Port in the Storm
War and Peacekeeping
Location: Aleksi's Quarters
Ashe shook her head slightly. "I'm just a civilian, Starfleet business has nothing to do with me," she said quietly. "I've heard some rumours but that's it."
"I killed a man and stole his ship. Captain Ch'evhiasrahr, I still see his face on particularly bad nights. I tell myself on those nights it was the right thing to do, that if I hadn't I would have been an accessory to mass slaughter of at least one peaceful world," He took a sip of his drink, his eyes glazing over slightly, "I hadn't really thought about pulling the trigger though until he shot the only real friend I had in this universe. I sat in a cell for four months while they decided whether preventing genocide was a good enough reason to set me free."
"That's who I really am, a monster," He laughed a little, turning to the woman on the couch, "Funny, I never really thought I'd admit to my sins on this ship yet here we are. I tell you this because it will get better, the face may never disappear but it will fade. There will be bad nights, the sort that will drench you a bitterly cold sweat, but they'll grow fewer in number. The last thing I want you to think is that you're alone, that will only drive you further into madness."
He didn't want to move closer, many having recoiled at the mere mention of his name let alone any discussion of his crimes. With a conscious effort he made sure her avenue of escape was clear, "I want to help you, I can help you. I can't say life will go back to the way it was, I'd be lying if I did, but it's better here than ending up as a sacrificial lamb at the alter of diplomacy. All I ask is that you let me deal with this, no security or chain of command. Can you let me do that?"
Ashe nodded slightly, drinking half of the martini before looking up at him, her hand wrapped tightly around the glass. "I trust you," she said quietly, a tone of genuine sincerity in her voice.
A sort of sad smile crossed Aleksi's lips, "Thank you," Whether that was thanks for her believing that he may have some redemption or that he could solve the problem didn't matter to him, he was happy that someone did have faith in him. Taking a seat next to her he placed a hand lightly on her free one, "You can take the bed for the night. I'll be out late and the couch is comfortable enough for me."
"You don't have to give up your bed," Ashe said quietly. "I'm happy to take the couch or the floor. This is your quarters."
"And you're my guest," He smiled at her, "Those sheets are from the presidential suit from the Hotel de Paris, like you're wrapped in an angel's robe," Lifting her chin a little he looked her in the eye, "You need it, I don't."
As he lifted her chin she found herself looking into his eyes. "Thank you," she whispered softly. "I... I'm glad you're here Aleksi..."
"I'm happy to be here," There was something about her that made him want to be there, some inkling of wanting to be a good person, "Whenever you're ready to get to bed I'll tuck you in and put an end to this nightmare."
"I think I might go now," she said quietly. "I don't know that I'll get any sleep, but at least I'll be out of your way."
"At least you'll be comfortable," Setting his glass aside he stood up, offering his hand to help her up, "And you're never a burden."
Finishing her own drink, Ashe set her glass aside, taking his hand and rising slowly to her feet, careful to hold the robe together. Her hand remaining in his as they started walking toward the bedroom, she leaned against him, finding herself startlingly grateful for his presence and strength.
Sitting her on the edge of the bed he went to the nightstand, pulling out the draw. Digging out another holdout weapon, he set it on heavy stun as he set next to her. Flipping the disruptor in his hand he held it out to her, "Keep this near you, if anyone comes through the door and isn't me shoot them. Even if you aren't sure, fire."
She nodded slightly, setting it on her lap, her hands resting over top of it. "Does this mean you're leaving?" she asked quietly as she looked up at him uncertainly.
"Not until you're ready for me to do so," He looked at the folded clothes, "You aren't ready for bed and I still need to tuck you in."
"I... I guess I should get changed then..." she said quietly. "Turn away and don't look?" She stood up, her hands sitting at the belt of the robe as she looked at him.
He stood up and turned away without protest, doing his best to keep her comfortable. It gave him time to think, not just about his coming mission but also the current situation. The woman who had pretty much saw through him the moment he walked through the door to her lounge had come to him for help, whether it was because of his reputation or he had somehow earned her trust didn't much matter, she had wanted his skills, both legitimate and, in this case, illegitimate. He was going to use his full toolbox for her.
It only took a moment for her to slide the robe from her shoulders and pull on one of his tshirts instead before she slid between the sheets, pulling the covers up over her. "You can look now," she said quietly.
There was something both heartwarming and wrenching about the scene. She may have seen the darkness more than most, but there was still some depravity that she hadn't experienced, at least not until now. He figured that may in part explain why he was going to commit the crimes he would for her. Sitting at the edge of the bed, "Comfortable?"
Shuffling the pillow around, she turned onto her side, half looking up at him, her hand reaching out to cover his. "I don't know what you're going to do, but please be safe," she pleaded softly. "I don't want you getting in because of me..."
"That's the last thing you need to worry about," He brushed some loose strands of hair away from her face. He'd done worse things and it was something he was comfortable with. It was also something she didn't need to know about, "I promise you'll be safe. Try and get some sleep, I'll be back and on that couch quicker than you'll know."
"Let me know when you're back?" Ashe asked quietly, almost sleepily. "I don't want to accidentally shoot you."
"Of course," Running his hand lightly against her cheek he stood up, tucking her in a little more. In what seemed like seconds she was asleep, his cue to move on with his task.
Leaving the bedroom it was time to get back to business. The feelings and warmth had been nice, something he hoped to experience again, but it was now back to his true nature as the local villian. Covering up crime scenes had never been his expertise, more of a hobby than anything else but one he showed considerable promise in. Opening his toy box from Mira he tossed a number of things into a satchel, scanning Ashe’s glass with an unregistered tricorder so he knew what evidence he needed to remove. Checking to make sure he had everything he looked in on his guest once more before darting out the door.
While he would have preferred to go through the tubes to avoid any cameras or physical security he knew that it would be blocked by force fields, a security measure he had endorsed. It would also give him the chance to figure out which cameras he’s need to deal with later. The goal was not to pin the homicide on any particular person, but instead leave the clues vague enough that people’s preconceived notions would take hold. His team had to occasionally alter scenes in similar ways, usually to cover up extractions but the occasional death also made its way into there
Nodding at a passing security patrol, he waited until they turned to corner before slipping into the Counselor’s room. The blood at this point had already congealed, body cool but still an hour or so from rigor setting in. A quick scan ensured that he was in fact dead, not a terrible loss for humanity. The man was a monster, more so than Aleksi was, having led the internal security force within the capitol. Rumor had it he’d drive through the city when his sexual urges hit him, randomly taking women off the street he found attractive. Well, I suppose it's more than rumor now. It almost made one sympathetic to the rebels, they may indiscriminately use IEDs, but rape wasn’t in their MO.
Pulling on a clean suit he could almost feel his humanity leaving him, clearing his mind for the task at hand. He was merely a tool at this point, a tool with a single purpose. Pulling out a few tools he affected a terrible Scottish accent, “Dr. Petrov, report to my cabin immediately,” He stood up, bleach in hand, “There’s been a dreadful accident.”