The silence in the room felt thick as Freya and Meng observed each other. "You asked for this meeting, I believe now is when you speak." Freya said, breaking the silence. She focused her attention on Meng but couldn't help but notice Brian scowl or the surprised look on Lana's face.
"I agree with you." Meng said. "The violence has to end. The bombings weren't supposed to hurt anyone - merely make a statement."
"A show of force." Freya said. "And I imagine to show that you could circumvent security. Nothing more irritating to Commander Bonwick than not being able to catch a criminal - except perhaps not being able to catch an embryotic criminal."
Meng nodded to acknowledge her statements as truth. "That statement being made - we want peace as much as you do."
"What are your objectives?" Freya asked. "What do you hope to accomplish?"
"Freedom, equality..." Meng said before Freya cut him off.
"You're going to have to be more specific than that. The Council would argue that no real restrictions on movement are placed on embryotic or Quuvarii - though the security check points are more numerous in the lower decks - no one is stopped without due cause." she said.
"And you accept that?" Meng asked, for a fraction of a second doubt crossed over his face before being replaced with his typical calm.
"The Council is the only entity that can give you what you want - what I believe, what I accept is irrelevant. I'm merely telling you what arguments you will face if you gain an audience." Freya kept her face impassive.
"Then why are you even here!?" Brian rushed forward, slamming his hands hard into the table. His body was tense and his face was creased with anger.
Freya turned her gaze from Meng to Brian just as Meng stood to push Brian back. "I'm here Brian Garrett..." she paused a moment as all three looked at her in shock. "Because he requested me." she concluded motioning toward Meng. "Perhaps you should ask him."
"And perhaps you should tell me how you know who I am!" Brian shouted.
"Brian Garrett, parents George and Annabelle; both first generation embryotics. George Garrett was a respected member of the maintenance crew until last year when he died in an engineering accident. You have two siblings, both younger." Freya watched as the anger just about radiated from his body. "And you broke you leg two years ago. I've seen your medical record - before it, your parents' and your siblings' records all vanished from the system. I checked - after I saw you on the broadcast." Freya turned toward Meng, who still looked startled though she could tell he was trying to get his normally calm visage back. "How did you do that anyway?"
Brian pushed past Meng's outstretched arm and got in Freya's face. "It's not any of your business...Doctor! And if you tell anyone..."
Freya didn't flinch, even when their noses almost touched due to proximity. "Mr. Garrett, I don't care who you are; I don't care about who your family is. If I was of a mind to tell Commander Bonwick who they were, I would have already and they would all be sitting in the brig right now in an effort to lure you out of hiding."
"Brian! Back off." Meng said physically pulling him away from Freya. "Take a walk." he said shoving him toward the door. He turned his attention back to Freya. "You're full of surprises Doctor; if I were you, I wouldn't provoke Brian."
"He's a liability. He doesn't see things the same way you do." Freya said, still watching the doorway that Brian had left from.
"Do you? See things the way I do?" Meng asked.
"As I said, that's irrelevant. I have no sway with the Council, so I'm not the one you need to convince." Freya said.
"True - but let's consider it a mutual exchange of ideas. Humor me." he said with just the barest hint of a smirk.
"I can appreciate your cause; the prejudice, segregation and discrimination on this ship is abhorrent. Your methods - even as a statement - will not win you favor though. In fact, you have damage control you need to do." Freya said. "As it stands, you are feared by those that should support you and you are merely an annoying itch to those you wish to reach."
"There you go! She's missed a duty shift! NOW will you look for her?" Andy pushed, smiling appreciatively at the confused nurse.
"As I said; it will get the appropriate attention it deserves." Bonwick said.
"It?! SHE; Commander...SHE is a person!" Julian snarled. If he could have risen, he would have stood and towered over her; as it was, he couldn't and he hated himself for it.
"If you are unsatisfied with method in which we give priority, you can take it up with the Captain or the Council." Bonwick said with a sick, twisted smile.
"Believe me, I will!" Andy said before storming out of the office, followed closely by Julian and the nurse. Nurse White left them and Andy turned toward Julian. "Do you think your Aunt would help at all? Ya know, put some pressure on Bonwick?"
Julian looked at her surprised. "My Aunt doesn't like that I'm dating Freya, I don't think she would go out of her way..."
"Would she do it for you? She's a Council member! If I can get to Captain Hunt and you can get your Aunt - maybe Bonwick will actually DO something instead of just sit there looking pleased."
"I'll talk to her." Julian looked dismayed at the prospect of talking to his Aunt about Freya.
"Fine, then I'll go find Captain Hunt - he seems to like Freya, maybe he can fire a torpedo under Bonwick." Andy said; before Julian could reply, she hurried away from him, in search of Captain Hunt, leaving Julian to track down his Aunt.
They'd been talking for well over an hour and Freya could feel it and the sleep on the cold metal bench in her body. She shifted in the chair only as much as she had to. Brian had returned and appeared to have calmed down but Freya didn't want to give any of them a sign of weakness.
"Why don't we take a break?" Meng said just about the time Freya was going to have to come up with an excuse to stand and walk around a bit. You can get cleaned up a bit if you like."
"Of course." Freya said. "I can go back to my quarters, check in with the Ward, I'm sure I've missed a shift by now." she saw Brian shift his weight awkwardly. "Be back in a hour?"
"You'll understand if I send someone with you to make sure you don't come knocking with a security team - an hour doesn't give us much time to relocate after all." Meng said. She knew that he hadn't planned on having her return to her quarters then but didn't seem to want to alarm her.
"Of course." Freya said. "I have no intention of doing such a thing but I can understand your concern" she said. "You, I'm sure, will understand if I ask for a different escort than before." she looked over at Brian, who she knew had been the rougher of the pair that had nabbed her before. "Perhaps the boy..." she said.
"Boy?" Meng looked questioningly at Lana, who whispered in his ear. "Ah yes. I don't see that as a problem." he nodded to Lana who disappeared through the door. They passed a few minutes in silence when Lana returned and nodded to Meng. "Your escort awaits Doctor." he motioned for the door.
Freya didn't look surprised when she saw Ash waiting for her on the other side of the door. They walked in silence through the bowels of the ship. There were quicker paths to her quarters but she imagined he'd be instructed to keep her out of sight so no one stopped them along the way to ask questions. When Ash stopped in front of a door, they weren't in front of her quarters. "Does he know you tried to release me that night?" Freya asked.
Ash's eyes were wide with shock. "How did you...?"
"Your voice." Freya responded. "These aren't my quarters Ash." she changed the subject to his evident relief.
"Your roommate may have seen you, asked questions about where you'd been." Ash said, pressing his hand to the door pad. A bright green glow emanated from the device as it scanned him and then the door slid open for them. "There's a shower, some clothes and I can get some food for you if you like."
Freya took in the surroundings as she considered her situation. She didn't think she was being held captive - not exactly anyway. Others would worry though. Had Andy or Julian noticed she was gone, had the Captain? Or had Meng informed him that she was safe? "Food would be appreciated." Freya said scooping up the set of clothes on the table and disappearing into the small bedroom with adjoining bathroom. She felt odd being out of her uniform during 'diplomatic talks'. Ash had a selection of fruits and a sandwich waiting for her when she emerged. As hungry as she should have been, she merely pecked at the food before indicating to Ash that she was ready to leave. He took her back to their previous location but a completely different route; perhaps hoping to disorient her so she couldn't ever find those small, hidden quarters again.
Once they were seated across from each other, the silence from earlier resumed. Each side was watching the other, waiting for the other to say or do something. Meng was expecting some comment about not being returned to her quarters while Freya wasn't entirely sure what to expect. "You know what I think?" she said finally.
"What do you think Doctor?" Meng asked, prepared to defend his decision. The others seemed to tense and closed in behind their leader protectively.
"You would make an excellent tactician." Freya said.
Meng was startled. Again. He hated being surprised like this. "Why do you say that?" he asked to cover his surprise.
"You assess a situation, you do so quickly and reach a decision with what seems like very little thought but in fact, you are simply that good. That skill, with your presence means that few would question a decision you make." she said.
"My presence?" Meng inquired.
"Yes, your presence. You didn't set out to be a leader or even a revolutionary but you have a certain charisma that attracts people to you; as a leader, they follow you because of the way you are, the way you act. You are completely confident in every decision you make." Freya explained. Until then she seemed distracted, casual even as she assessed his general character. She focused her gaze on him and locked eyes with him. "Except one."
"Which one?" he said, not taking his eyes from her gaze.
"Me." Freya said, "Your tactical ability, while outstanding, is clouded by the general assumption that all embryotics must want what you want."
"You don't?" Meng asked.
"Actually I do." Freya said. Meng narrowed his eyes, and was about to question her further but Freya spoke first. "Why did you choose me?"
"Because you're one of us." he said without missing a beat.
"No, I'm not. I'm an embryotic - but I'm not one of you." she countered.
"They are one in the same. Or will be." Meng said confidently.
"No, they're not." Freya said, sounding disappointed. "I told you earlier that the only people you had to convince were the Council members; that's not true." she said. "You claim to represent all embryotics, all Quuvari but you haven't convinced them that your goals are their goals - you assumed that they would see your way immediately. And now innocent people who had never heard of the Sons of Liberty until your broadcast will be persecuted, implicated; they'll lose their jobs, their belongings, their families..."
"Which is why we need change!" Meng said loudly, angrily even - showing the first crack in the calm facade he displayed. Within a moment, he seemed perfectly calm again but his eyes were on fire.
Freya stood quickly and leaned in toward Meng; softly, just a whisper almost, "But you didn't ask them if they were willing to risk all that." She straightened up and looked from him to the others still in the room. "You will get people killed, good people will lose everything - what little they had - because of you. Is that what you hope to get from this?"
"To be fair Doctor, you don't know the strength of the Sons of Liberty." Lana piped up after a moment of heavy silence.
"You're right, I don't. But I know enough to know that as things stand, you will lose and a lot of good people will lose in the process. Bonwick is ready to begin a witch hunt and SHE has the support of the Council. They will force you out by hurting the people you claim to represent; other embryotics and Quuvari will pay for your revolution. Bonwick and the Council will bank on the fact that you won't want to see your 'kind' persecuted." Freya shook her head. "Your 'statements'; the explosions, the injured people, have all made you the villains - like I said - you have damage control to do. In the mean time I suggest you stay quiet so emotions can calm down."
"You want us to give up." Lana sounded disgusted.
"No. I want you to play smart - consider the people you're dealing with. They are the law - they can rule by fear."
"The more they tighten their grip, the more people will slip through their fingers." Meng said; once again an image of confidence.
"Captain!" Andy was exasperated. "She's missing, a member of your crew is missing - doesn't that concern you?"
"I have every confidence in Commander Bonwick's ability to find Doctor Ryan." Captain Hunt said simply. "I suggest that you not concern yourself with it any further and leave it in the hands of our security team."
"But Captain Hunt..." Andy was cut off when he turned his full, piercing gaze on her.
"Lieutenant, I understand she is a friend but this is not your concern or department. Dismissed." Hunt said sternly.
Andy furrowed her brow, still wanting to argue the point but nodded slowly. "Yes Captain." she said quietly and left the bridge to hunt for Julian. She hoped he'd had better luck. She found him in his quarters looking glum - of course he'd look glum a lot lately. "No luck either?"
"Aunt Theresa has absolute confidence in Commander Bonwick. When I told her I had to leave to meet you; she perked up - you are apparently a more suitable match for me than Freya..." Julian said looking disgusted. He looked up at Andy looked sheepish. "No offense."
"None taken." Andy said. "I can't believe the Captain brushed me off. I thought he liked her - he even asked her to meet with the Sons..."
she was thinking aloud mostly, but Julian's head shot up at the end. "What are you talking about?!"
Andy looked at him surprised. "She didn't tell you? Oh shit..."