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Sorel - Addiction


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((Luxury Suite, Menthar Anchorage))

::Sorel watched as B’horn and MacNickols pulled the minibar replicator in the rear of the apartment apart. The main one in the lounge might have been easier, but the last thing she wanted was Tol walking in and finding Anil hooked up to the thing’s computer system.::

::She’d managed to keep him out of the Ferengi’s sight so far, and wanted it to stay that way. The nanotech implants in Anil Tain’s brain were illegal in multiple jurisdictions, and thus exceptionally rare anywhere near space controlled by most of the major powers. She didn’t like to think what sort of opportunities Tol might see in him.::

::Devan MacNickols wasn’t the engineer that Tala had been, but he could hack a computer. That summed him up really, a jack of all trades and master of none, he was useful in all kinds of situations. He was an adrenaline junkie with a mediocre criminal history that kept him out of Federation space, an adventure seeker only looking for his next hit. He would live fast and die young, and in the meantime she gave him the opportunity to do the dangerous work and used his skills in return. So far it kept him coming back.::

::Quite what his relationship with Tala had been she’d never delved too deeply into. Like most of them the Andorian zhen had rejected her own culture as not satisfying her needs. Refusing to be a brood mare and carry infant after infant for designated mates she didn’t care for, she’d sought out a life of her own and brought her engineering talents to Sorel’s crew. And now she was dead. Story of existence really. She’d be missed, but there wasn’t a [...] thing that Sorel could do about it.::

::Whilst their Romulan leader supervised, B’horn worked with the kind of indefatigable persistence that one could only find in someone with Klingon endurance. He’d been with her since her days in the Romulan Empire, owed her his honour and his life. Beyond that he wasn’t certain why he stayed with her; most Klingons would have sought for some way to discharge that debt. He seemed content to ride out whatever journey she chose, acting as her security. He’d been her companion for the longest time, and apart from his unwavering loyalty she understood him the least.::

::Well, almost unwavering; there had been that one incident. B’horn had never understood her tolerance of Anil Tain, let alone her attraction to him. The Klingon had only seen the Trill’s physical weakness, considered him a burden on the crew. She’d challenged him over it before he could do something to rid them of that perceived burden, and the fight had been very messy. Romulan strength against Klingon endurance; bruises, broken bones and green and purple blood all over the place. Eventually B’horn had backed down, but it had been a close thing. Sorel doubted she could ever beat him in a straight fight, but then she wasn’t inclined towards straight fights. She used every weapon in her arsenal.::

::And lover or not, Anil Tain was one of them. Right now his ability to get inside a computer system might well be their only chance at freedom.::

::Behind her firm facade she was acutely aware that they were only in this situation because she had brought them there. Mack had demanded to know what the frell was in the Corridor that made it worth coming all this way when they'd first set out. She had promised them riches in unplundered crash sites and alien artifacts, scavenging the best pickings of this no man’s land. And that had been one reason. But it hadn’t been the only one.::

::Anil had told her that back on Trill, when his disease had first become apparent, that he’d had genetic testing done, the full extent of his mutation mapped and sequenced, but that nothing could be done. That had seemed ridiculous to her in this modern age, but he’d tried to explain that the extent of the damage was more than the usual inheritable mutation; something called a ‘frameshift mutation’. She hadn’t understood it, but apparently the affected segment of DNA was huge, resulting in multiple aberrant proteins that slowly built up in his body, crippling him. Only the blood/brain barrier preserved his mind. Doctors on his home world, and in the Federation at large, had told him that the damage was too extensive, their couldn’t repair it That had been the end of many of his dreams. He was dropped from the Symbiosis selection process, and where before he’d been driven and a high intellectual achiever, life suddenly lost all lustre for him. They’d told him he’d be lucky to live another five years, but so far he’d proven them wrong. He was stubborn like that, and surprisingly determined behind his quiet demeanor.::

::Disgusted with what he perceived as his society’s having failed him, Anil Liorn had left to seek his own answers, and his own way of living with himself. There were those beyond Federation jurisdiction who conducted unsanctioned genetic engineering. But the ones he’d found couldn’t help him. He’d found others who could in different ways, and learned to trade his failing body for one of circuits and sensors, at least temporarily. Technology that not all could accomodate he had adapted to like he'd been born to it.::

::That was Anil of course; then there was Tain. That symbiont’s previous host had been exiled for the crime of reassociation, refusing to leave behind a past romance. She’d been on some planet seeking ways to prolong her life when Anil had come seeking a cure. Neither had found what they sought but they had reached an agreement. The Symbiosis Council would no doubt he horrified, but clearly neither Anil nor Tain cared one whit.::

::She did however; and that was her folly. She had told no one, but that was the reason she had brought them out here. Risked their lives, lost their ship, gotten her crew captured and all for her own private foolishness. And there was no guarantee that she was right, or even if she was that she would ever find whom she sought, or if she did that he would even help her.::

::Regardless she had to try. The Federation was too law bound to help Anil, others too lacking in technology or charging the impossible. But she knew of a man who surely could. If he could engineer whole species as weapons he surely could re-engineer a few kilobases of faulty DNA. He might not choose to of course, he might not even remember her, incidental offspring of a causal liason. But none of that mattered. Rumour had it that The Infernal, that most infamous name amongst her own people, was out here somewhere.::

::Sorel had come to find her father.::

MacNickols: I think that’s it. God knows if it’s going to be any use to metal-head, or whether he’s going to have access to anything other than the [...]tail catalogue, but we're in.

Sorel: Good work. I’ll wake him.

Tain: No need.

::Like a wraith he appeared in the doorway before making his way over on his crutches. He was wearing his circlet again, having taken it off earlier as though it’s lack of signal offended him. She offered him her arm and helped lower him into the chair they’d pushed up against the wall.::

Tain: Plug me in.

::Tala’s jury-rigged system was invaluable, and Mack made the connection. For a moment Tain squeezed her hand weakly and smiled blindly in Sorel’s direction, and then his eyes drifted closed. The smile stayed on his lips as he got his fix. She supposed that everyone was addicted to something.::

::For Anil it was that computer connection; for Mack it was adrenalin. For B’horn she was never really certain, although violence seemed to do it. For Tala it had been the chance to tinker with different technology.::

:: And for herself? It had been freedom. The endless possibilities that a ship represented. Yet that was all lost, and as she watched Anil seem to sleep, mind at work in the Anchorage’s computers, it occurred to her that you could have more than one addiction.::



Romulan Captain

Previously of Fortune’s Daughter

(Simmed by Dr. Saveron, USS Mercury)

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