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Caedan "Groove" Nkai - Lots of Pain, No Gain

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You know a sim is exciting when you verbally go "yes!" while reading it. In this continuation of an interrogation scene with three Skarbek Maquis and a Cardassian Glinn, we watch through Nkai's eyes as things are suddenly switched up, and a new tactic is introduced. As always, being a Rodulan, the way Nkai perceives events is often through his telepathy, and I am constantly amazed and take inspiration from the style in which Quinn writes him.


Caedan "Groove" Nkai - Lots of Pain, No Gain (google.com)



((Senate Room, Council Building, Maingard District, Witherington, Indre III))


It was a curious situation. Though the three Maquis were captives, strung up like some kind of game animal, ready for the Cardassians to pick apart, it wasn’t entirely clear who was questioning who. While Glinn Palnin was demanding answers to her questions, they were teasing information from her in kind. She’d confirmed for them that the Cardassian numbers on the colony were smaller than they should be, and Erin continued to probe. That was the thing about the freckled, skinny, softly spoken hybrid—she always seemed so harmless.


E. Reynolds: The other glinns are out chasing down the Maquis and local resistance, right? If they find them, they’ll say they were doing the real work while you wasted valuable time on prisoners with no information. If they don’t find them, they’ll say it’s because you failed to get the information they needed. Whatever happens, they’re going to use it to make you look bad in the Gul’s eyes. 


Caedan’s dark eyes darted toward the skinny hybrid. He couldn’t tell if she knew something he didn’t, or if she had learnt a few tricks from her sister since Quinn had come aboard—either way, it sounded convincing. Cardassian politics could be ruthless, with plenty willing to sink the proverbial knife into someone’s back in order to advance... no matter how attractive the owner of said back might be. 


Either way, she’d struck gold. The fingers of Palnin’s right hand curled and unfurled in an unconscious display of her inner turmoil.


Palnin: And what exactly makes you think it wasn’t all my idea?


Sim: Call it a wild guess.


Nkai: You know Gul Korat better than we do. ::He tried to shug on reflex, and instantly regretted the attempted move, sucking in a sharp breath through his teeth. When he continued, his voice was strained.:: But from what we could find out, he’s earned his position by making sure he always had someone to dump the blame on when things go wrong. You sure the other glinns aren’t covering their asses by making sure it’s you and not them?


It was his turn to be the focus of Palnin’s sensor suite, and the Cardassian turned toward him. She took in a slow breath, filling her lungs, and exhaled it slowly with a tilt of her head and purse of her lips. Glacial eyes bored into him, and he could feel the cogs of her mind whirring, like a buzz in the back of his own brain.


But a knock at the door distracted them all, and she looked toward it. With manners she didn’t really believe they deserved, she excused herself.


Palnin: Please excuse me for a moment, won’t you.


Sim: ::He winked, but Caedan could taste the sour curdle of fear.:: We’ll be here.


Palnin departed into the shadows with long strides, leaving them alone in the quiet gloom of the council chamber. In an odd way, Caedan almost missed her. Her presence was a distraction from everything else; the fear, the pain, the dread building like a gathering storm. They hung there, listening to the distant rumbles resonating through the city, and the muffled voices coming from behind the door. Whatever the conversation was, it incensed Palnin; it hit the back of his throat like chilli-spiced brine.


Palnin: ::In a muffled hiss,:: Idiots.


Sim: ::Sarcasm rolled through tired tones,:: Ohhh nooo.


She returned through a door swung open and nearly slammed shut, and marched herself to the back wall. In a flash of white, light banished the gloom with a scorching heat, and it took only seconds for Caedan to break out in a sweat. Palnin was furious; a poisonous mix of anger, frustration, and suspicion, their earlier goading having taken seed in her psyche.


Palnin: You. ::she pointed to Nkai:: Tell me how many of your people are on the ground.


Of all the people to ask, Caedan was the worst. Erin might know, or at least she might be able to make an educated guess, close as she was to Brunsig and Jo. But Caedan wasn’t a part of the Skarbek crew. He wasn’t involved in the on-the-ground planning. She’d never get that answer out of him, because he genuinely didn’t know


Nkai: I. Don’t. Know.


Like the others, he squinted and tried to shield his eyes from the light. But there was little he could do. Every movement hurt, and the fashion in which they’d been bound left barely any room to move, anyway. ‘Kos nodded his head toward his Caedan and Erin, and then down toward his intact leg, and the astringent taste of the Betazoid’s dark humour bit his tongue.


Sim: I make it two and a half on the ground.


Palnin: I’ll ask you again, ::her voice crackled,:: how many of your people are on the ground.


Sim: ::He squinted in Palnin’s vague direction.:: Enough.


Palnin: Response


Sim: Enough to disturb your normal activities to such an extent as to make you weak. So you take your best guess and halve it; we don’t need many people to make you all look like fools.


So far, Palnin hadn’t gone for blunt tactics like inflicting pain. Perhaps she knew their effectiveness was limited—all too often, people said anything just to make the pain stop. Perhaps she prided herself on pulling information out of people without it, wielding her cunning like a scalpel to carve people into ribbons. But he did wonder if, with all their needling, she would escalate to cruder methods. To prove she could. To remind them who had the power. To leverage their care and concern for each other.


His question was soon answered.


It was Erin who yelped first. Shorter than either Caedan or Genkos, she was further off the floor, her feet dangling clear, more stress on her wrists and arms. The interrogation plates above their head had hummed into life, moving the suspended resistance fighters about the chamber as though they were carcasses in a slaughterhouse. Still almost blinded by the searing lights, Caedan squirmed as he moved, unable to find any relief from the pain jolting through his upper body, fear rising as his two friends disappeared from his view. Now all he could see was the wall, Palnin’s presence and perfume crawling over his shoulder like a constrictor.


Palnin: Response


Nkai: I can’t—::he grunted, his shoulders screaming in protest.:: I can’t give you answers I don’t have.


Sim/Palnin: Response


Baking under the heat, droplets of sweat running down his face, Caedan’s attention briefly turned inward. He felt a strange sensation in the back of his skull—like walking through a crowd and for just a second, smelling an old friend’s perfume. But it wasn’t too hard to keep the hope from his face, the constant pain carving ever deeper lines into his grimace. Surely, it meant familiar minds were nearby, that rescue was on its way.  


Nkai: You know, they say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ::He would have laughed, but his throat and chest didn’t comply.:: Or maybe it's desperation. I can’t tell; you’re starting to reek of both.


Sim/Palnin: Response




Caedan “Groove” Nkai

Captain of the Fourcade / King of the Airwaves

The Maquis





Erin “Vines” Reynolds

Crouching Botanist, Hidden Badass

The Skarbek


Edited by Doz Finch
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