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Two Heads Are Better Than One

Posted on Sun Jul 19th, 2020 @ 11:05pm by Calderon Jarsdel & Lieutenant Commander Gwynne Emberly & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake

Mission: S1E4: The Hills Have Eyes
Location: Overwatch Station Brig
Timeline: MD 2

Overwatch Station had never looked worse. Jaya was sure of it. The preliminary death count that she'd heard from Holloway the Sergeant-at-Arms--a noncom suddenly in temporary command of Marines due to Mayhew's critical condition--was over a dozen. Seeing Calderon Jarsdel, the Betazoid who had been enthralled to a disembodied Lethean consciousness, sitting in the brig patched up and pathetic, it was hard to believe he had cut a swath through the station's Marine company.

He started at his own wrists and kept his head bowed low, mind turning over recent events again and again. A station. An unknown location. Pain. Anger. Death. A great deal of complex and unhappy emotional energy mixed with confusion, directed from outside influences who had come into direct proximity or contact with him, and also from within his own skull.

It was difficult to focus, so many matters chimed into his brain and demanded attention. Calls from muscles and tendons, sounds of blood pumping in his ears, his heart beat warm and regular in his chest. Temperature differences, anxiety, spikes of hormonal and chemical imbalances, hunger, thirst, all these matters Cal had not been responsible or capable of altering for such a long time.

He looked up, letting his ashamed and downtrodden gaze track from Jaya to Gwynne to Holloway then remain there, on the Marine. Cal had no words to use and many questions, but one wandered through both his brain and his vocal chords, quietly and meekly asked.

"Where is this place?"

"Safe," Jaya said gently. "Nobody will harm you here." Nor you them, she left unsaid.

Jaya spared a look for Sergeant-at-Arms Holloway in the corner. Forcefield or no forcefield, the man was not letting Cal out of his sight. Turning to Gwynne, she asked, "You've got experience in Intel, yes? Now that the unsub [unidentified subject] is stabilized and secured, maybe you could take the lead in questioning him?"

Gwynne shrugged a little, and sighed. Transferred out, though still on reserve, yet thrown right back bloody into it.

"First we need a recording device, and I need you to sit in on it." Gwynne then added to to Jaya mentally, "in case the block doesn't hold up, I'll likely need you again to hold him down."

Before Jaya could reply with more than a nod.

"I beg your pardon, ma'am." Holloway stepped forward to directly address the Lieutenant Commander. "Overwatch Station's brig maintains round-the-clock audio and visual surveillance records." He spared a damning stare for Cal before stepping back to his corner as quiet sentry.

Jaya glanced around at the corners of the detention area for the hidden camera feeds. "Works for me," she said with a shrug.

Gwynne nodded, "alright," she said with a sigh and pulled up a chair. "Let's start simple, I'm Lieutenant Commander Gwynne Emberly, this is..." she motioned to Jaya, realizing she didn't quite know who the Deltan really was.

"Lieutenant Jaya Maera-Garlake," she said, omitting the junior grade from her rank.

"So, who are you, do you know?" Gwynne refocused her black eyes on the bound man across from them.

He listened to them speak, noted the man's glare and couldn't honestly blame him for that undisguised hatred and distrust. Emotions were complicated, he was out of practise and exhausted, but Holloway's weren't exactly hard to divine. The two women, they were more complicated. Cal tried to wrestle a clear space in which to think, feeling the internal stress that had dogged him for so long. He was freed of the mental prison, yet not entirely alone in his own head. The Lethean had been knocked out and down, battered hard, but he remained present. He rose just a little more from the depths with each passing moment.

Cal stood up, as Gwynne directly addressed him. He walked towards the barrier and bumped cuffed hands directly against it - Jumik testing the boundary.

One voice spoke two names simultaneously in response to the question their syllables blurring together as he staggered backwards.

"JumikCal."

Jaya held up a PADD with Cal's mug shot on it. "This says your legal name is Calderon Jarsdel. You went to the Starfleet Academy. But then your profile goes dark. How did you come to be here?" Jaya's right eyebrow raised as she added, "That goes for both of you, but Cal first."

Blue eyes stared at the PADD. Yes. That name resounded deep within as his own. But like his profile, apparently, his memory was also darker. There were definitely shadows over his recent past, confusing elements to the way time had passed and what order events might be in. She'd said it had been a long time, but that concept was tricky to wrap his slightly clearer head around. "I don't know," said Cal, the voice softer, a little more hopeless than before. Then his mouth lifted in a visible sneer as Jumik literally muscled in on the show. "Prison transport," said the Lethean. "Unjustly accused. He's innocent." There was a derisory laugh wrapped around those words.

"Yes, we're familiar with your work," Jaya said. "But right now we need to hear from Calderon Jarsdel. How did you come to be in this... condition, Calderon?"

It was an effort to project his own personality through the Lethean's confidence and strength, but that constant use of his own - his real - name, helped. Cal focused on the two women on the other side of the forcefield and pushed all his effort towards communication.

"He tricked us," Calderon said, voice loud for a moment. "We thought he was dying. He... they... attacked?" He considered what felt like a dim, distant past and shrugged as he added. "I don't know, exactly, how he did it. I woke up, and my head was... full."

"Cal, who's us? Who were you before this?" Gwynne asked as gently as she could.

Of all the things that had been lost and (hopefully) temporarily forgotten, that day remained extant. Memories floated to the surface along with a need to keep them secret. Cal directed his own gaze to the blond woman on the other side of the shield wall.

"He was sposed to be an asset," Cal said. And in his mind, he felt Jumik lash out. They approached the barrier once more, and Jumik pounded Cal's fists against it.

Strike! Fallback. Strike! Recoil. Strike!

"You are Calderon Jarsdel, son of Rixx." Gwynne spoke in betazoid, hoping to provide the man inside a rope to hold on to, "son of Cooper and Penelope. Born on Orbital Station 230. You are in control. You can block him. We will help you block him."

Cal stepped back, a slight shake to his shoulders from the repeated forcefield shocks, but there was a cognisance in his eyes now that latched onto Gwynne's own. A fire than briefly burned as he spoke back in the same language. "I'm no son of Penelope," he said firmly. He stood, momentarily defiant, and pushed back on Jumik hard.

But Jumik had no plans to go down easy, and he'd been here before. He thrashed out, trying to throttle that offensive move and that struggle showed in Cal's expression as he grunted out words and dropped to his knees on the floor. Through hands spread across his face as his head thundered within, Cal spoke. "Definitely. Need. Some. Help."

"We will need that block sooner rather than later." Gwynne said to Jaya, as she walked over to their end of the Forcefield. "Have you ever been to Rixx, Cal? Have you ever seen the Opal Sea?" She kept speaking in betazoid.

With obvious and visible effort, Cal lifted his head, moved his hands to rest across his ears and stared up at the ceiling. "Opal Sea. Janaran Falls.... Lake..." He closed his eyes and tried to focus on Gwynne's voice rather than Jumik's.

Jaya made to let down the forcefield, but Sergeant Holloway cleared his throat.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I can't let you do that. Step away from the forcefield control panel."

The abrupt order rankled Jaya somewhat. "He needs our help," she countered.

"Not inside the cell, he doesn't." Sergeant Holloway added a clipped, "Ma'am."

"We have to do something!" Jaya chewed her lip for a moment, trying to think. Her face lit up with a beaming smile. "I've got it! I'll need to access the control panel though."

Holloway stiffened.

"I'm not going to let down the forcefield," Jaya said. Since the sergeant made no active objection, she went to work on the panel. "If I can get the atmospheric mixer to release Axonol in 10,000 parts per million, then it should subdue the..." She wanted to call him the unsub, but he had been identified and personalized within her mind. "... the Lethean and allow Calderon a fighting chance."

The sergeant-at-arms couldn't argue with doping up the prisoner, so he stood down.

"There!" Jaya beamed triumphantly. "Calderon Jarsdel, can you hear me? How are you feeling?"

"Sleepy," said Cal. He rested his head in his hands and gathered his thoughts around him slowly before continuing. "But... I can hear you. I feel... lighter. I..." Cal looked out through the forcefield and stared at the smiling woman with the bald head. She looked victorious, but, unsure how long her win might last, he spoke quickly, tripping over his words as he struggled to get them all out at once. "We were on his trail and I.. I was supposed to bring him in. When we found him he was badly wounded, but not as badly as we thought. He attacked - I remember electricity, pain... he drove himself into my mind and I think..." The memory was both clear and somewhat fuzzy. "I think... he died."

Jaya remembered the stark battle of the minds she had barely won against the Lethean. "Perhaps biologically. Somehow, it seems, he lived on." That could potentially create a moral dilemma.

"Yes," Cal noted, his gaze lowered again now as emotions rose up and demanded attention. He tapped the side of his head with his right index finger and sighed. "In here. Somehow."

This was going to take time to sort out. Jaya looked at Gwynne and even Holloway in the corner. "Unfortunately, I think your rights as a Federation citizen might be... fluid... for the foreseeable future."

In those dark blue eyes there was a mixture of cognisance and quietly felt desperation as Cal's breathing quickened. He didn't move, remained seated and simply cast his deep concerns forwards, wrapped about his words.

"Fluid?" He asked, though the old Cal, the one who was waking up now after a two year mental prison stretch, truly did understand that they couldn't allow him to be free. "You mean," his brow wrinkled as his gaze softened in sorrow. "You're gonna keep me locked up?"

Jaya gave a sympathetic frown. "Hard to say. Probably. I will do everything I can to advocate for you, but under the circumstances..." She noted the scowl on Holloway's face. Her empathic sense told her the man would as soon put a phaser blast between Cal's eyes as see him treated. "... the powers-that-be are unlikely to let you go free anytime soon. Not without strong assurances."

His gaze followed hers towards the Marine and Cal once again noted the openly present venom in that soul. All things considered - well even half the things considered - the Sergeant was well within his rights to want retribution and vengeance. Cal sighed, stood and walked slowly back towards the barrier. Jumik remained quietly drugged for now, and while the soporific feeling pervaded them both, Cal pushed for his waking moment of fuller mental freedom.

"If you can get rid of him," Cal said, as he looked from Holloway to Jaya to Gwynne and back around again. "Whatever it takes. I'll do anything. Anything. But I've been imprisoned for so long already. I don't want to live in prison again. If that's my only option," his gaze locked with the Marine's own, and Cal held his cuffed hands up, palms together in a pleading gesture. "Then just shoot me now."

It took self-control for Jaya not to look at Holloway. Surely the man would be more than willing to oblige. "You know it's not that simple. We're not a prison, but we do have to take precautions..." This was getting away from her. Why hadn't she let Gwynne take point?

Gwynne, while the conversation was going on was going through options. It seemed that, whatever she did, since she took the oath, seemed to default her back to 'the Service'.

"You are, I imagine familiar with the term, asset, Cal?" Gwynne spoke finally.

Those eyes showed recognition and concern, but accompanied by a flicker of hope. "Yes," said Cal, and, normal filters not yet totally in place, his voice betrayed deeper layers of emotion. "I am."

"If you're willing, we can help you." Gwynne said, "we help you, you help us and we work out a deal." She glanced over her shoulder at the marine then at Jaya, then back at Cal. The undertone of what was left unsaid was clear - this was his only hope of escaping the all too well deserved justice the marines no doubt wanted to mette out. Not to mention the death and destruction of the others, as well.

He understood. And Cal was willing. Perhaps Jumik was more so, given his captive audience status, but the latter was currently denied an external voice. His whispers eched in the back of that shared brain though, audible to Cal alone. Cal's gaze remained on Holloway the whole time Gwynne spoke, intelligent eyes soaking up every detail of the Marine's face, the nuances of hatred.

"They'll kill me," Cal said, quietly. "And I wouldn't blame them."

Gwynne nodded, sighing. That was step one. Step two was the how and the why. First though, was step zero. "How did you end up at this place, Cal? It's not exactly on the map, or easily accessible."

Cal hadn't looked away from Holloway yet, and he didn't break that visual contact as Gwynne spoke. "I don't rem...." He started to say, but that was a lie and he knew it, so he considered his words and started again. "He got cocky," he said. "My father turned me - him - turned us in. We were a prisoner." There was some confusion in those words and in his own mind there as Cal tried to explain the tangled mess that had been his for the last two years.

Gwynne jotted down a note on her PADD; pull record on Jarsdel father.

"A prisoner bound for this place?" Gwynne looked over to Jaya for a moment, with a quizzical expression before turning to Cal again, "why did your father turn you in? I'm assuming he knew, why did he turn you in?"

He nodded, looking wretched as he bowed his head to the ground. "I don't know," Cal muttered at his stolen boots. "I don't know what he did or didn't know. He never spoke to me about it." And that look in his eyes, the last time Cal had seen Cooper Jarsdel, there had been no doubt of the emotion. Fear. A deep, unsettled terror, hidden behind those ebony eyes, but present nonetheless. "All I know is that he was scared," Cal admitted, and he didn't look up as he spoke the words.

While she could sense the man's sincerity, Gwynne knew all too well a properly trained individual could project needed emotions to sell a story. "If we contacted him, we would get the same story?"

Somewhere in the depths of his own psyche, Cal recognised the tricks of the trade. He gave a soft sigh as he spoke, gaze still floorbound. "I believe so," he said. "But I haven't heard from in... however long it's been now."

Gwynne nodded, "how long have you been in this...'condition', Cal? It would help us confirm your story."

"I'm not... not sure," their prisoner admitted. "When are we now? It was 2387 last I knew for sure."

"So the condition would have become ingrained by now." Gwynne looked over to Jaya, silently wondering of her statement was being agreed with by the Counselor. "Where can we learn more about Jumik?"

Jaya gave a frown. "I'm not sure. Letheans aren't members of the Federation, so knowledge of their culture, psychology, even their biology is limited."

In the forefront of Cal's mind, Jumik's cold laughter pervaded his thoughts. He winced, made a face that implied he was enduring a strong headache behind his right eye.

"I had research data," Cal said, looking up to the two ladies before him now. "I don't know how to access that now, though."

This piqued Gwynne's interest further. "Do you know where it could be?"

Still looking uncomfortable, Cal closed both eyes and shook his head lightly. "No, sorry. It's all a bit hard to remember. Like I'm looking at it through a lens or twenty foot of water." His eyes opened. "Does my dad know where I am?"

"Doubtful," Jaya said. "Despite the flight log of the shuttle which brought you showing they had clearance to transfer you, the incoming manifest shows that you were not expected. Nobody knew where you were going or that you were supposed to be here. It was like... this perfect storm of events that put you in danger and allowed Jumik to wreak havoc."

Gwynne took a deep breath, "would you like a break, Cal?"

Inside his head, Jumik swore colourfully. They hadn't been expecting him. If he'd known that... No matter. He only needed to bide his time until they showed a little more trust and then make his move. Shuttles came and went from this place, and he simply needed to be on one.

"Did they bring any of my stuff with me on the shuttle?" Cal asked, fighting through. "No," he answered Gwynne then. "I want out of here. I understand that you can't do that right now, but I need to help. What can I do to help?"

It took all of her Deltan equanimity to swallow her frustration and grief, but Jaya did it. This man deserved neither of those things. "I'm going to devise a course of treatment that will help you reassert your dominant personality. Now that we know about the Lethean influence, we may be able to isolate it. Even remove it." As she spoke, Jaya felt her passion arise but didn't care. It was a tragedy that so many had lost their lives this day, but she would not permit an innocent man to suffer for that. "I promise, Calderon. We will find a way."

"You will need to wear a monitor and be subject to routine checks until we can find a solution." Gwynne sighed, "of course, this is all provided our CO signs off on it when he comes back. We don't have final authority.

Oh crap... was essentially the mood for the trapped Lethean presence as he realised the implications of a CO not yet being present brought to his immediate future. All of this, happening now would escalate (or not) depending on the mood and moral code of said CO, but it didn't exactly bode well. That, plus he obviously loathed the idea of being a submissive part of this enforced partnership.

Calderon, however, nodded. These two had allowed him just enough mental space to gather his thoughts and experience a little bit of actual reality for a moment. He was eternally grateful for their benevolent and well-meant understanding, despite obvious concerns with regards his future. His tone had tendrils of emotions running through it as he spoke.

"I understand," he said, and his eyes were filled with anguish as he continued. "I killed people today, people who didn't deserve to die and if you and your CO give me a chance to prove that wasn't me, I'll subject to whatever measures you deem necessary. Just, please, don't lock me up and throw away the key." This place, this station, from what Cal had heard on board the shuttle to what he'd been aware of since arriving here, it sounded very much like that sort of location.

"We will advocate for you as best we're able," Jaya said. "I cannot promise more. But I've known the administrator for several years. He's a good man. I believe he will see reason."

Will he fuck... Said Jumik's voice in Cal's mind. You're never getting out here. They're just trying to pacify you and keep you calm.

"We don't know what he'll see until he gets here," Cal said, out loud.

"I am stronger than he is," Jumik added, his voice filled with the fire of a need to survive as he stole the only pair of vocal chords he could currently use. "Perhaps he will pick my skill-set over this weakling."

Jaya flooded the cell with another dose of Axonol gas. "Cal... I hope I can call you Cal. Can you hear me?"

"Follow the river B'Ela to Jenaran Falls. There is an overlook at the top of the falls. From there you can see the Opal Sea in the distance." Gwynne spoke in betazoid again. "Did you ever wonder, if you jumped if you could reach the sea? I did, almost jumped...but my father caught me in time."

Jumik had stood, defiant, cuffed wrists raised up against his perceived oppressors. As the Axonol permeated the air and seeped into Cal's system, he dropped to his knees, head bowed. It took Gwynne's voice, his father's language and a good few moments of closed eye concentration before the dominance shifted within. "I did," Cal answered, in accented betazoid. "I was barely as tall as my father's knee. I reached my arms out before me and lifted up my feet until I stood tiptoes to the ground. Then he picked me up and held me outward like a bird ready to fly and he shouted into the wind."

Gwynne nodded to Cal, continuing to speak in betazoid, "do you remember the taste of the river shrimp?"

A harsh exhale and a shake of his head. It was too long ago now, too distant and too lost in the mess of broken memories and complicated moments that stretched back between now and his childhood. "I want to go home..." said Cal, drowsy sounding words carried out on a gentler sigh.

"There is no home," whispered the other voice, but it wasn't in control, merely adding to the conversation.

 

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