had become clear how highly Charles had thought of his engineer.
Looking around her in the public stand Lady Jane saw a few other people she recognised. There was Donja Eric's and a few other crewmembers from the Carintia. The woman had been outraged when she learned what had happened, as well as devastated when she heard what had happened to Atay and her best friend. She probably felt just a powerless as Anniek and herself.
At that moment Ella came into the room and was guided to the centre, into the truth booth. Right after this the judge took his place directly across from her.
Silence fell over the room as these two people entered. The crowd was anxious to learn what would happen next.
The judge started talking to Ella. "Ms. Tor, I am judge Robar Allemein and in charge of this hearing. You are accused of the murder of one Olan Aginsdy. The proceedings of the trial have been explained to you?"
What else could she say? It was simple enough. She was charged with murder, the judge would ask his questions and the devices around her would monitor whether she was telling the truth.
The truth of the matter was, she felt she should be punished. She had killed a man in cold blood by beating him to dead. She did not regret the fact that Olan was dead. In her opinion he deserved it, but the fact that she had killed a human being with her bare hands, that she was capable of such an act filled her with self-loathing.
"Very well," said Judge Allemein, "do you wish to make any statements before we begin?"
"No sir." For some reason this reply seemed to surprise Robar Allemein. However the man nodded and continued.
"You are accused of killing Olan Aginsdy. Are you guilty of this fact?"
"Yes sir." Ella, as well as the audience, knew the experienced judge was monitoring her answers. It would immediately enable him to see if the defended was telling the truth.
Robar asked question after question, extracting the entire story. It did not happen often but he felt sorry for the person standing in the booth.
He started asking questions from her childhood, and about a few other things to determine with what kind of person her was dealing. He knew better than to dig so deeply into defendant's personal lives, but he liked what he saw. He agreed with her, a man who would coldly kidnap and kill people. Was willing to sell his former crewmembers into slavery deserved to die. It was also obvious the woman was scared by her own actions. This alone assured the judge this would not happen again.
Unfortunately he also knew how it went in the world. If the law did not take care of this person properly in the eyes of the high and mighty they would take care of it. He did the best he could.
"Ms. Tor it is the opinion of this court that you are guilty of the murder with which you are charged."
A gasp went through the room; most of the visitors to the courts had expected a no guilty verdict after hearing everything Ella had told. However the defendant herself had expected no less. With an emotionless mask on her face she looked the judge directly in the eye. The entire afternoon had been nerve wracking. The questions had just kept coming, some baring no relevance to the case at all in her opinion. She had told things she hadn't thought about in years. She would not lie however; she had never lied before and wouldn't have even if she hadn't been standing in the truth booth. It was one of the few redeeming qualities on which she still prided herself.
Concentrating on Allemein's words she braced herself for what would come next.
"Taking the law into your own hands can never be tolerated, that is what the justice system is for. You also admitted to the court it was your full intent to kill the man at the first opportunity. I will take into consideration that at the time you stated your intent to other's, you were full of grief because you had just witnessed the cold blooded murder of your Captain at the hand of Olan Aginsdy. There is also the fact that you had been gassed and imprisoned, again at the hand of Aginsdy and his accomplishes. Last, and which certainly counts most heavily in your favour is the fact that you saved the life of Anniek Hansen. Had you just incapacitated the deceased no doubt you would have been hailed as a hero. An opinion I, to a certain extent share, but as I stated earlier I cannot ignore that you did kill someone.
As it is I am sentencing you to eighteen months in a minimum-security facility. I will place no further restrictions on you once your time is served."
He wanted to say more, to help the younger woman, but decided against it as he didn't think it would help the woman any. After passing his verdict, he nodded to Ella and left the room.
As two guards came to escort Ella out, she finally gave into her nerves as she realised this was the best possible deal she could have gotten after her indictment. It was the price she had to, and would, pay for her actions.
After Ella's sentence had been felled, an angry Anniek jumped up from her seat. Anger radiating from her like heat from the sun. Trying to avoid drawing attention to them she spoke through clenched teeth. "Charles Atay was murdered, she saved my life and she now goes to jail! This is ridiculous!"
"Anniek sit down. Under the circumstances this is the best deal she could have gotten. Now this is not the end for her. The prison facilities on Dillbachs have excellent programme's to help it inmates."
Anniek angrily interrupted her mother. "She shouldn't be in jail in the first place." This was spoken out loud, and several listeners nodded their agreement.
"Ann. I will let her know to contact me as soon as she gets out. She will be alright."
Way had already made as many provisions for Ella Tor when she got out of jail as she could. Money, papers anything she needed would be taken care of by her representatives on Dillbachs. Furthermore she had instructed her people to inform her of everything that happened to Tor and a position at her company would be waiting for her. She owed the dark haired woman her daughter's life. Owed her big time, however before she could inform Anniek of this the woman left the room.
Figuring Anniek needed some time to cool off she let her go, not knowing this would be the last time she would see her daughter in years.
Anniek had set her first step on the next path of her life and both her and Ella's life would go into a different direction once more.