Thirty Years Ago
“I’m sorry Mrs. Ryan...” Doctor Allen’s face was sullen as he delivered the blow.
Though she’d been fearing it and perhaps even expecting it, it was still impossible to control her emotion as the last shimmer of hope they had was snuffed out. “It didn’t work.”
The doctor shook his head. “We have your test results and while your numbers are very promising...I’m afraid your husband’s....” he trailed off and looked toward Elias Ryan. “The likelihood of the two of you conceiving a child together is nearly a million to one.”
“I’m so sorry honey...” Elias seemed to crumple under the news and cupped his wife’s face with his hands. “I’m so very sorry...I - I know how much...”
“Oh Elias!” Anya Ryan was fighting back tears even as she tried to comfort him. “It’s not your fault love.”
While it could technically be argued that it was, in fact, Elias’s fault - no one said as much. Dr. Allen nodded his way out of the conversation as the couple consoled each other. Nurse Davis was leaning against the bulkhead, a small frown on her face as the scene unfolded. “They’re devastated.” she said quietly as the doctor passed her.
Dr. Allen looked back at them and nodded solemnly. They stood aside for some time, quietly watching and waiting. In time, after many tears, the Ryans left the medical ward. Elisa’s arm was wrapped tightly around his wife’s shoulders.
Inwardly, Doctor Spencer Allen scolded himself for not offering them an alternative - there was one after all. He glanced over at the cold storage that housed the DNA samples for the embryotics with a grieved expression on his face. “They’d never be approved for use - you know that Spence...” Nurse Davis said, placing a hand on his arm. “They’re embryotics themselves...”
He nodded. He didn’t need to be reminded.
It was hours later, when all the outside lights had been dimmed to simulate evening and all the shop doors were closed and locked tight, that found Dr. Allen still considering the Ryan’s case. He’d tried, and failed, to riddle a way around their predicament. There was no medicine or surgical procedure he could offer. The only hope was a donor of some sort and the most likely candidate was sitting somewhere inside that cold storage locker.
‘They’d never be approved...’ Nurse Davis’s words played over in his mind again and again until he was near to the point of bursting. Unbeknown to the Ryans, infertility had been rising dramatically in embryotics as of late. Research suggested it had to do with the degradation of the DNA samples over time but none of that with public knowledge and the Council had already cut off all resources to these unlucky couples. The doctor mused on the problem for some time before he decided the only viable course of action.
He’d have to break the law.
You see, Doctor Spencer Ryan was a very good sort of person who became a doctor in order to help people - all people. He didn’t care who his patients’ great grandparents were in the same way the Council did.
The only problem with this ill-formed planned was that even he couldn’t break into the cold storage and just steal a DNA sample. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t but that he couldn’t! He didn’t have the necessary access codes without a second person. But he’d long since eliminated the ancient DNA samples from his mind and was considering a different donor now. With a slightly shaking hand, he punched a couple commands on the console and made a very late night call to the Ryan’s quarters.
The medical log that detailed the circumstances and the procedure was brief and left Freya with a lot of questions but Captain Hunt had seen to that as well. Included on the data pad were personal logs from Doctor Allen and even from a young (then) Lieutenant Hunt.
Freya glanced over at the sleeping form of Meng once more and then continued to read the story of her own conception.
“Is this legal Doc?” Elias asked, rubbing sleep from his eyes. At the doctor’s urgent behest, they had hurried down to the medical ward in the middle of the night with renewed hope in their hearts.
“No.” Doctor Allen said without pause. Anya stepped out wearing only a hospital gown and looking fearful. “I can’t give you a sample from storage, I can’t perform any procedure to help you reproduce with a willing donor, not legally... but I’m doing it anyway.”
“Why?” Anya asked, her voice barely a whisper.
“Because you deserve a child as much as anyone else... you understand everything yes? You won’t be able to tell anyone - even the child - the truth. Or we’ll all get in trouble. When the time comes I’ll...I’ll do what needs to be done.” Doctor Allen said thinking of all the trouble he’d have to go to to hide the truth. “If anyone asks, you, Elias, are the biological father and you got that one in a million chance. Understood?” They both nodded and Elias helped his wife onto the bed. They had a dozen or more questions but with one more look at the doctor’s determined face they fell silent and opted to cling to hope.
Meng shifted beside her and Freya quickly shutdown the data pad, extinguishing the light. “Freya?” he asked sleepily. She considered speaking up, waking him and telling him everything but decided to keep this secret close for the moment. She shifted on the bed and laid back down, Meng draped his arm over her as she scooted closer to him. "You okay?" he asked quietly.
"No." she said simply, closing her eyes tightly as if it would shut out the pain.
His hold tightened and instead of pushing him away as she might have just the day before, she absorbed his strength and let it roll over her to fight back a fresh wave of tears. Why Andy?! Still clutching the data pad in one hand, she let herself be lulled back to sleep by Meng's steady breath and presence.
After a few broken hours of sleep in which Andy’s death inhabited her nightmares, Freya finally gave up and opened her eyes. She knew, before looking, that Meng was already awake but glanced over at the hole his body had occupied the night before anyway. In a moment of panic, she remembered the data pad and reached out for it. To her relief, it was still sitting, untouched, exactly where she'd left it. She felt ashamed of her thoughts that Meng may have stolen a look at it. "Morning." Meng said as he stepped out of the tiny bathroom that had been carved out for him. He looked at her hand resting on the data pad and seemed to read her very thoughts but said nothing.
Freya lowered her feet to the floor, gripping the data pad tightly and nodded at him, murmuring a pitiful greeting. Meng, thankfully, opted not not to comment. He offered her use of the shower to freshen up and she longed to take him up on it. A few steps from the bathroom door she glanced down at the data pad in her hands and paused. Why shouldn't she tell Meng? She frowned, 'because I'd tell Andy before anyone else.' she thought to herself. But for all their fighting...she shook her head quickly, hoping to erase all those tender feelings that had been threatening to overpower her for weeks. ‘After what happened with Julian....’ she didn’t complete the thought but the truth was she didn’t want to risk her heart again.
"Freya?" his voice was full of concern. How long had she been standing there thinking? Had he been watching her the whole time - perhaps trying to sort out his own thoughts?
She spun around to face him and locked her eyes on his. With two strides she was standing directly in front of him and pressed the data pad into his hands. "Just...I - I want you to read this." she shook her head and turned back toward the bathroom before he could say anything. She sealed the door behind her and sank down onto the cold floor as grief overtook her.
Freya couldn't be sure how long she spent on the floor but her moment was interrupted by a light knock on the door. "Freya...." Meng. She stood and shucked her clothes before stepping into the shower, ignoring his knock. Meng, not one for being ignored long, triggered the door and stepped into the small space. “Freya...” Though she’d started the shower, she could still hear him. “You could talk to me now or I could come in there ya know.”
A small smirk escaped her lips as she imagined the cocky expression on his face as he said it.
“I’ll take that as an invitation then.” Meng said. He must have discarded his clothes in record time because it seemed only seconds passed before she felt him standing beside her.
“I didn’t know.” she said quickly. She wasn’t sure why it was so important to tell him that but it had been stuck in the back of her mind ever since she’d first read the records. “I had no...”
He silenced her by pressing his finger to her lips. “I believe you Freya.”
“Does this change anything?” she asked, realizing she was actually nervous he’d reject her because of her lineage.
“Are you going to change sides?” he asked, a tiny smile playing across his lips.
“What?! No! Of course not!” she protested before realizing he was just teasing her.
“Then it doesn’t change a thing.” Meng leaned forward, forcing Freya to lean back against the back of the small shower stall. He reached out and stroked the side of her face before pressing his lips against hers.
"You're a dangerous man Meng Asada." Freya said with a moan as he wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her towards him, the water that was once warm had turned cold as it cascaded down their backs.
"So I've been told."
"Spread the word Mr. Jamison." Captain Hunt's expression was guarded but a glint in his eyes revealed anger buried within. "I want you to start reassigning quarters of all embyotics and Quuvarii - and known rebel supporters."
"Segregation sir?" Jamison asked in surprise. The majority of embryotics and Quuvarii descendants already had quarters in the lower decks so he didn't catch the Captain's meaning.
"Not exactly. Relocate them to the Third." he said, referring to the section furthest away from the operational core of the ship.
"All of them sir?" Jamison raised his eyebrows.
"As many as can be arranged. Do it as quietly as possible...you understand?" The Captain raised his eyebrows and gave Jamison a look that might wither some men.
Jamison nodded. "Yes sir." He hesitated a moment until Hunt waved him out as a means of dismissal.
Hunt turned to look back at the still forms of Lady Ice and Commander Bonwick on his computer screen and cursed under his breath. Things were unraveling faster than he would like.
He was still staring at them when the doors swished open again and he swiveled around intent on shooing Jamison back out. It wasn't Jamison at his door, however, but Ash. "I'm sorry Captain, I needed to see you." he said, clearly out of breath.
"You shouldn't be here Ash." Hunt glanced back at the screen and wondered how soon they'd be summoning Ash for 'questioning'.
“I found this Captain. I don’t know what it means or even who wrote it but felt you should have it.” Ash produced the slip of paper he’d found with Andy’s handwriting on it.
Captain Hunt took it from his hands curiously and read it twice before looking up in surprise. “Where?”
“It was in a corridor in the Second, I know nothing else I’m sorry to say...” Ash’s words were cut off by the unceremonious entrance of two security officers.
Captain Hunt got to his feet as one of them stepped over and slapped a small data pad onto his desk. “Excuse the intrusion Captain but Mr. Swanson is needed for questioning.” The guards’ eyes never left Ash.
“Questioning about what?” Ash asked calmly, the picture of confusion and innocence.
“Your dealings with the rebels, the Sons of Liberty.” the lead guard practically spat the name out.
“I’ll save you the time, I have no dealings with the rebels.” Ash said, if Hunt didn’t know otherwise he would have believed him as well.
The guard faltered for only a second, possibly taken in by Ash’s statement. “Nevertheless, Commander Bonwick requests your presence. Immediately.”
“That sounds less like a request and more like a demand.” Ash waved off the protest on the guard’s lips. “But I’ll come anyway. Shall you lead or shall I?” he nodded to the Captain as the guards led him out of the office.
Hunt dropped into his chair and rubbed his forehead, squinting his eyes against the glare off his computer screen. “Damn you” he said to no one in particular. “Damn you to hell and back.”
“So you weren’t on the deck at the time of Lieutenant Kowalski’s death?” Bonwick didn’t even look at Julian as she asked the questions. She wouldn’t have even dragged him in if the Captain hadn’t insisted.
“No ma’am.” Julian replied in a perfectly even tone. As she wasn’t watching him, she didn’t notice his hand twitching but Katou did and she furrowed her brow.
“Had you seen the Lieutenant prior to her death?” Bonwick asked though she already knew the answer to this question, she’d seen them herself.
“Yes, she needed help finding someone but we separated.” His hand gave a tiny tremor but nothing more.
“Who was she looking for?” she asked as she continued to peruse the security report of the previous shift.
The hand trembled more violently but Bonwick took no notice, “Lieutenant Eislan” he said. “The engineer...” he offered when Bonwick showed no sign of recognition.
“Ah yes, okay, thank you Mr. Ice for coming in.” she stood and showed him out of the office.
Katou was standing and looking stunned when Bonwick turned back toward her. “I’ve heard tell about your interrogation techniques - that did not meet my expectations.”
“I would hardly call that an interrogation.” Bonwick said with a scoff. “I only brought him in satisfy Hunt - Lady Ice was furious!”
“Surely you saw how his hand twitched with every question...” Katou was cut off when two of Bonwick’s men came in with Ash Swanson tucked between them.
“NOW you can see a proper interrogation Commander.” Bonwick had a wicked grin on her face as she motioned them back toward the brig. Unlike Julian’s interview - this one would be conducted behind the security of bars and forcefields. “Coming Commander?” she looked expectantly at Katou. Reluctantly Katou followed the small parade into the inter-sanctum of the security center.
They were so absorbed with each other that neither Freya nor Meng heard the knock or call from the otherside of the door. They would never have known anyone was out there had Lana not stepped into the room and then, wide eyed, promptly turned around. She cleared her throat loudly a couple times. “When you’re done, we have a situation...” she said loudly before walking out of the room.
Meng’s head snapped up and Freya couldn’t help but laugh. It was probably the first real laugh she’d let out in months! Meng just shook his head but smiled as well.
A few minutes later, they both stepped out of the bathroom and looked directly at Lana - almost daring her to say something. She didn’t.
“You said we had a situation?” Meng prompted. She nodded and led them both into the small space - once a cargo bay of some sort - that temporarily served as their central headquarters. A handful of Sons were sitting around, eyes fixed on the monitor that had been tapped into the central ship’s systems.
Lady Ice looked as poised as ever, and as cold. Standing rigidly behind was Julian. His eyes seemed vacant and Freya couldn’t help but ache when she saw him. Captain Hunt was standing beside Lady Ice - much to her dismay it would seem as she attempted to discreetly adjust herself so she was standing in front. Hunt matched her movements - small as they were - and finally she gave up.
Lady Ice held a data pad in her hands but hardly looked at it as she began to speak. “'In order to bring a swift and complete end to the criminal rebellion, the 8th Ancestral Council,” she glanced toward Captain Hunt but he didn’t show any sign of acknowledgment, “has declared that all persons of embryiotic or Quuvarii birth will present themselves for questioning as requested by Council or the Security department. Failure to do so will result in arrest on sight regardless of circumstances. Any other person suspected of supporting this illegal rebellion will also be taken in for questioning as needed. Resisters will be taken by all necessary force.”
The smile she presented was not one of a firm but just person; it was cold and cruel! Everyone watching knew exactly what “necessary force” meant in Lady Ice’s mind. “As you can see, the edict has already been put into effect.” Her face, and those standing with here, was replaced by a view of the brig where a number of Quuvarii descendants were already being held. The children were clutching their parents and crying.
Before anyone could do more than gasp, the image on the monitor shifted again and they saw Ash slightly slumped forward and bound to a chair. The chair may have been the only thing keeping him upright which appeared to delight Bonwick and her goons.
They cut away quickly as Bonwick appeared to be closing in for another attempt at wheedling information from Ash. Lady Ice fill the screen once again and looked to be filled with remorse but Freya detected a hint of glee in her eyes. “Now, yesterday we lost another fine soul to this needless struggle. Lieutenant Andrea Kowalski was a loyal member of the crew and of fine ancestral birth. Her father...” Freya wanted to screech at the woman as she rambled on about Andy’s lineage but merely stalked away from the group. “Let us take a moment to remember all those who have been stolen from us by the Sons of Liberty and their crimes.”
Meng slammed his hand onto the button to silence the woman. “Bet they don’t care much for the lesser blooded ones that have died at THEIR hands...” someone in the crowd muttered.
“Now what?” Lana asked Meng quietly.
Now what indeed.