The cool, salty breeze coming off the ocean surrounded her as she stood at the edge of cliff. Below, in contrast to the deep sense of calmness she felt, harsh ocean waves beat against the rocks. Even as high as she was, a fine mist occasionally enveloped her. The glittery blue of the water was breathtaking.
And it was all an illusion.
Freya knew, deep in the back of her mind, that she couldn't really be standing on this cliff. She knew she didn't own a dress like the one she was wearing. She knew she hadn't stepped foot on the surface of a planet since she was twelve.
And yet she could feel the mist from ocean. She could feel the rocks under her bare feet. She could smell the salt in the area. She even shivered as a particularly cold blast of air brushed across her skin.
Freya frowned, wanting to rationalize what she was seeing and feeling with what she knew to be fact.
"Why so sad sweets?" he asked from behind her. His hand slipped into hers. Julian's voice, Julian's hand.
"This isn't real." Freya said.
"It's real somewhere; it real in here." he said placing a hand over her heart.
"Am I dreaming?" she asked.
"Probably." he said simply. "Why are you so sad Freya?"
"I'm not sad." Freya protested.
"Yes you are. I know you well enough to know when you're sad." Julian said with a familiar smirk on his face. "There's something...out there..." he motioned toward the horizon but she knew he meant outside this little dream world. "Something is making you sad, or frightened?"
"I'm fine. Just hold me?" she asked leaning into his arms. He wrapped them around her and together they watched as the sky turned pink and orange. She didn't see when he left, she never even felt his arms leave her but there she was, alone. The fear and sadness and anger and frustration beat against her much like the water below beat against the rocks.
"What were you thinking?!" a female voice broke through the haze of Freya's dream. It sounded miles away from her but Freya turned her attention toward the voice, trying to hear over the noise of the ocean.
Freya was sure someone else was with the woman, probably replied to her outburst but Freya couldn't hear the reply; she just knew he was there.
"You!" the female voice again. "Go get Meng, he's going to be pissed." Freya's dream faded into nothingness as she started to wake up. She stayed still and kept her eyes closed in case they were watching her. She heard the quick footsteps of whoever the woman had sent away.
There was silence between the two - Freya knew there were still two people in the room. Somewhere in the distance, she could hear the sound of running water but that made little sense. She opened her eye just enough to get a look around the room, keeping herself as still as she could on the cold metal. She recognized both of them instantly - from the broadcast by the Sons of Liberty. The male was looking smug and the female paced the room fuming. She shot occasional daggers at the man.
Freya closed her eyes. The woman had not been one of her captors but the smug male was probably the rougher of the two. Again, Freya heard the sound of liquid running, it echoed above the room followed by the occasional churn of machinery. She was trying to determine the significance when the loud clank of a metal door reverberated through the room. She kept herself still as the two - yes there were two - people entered the space.
She could feel people closing in on her and tried to feign sleep. A pair of warm fingers pressed against her neck - to ascertain she was alive. Before he could remove his fingers, the smug male piped up from the back of the room. "I didn't kill her - she's perfectly fine."
"You're an idiot Brian." a new voice replied; he was very close to her, probably belonged to the man with the fingers on her neck. It was familiar to Freya and surprisingly calm. He removed his fingers and the air cleared as the people surrounding her moved away. "You were supposed to escort her, not kidnap her!" Meng said; she was sure this was Meng - the leader, or spokesperson anyway, of the Sons of Liberty.
"She's here isn't she?" Brian replied, his voice still smug. They continued to argue and Freya decided it was as good a time as any to 'wake up'. Slowly sitting up, they didn't notice her at first but Brian saw her first. "And she's awake. Finally."
For the first time, Freya wondered just how long she'd been here. Had she missed her duty shift? Had anyone noticed she was gone? She only had a moment to consider these things as the trip from the broadcast surrounded her.
"Julian!" Andy exclaimed. She was growing frustrated with his disinterest. "Are you hearing what I'm saying?"
"You found Freya's data pad and want me to give it to her, I get it Andy." Julian said rolling his eyes. "She hasn't been by all day but I'm sure she'll come by eventually." he voice was a mix of anger and sadness as he thought about Freya. Why hadn't she come by yet? He'd been ready to apologize for his behavior but then she didn't come...
"No!" Andy cried.
"You don't want me to give it to her?" Julian asked confused.
"Yes I do but that's not what I'm saying Julian!" Andy said, pinching the bridge of her nose with her fingers. "She's not in her quarters, she's not in the ward, she's not on the Deck, she's not here - I can't find her."
"Maybe she doesn't want to be found." Julian said.
Andy rolled her eyes. "This is Freya we're talking about, you and work are her life - when she's stressed about you she works, when she's stressed about work she comes to you and she isn't in either of those places."
"You're point?" he asked.
"She's missing!" Andy exclaimed.
"I must apologize for the method in which you were brought to see us Doctor." Meng said, offering his hand to help Freya stand.
Brian scoffed behind him. "Well you didn't want her knowing one of our hideouts did you? She'd go back to tell the Captain or security...."
Meng held up a hand to silence Brian, to his credit Brian shut up. "You needn't have bothered." Freya said, "I know where I am." she said calmly. Brian looked suspicious; Meng looked surprised.
"Do tell." Meng offered.
Freya pointed toward the ceiling but didn't actually look up. "This is one of the old water filtration units - stopped being used about thirty years ago when newer systems were installed - directly above them. There were two, one was recycled into a cargo bay. This one, deck 2, section A - was not ever really used for anything else since then. I also remember ninety percent of the trip here in a blindfold, I imagine Brian there knocked me out with an injection once they were in an area that no one would see them carrying me unconscious."
Meng was impressed, that much was clear. "Very good Doctor - how did you know?"
"I have a good memory." Freya said by way of explanation.
Brian rolled his eyes. "She's just going to run back and tell them exactly where to find us Meng! We need to deal with her now!"
"I'm not in the business of killing." Meng said simply. "Although he raises an interesting point Doctor. Why tell us that you know so much?"
Brian stalked away from them before Freya could reply. She followed his movements for a moment before turning her attention back to Meng.
"I am tasked with getting your trust, I could have kept it a secret, returned to the Captain, told him everything and ended the problem - except it wouldn't have and you know that. There are four of you here - or there were, I'm not sure where the boy went. A raid from security would have escalated the problem; renewed violence would have broken out and a lot of people would have been hurt or died. All in order to free you, the leader of this group. I have no doubt that there are a small cells of the Sons all over the ship. Even you probably don't know all their identities." Freya said. "So now you know that I know. I have given up any value in the information. If you decide to trust me, you can stay here and continue to use it as a hide out; if not, you can leave long before I could ever reach the Captain."
Meng sat back in his chair, considering the doctor's observations. "You're very smart Doctor."
"Yes." Freya said simply. "So are you, you'll leave after whatever this is ends. You will erase all evidence of being here - just in case. You may want to trust me, but you don't - not yet. I don't blame you really. You have many lives to consider. So do I, which is why I didn't struggle or raise any sort of alarm when your men took me. The violence has to stop. That's why I'm here isn't it?"
"Yes." Meng said still in thought. "Hmm, you are....unexpected."
Andy finally convinced Julian that Freya's absence was more than her just hiding herself for several hours. So together they faced Commander Bonwick. "She's missing Commander." Andy bit her tongue to keep her tone in check.
"Has she missed a duty shift?" Bonwick asked.
"Not that I'm aware of." Andy replied, Julian merely shrugged. Andy wanted to smack him for his apparent lack of concern about Freya's well-being.
"Then she's not missing." Bonwick replied.
"What?!" Andy asked startled. "She can't be found, and this is a spaceship - there's only so many places she could be!"
"We have protocol Lieutenant." Bonwick said. "If she misses a duty shift, the situation changes and it will be given the appropriate priority." she said with a sick smile.
"Meaning?" Julian spoke up for the first time.
"I'm sure you know Mr. Ice." Bonwick replied.
"You mean because she's 'only an embryotic' you won't look for her." Andy said, catching her drift.
"Of course we will, but there are other matters that may take precedence of course." Bonwick said. "Good day." she added and turned her attention away from them.
Julian turned from her in annoyance and almost rolled right over one of the nurses in doing so. "Commander Bonwick?" she said getting the security chief's attention. "Doctor Ryan didn't report for her duty shift..."