And This Is His Story 2
By Zappy Zaps
Part 2: High Tides
3 years later.....
The white, snow capped peaks extend to the horizon and beyond. The cold crisp wind funnelled between the peaks and valleys swirling the freshly fallen snow into smooth patterns over the white canvas. Not a single animal track disturbed the snow and other than the soft swaying of branches laden with snow, only one other thing in the seemingly infinite mountain range moved.
His feet securely binded to the long, flat, polymer board he shifted his weight and the snowboard carved another smooth turn into the snow. The S-shaped pattern was quickly covered by the blowing snow, leaving no evidence of this or his previous runs down this slope. He came to a stop half way through the run and allowed himself a moment to enjoy the spectacular scenery and hopefully achieve some semblance of the inner peace he had been missing for the past months.
His own strong emotions were not the cause of his current mellowed stated, rather it was the emotions of the rest of the crew. His life with Takara, Vaiyer, Murphy and the others had always been turbulent, life in general was difficult due to their occupations but the situation had worsened. Tensions where high and tempers flared often. Arguments occurred almost daily and usually resulted in a minimum of one of the crew taking a trip to sickbay for injury repair. The cause of the sudden wave of unrest was unknown but maybe it was inevitable. Their lives were far from stable. They had more enemies than could be counted; many of whom they probably didn't know of, they're wanted criminals in several star systems, and they where always finding their way into more trouble.
He sat down and looked up into the clear blue sky knowing that somewhere floating above him was their ship and the other five people that helped to run it. He could imagine their voices as they yelled at one another. He could see the look in their eyes of barely restrained rage. Lowering his head and took a deep breath. The air escaping his lungs froze the instant it came into contact with the chilly mountain air until the little cloud dissipated leaving the air crystal clear once more.
Thomas sighed to himself. This wasn't the life that he had been dreaming of when he was younger. He remembered dreaming of flying starships and he was now but it was becoming more and more clear to him that this wasn't the life he had imagined. In all those visions he had been the hero, not the villain. He was a criminal and no matter what the others said, he knew the thing they were doing were wrong but what else could he do. As Murphy never failed to point out, he was good at what he did. He sighed again as he thought of his deteriorating friendships. Murphy had been more hostile towards him lately and Takara....he wasn't even going to continue that line of thought.
The distant sun of this planet was beginning to set and the snowy peak of one of the far mountains created a bright glare in his eyes. It was enough to pull him from his thoughts. Standing he dusted off the snow that clung to his body. He could feel the chill seeping through the thick material of his suit. It was time he moved on. He looked up to where he imagined his ship was and pondered briefly where he wanted to move on from.
He hopped turning his board parallel to the steep incline of the mountain. It was better to keep moving -less time to think. He finished his last run down the slope before pressing his comm. device twice and the program in the computer database beamed him back up to the ship.
Upon rematerializing on the transporter pad the weight of all the recent problems came back to him and the feeling of calm that he had managed to attain was rapidly fading. Compared to the fresh mountain air the atmosphere of the ship was stuffy and stale. The walls seemed almost suffocating compared to the extending, open mountain ranges. It was probably his apprehension making each difference seem much greater.
Removing the thick jacket, the hat, the goggles and the board form his feet he left the empty transporter room and wished for an uneventful and solitary walk through the corridors to his quarters, but he was not so lucky. As he passed the door to main Engineering he could here. Murphy yelling at somebody. Thomas stopped in front of the door and put his things down along the wall where they would not be in the way. He then walked into Engineering.
In Engineering with Murphy was Vaiyer and Thomas instantly knew he had to do something to stop this fight or one of them may not survive this encounter. Vaiyer and Murphy had never really gotten along and in the past months they had been in several fights and every time it got physical the injuries to both parties were numerous and serious. Thomas approached the two. Vaiyer had his back to Thomas and Murphy was to enthralled in his argument to notice that someone else had entered. He called both their names as he approached them but they didn't hear him or they ignored him. Before Thomas reached them the argument became a fistfight.
"Stop it!" Thomas yelled as he tried
to pull Vaiyer off of Murphy who was pinned against a console. Vaiyer lashed
out at the person trying to restrain him and soon had Thomas pinned to
the floor. "Vaiyer! Get off me!" Thomas shouted. Vaiyer however didn't
even seem to realize whom he was attacking. All he knew was that he wanted
to hurt somebody. Vaiyer punched Thomas once, which was enough to get him
to retaliate. Using his legs he managed to push Vaiyer off. Rocking back
onto his shoulder blades he did a handspring and he was quickly up on is
feet again. Vaiyer didn't waste anytime and ran at Thomas to attack him
again, Murphy long forgotten. Using his momentum Thomas flipped Vaiyer
and he landed with a thud against the hard floor. Thomas pinned him to
the ground so that he was on Vaiyer's back. It was taking all his weight
to keep the other being down. He linked each of his arms under and around
Vaiyers from behind him and clasped his hands behind the neck. Vaiyer
"Vaiyer, Get a hold of yourself!" Thomas barked in his ear. Almost immediately Vaiyer calmed and after waiting few seconds Thomas let him go and stepped away from him. Vaiyer got up and looked at Thomas with an expression that he couldn't label before he quickly left. Thomas took a deep breath and wiped away the blood from the corner of his mouth. He turned around and went to help Murphy who was struggling to get up. Thomas helped him up and saw Murphy was in a lot of pain. "I'll help you get to Sickbay," Thomas stated and began helping Murphy but was pushed away.
"I've had enough help from you," Murphy snarled and headed towards the door.
"What was I supposed to do? It didn't look like you were winning that fight!" Thomas yelled at the retreating figure. The doors opened, Murphy left, and they slid shut again. He glared at the closed door for a few seconds before leaving as well. What had Murphy expected him to do?
In his room Thomas dropped his snowboarding
equipment in a corner and picked up his black headband. He had taken to
wearing it at all times to cover the scar on his forehead. He went to the
console on the wall. He called up a list of music and instructed the computer
to play it. After turning up the volume until it almost drowned out his
very thoughts he lay down on his bed with both hands under his head. He
could feel the strong base of the song on every beat as he listened to
the strange blending of sounds. He could almost hear Takara complaining
about his preference in music. He listened to hip-hop/rap, alternative,
some dance and techno and some jazz. Most of the music he had was from
Murphy's collection. Murphy collected music where as Thomas collected anything
that you could read or watch. He had taken a particular fancy towards the
older music selections from earth, especially those from the twentieth
and early twenty-first century. The song playing at the moment was
Reaching over to the nightstand he picked up the PADD he was currently reading. It was something Murphy had given him on warp theory. He was almost finished it and then he had to read the one about quantum mechanics. The knock on his door was unexpected he called for the person to enter. Takara walked in with a PADD in her hand. She tossed it to him on the bed and walked out without a word.
Things had definitely gotten worse. He and Takara barely talked, since she had entered a relationship with Douglas. Thomas cringed. Why Douglas of all people? Why not Murphy, even Mec was a better choice. He had tried to warn her but it she had only gotten angry at him and they haven't really talked since and the argument was three and a half months a ago. Douglas wasn't a good person for her, or anybody to be involved with. He was violent, temperamental, stubborn, domineering and more. He had told her all of this and she had ignored his warnings, or maybe he wasn't telling her anything she didn't already know. He saw bruises on her arms but when he asked about what happened she only became angry. She went through considerable lengths to avoid him now and he wouldn't admit it but he missed her company, her guidance and most of all her friendship.
A few weeks later they had parked the ship in a local yard while they spent some down time in the city. The situation on board had worsened with each day and they were all eager to get away from each other. Thomas disappeared into the less reputable area of the city. He felt more accepted here than in the nicer area of the city where decent people were; he didn't belong with them, not after all the things he had done.
He got into a bar and conned people out of their money. He didn't need their money but he needed something to keep him occupied and if they were obtuse enough to have someone con them out of their money, it may as well be him. The barmaid had seen him come in and knew that he was under the legal drinking age for the city but hadn't kicked him out; he didn't appear to have anywhere else to go.
Thomas was thoroughly enjoying himself. Despite people loosing their money to him on one of the games in there, they found themselves charmed by the teenager. With his charming smile and personality it was hard not to like him. Douglas however didn't have that particular problem. At the slightest aggravation he would become angry at Thomas. He left the bar in the wee hours of the morning and went back to the ship.
He walked out of the transporter room and started the walk to his room. A door slid open and Takara walked out of the room. She smoothed out the wrinkles in her shirt as she walked down the hallway. So preoccupied with making herself looking presentable again she nearly bumped into the taller figure in front of her. She looked up into Thomas' eyes and looked quickly away. He opened his mouth to say something but words failed him. She walked past him and he kept his eyes glued to the floor. After a moment of silent anger he continued walking. He passed the door which Takara had just exited and noted that it was also Douglas' quarters. He face creased with disgust as he came to the awareness they had just consummated their relationship, again. He glared at the door to Douglas' quarters and walked past.
The next day in the holodeck Thomas had just completed a training program while Douglas did the monitoring. Today he started on a higher training level, the same one the others used when they needed to practice. They had considered it too difficult and too dangerous for someone as young as Thomas but he was fifteen and Douglas was never really interested in Thomas' welfare so if he had been injured during the program he wouldn't have cared. Thomas walked over to the wall console that Douglas was at.
"How did I do?" Thomas asked knowing Douglas was looking at his score. Before he could see what his score was Douglas turned it off. Thomas stared at the now black screen before saying: "Are you going to tell me what my score is then?" Douglas looked at him with the same resentment that he always did before he walked out of the holodeck. //I either did really well or really badly// Thomas thought to himself.
Meanwhile Douglas walked into the `lounge'. There wasn't much to it, a table a few chairs, a replicator and a window. Vaiyer was already inside having a meal. He looked up when he heard the door open and then went back to eating. Douglas sat down in the seat across from him. "How did it go?" Vaiyer asked before taking another bite.
"Well....too well." Douglas stated.
"Two hundred eighty-three,"
"Better than yours." Vaiyer said casually. Douglas slammed his fist into the table.
"Better than everybody's!"
It was 1030 and there was a meeting being held on the bridge. Thomas sat at his usual post at the helm and yawned. //Why did they have to have this meeting when I want to sleep?// he thought to himself. A seat away Muphy noticed Thomas' fatigue. //What is it with teenagers and sleeping late?// he thought.
"We found our weasel," Vaiyer said, even though he wasn't completely certain what a weasel was. `Weasel' was what the rest of the crew was calling one of their clients that had cheated them. He had taken the goods and had only provided half of the agreed upon payment. By the time they noticed they were missing some of the payment `Weasel' had left the system and taken a trip to the nearby nebula where they lost his ion trail.
"I didn't know we were looking for him." Murphy said and Vaiyer ignored him.
"A man going by the same alias as the man that cheated us has been around here lately." Vaiyer said.
"Who's your contact?" Thomas asked.
"That's not your concern." Douglas said.
"How can you be sure it's the same person?" Thomas asked a second question.
"We aren't, that's why were going to stake out a few of his known hang outs and see what turns up," Douglas explained angrily. Thomas just shrugged. "Takara and Vaiyer you'll be one team, Murphy and Mec, which leave myself and the boy." `the boy' glared at him. Douglas proceeded to tell each group where they would be scouting.
Several minutes later Thomas and Douglas entered another bar looking for weasel. This was the third bar they were visiting. They now had a vague description of what weasel looked like thanks to the barkeepers from the previous establishments. Thomas and Douglas sat down at a table in the corner and scanned the crowd with their eyes. There were two men the matched the description and they had to decide which one was Weasel. They never actually saw what their client looked like when they gave him the cargo so they had to rely solely on the description and their intuition.
"Him," Douglas pointed to the man with the bodyguards who was buying drinks for his comrades. Thomas shook his head he didn't agree.
"Him," Thomas pointed to the other man who fit the description of weasel. The other man was sitting in a dark corner sipping a drink alone. Douglas gave the boy a look.
"Weasel has money to spend. He's rich-" Douglas started but was interrupted.
"And how rich do you think he'd be if he spent his money on bodyguards and buying everybody their drinks?" Thomas challenged. Douglas took another look at the two men who resembled weasel. "He probably has a lot of enemies if he cheats all his partners like he did us, thus why he's alone. Who could he possibly trust? There's probably a bounty on his head."
"Why not the other guy?" Douglas was wondering what Thomas saw that he didn't.
"That guy," he gestured to the man who was trying to be the center of attention "Has nothing to loose. He probably came across some quick money and is flaunting it while he still has it. In a few days he'll be on the streets again looking for a job. No matter how much money you have, if you lived like this every day you'd be sick of it or you'd run out of money so if Weasel has a lot of money then he wouldn't be doing this."
"You sure?" Douglas asked.
"I'd bet your life on it." Thomas smiled smugly. Douglas only glared at him and quietly commed the others to wait outside the tavern for their target to leave. They didn't have to wait long. Ten minutes later the man they believed was Weasel left the bar. Douglas was going to comm. the others to tell them that he was leaving the bar but Thomas stopped him. "We should trail him. He'll lead us back to wherever he has his ship and our payment. We can go there and get it ourselves." Thomas said. Douglas nodded after a moment and told the others what they were going to do.
He tapped the code into the side door of the hangar where his ship was docked. He looked over his shoulder a few times before entering. He pushed the door closed and began walking towards his ship. After a few steps he noticed he never heard the sound of the door mechanism closing, which meant that the door hadn't closed. He turned around to go close the door but the barrel of a gun was poised only a few centimetres from his forehead and he stayed perfectly still. His eyes darted around looking at the six intruders. He didn't recognize them but guessed they were some of the many people he had cheated.
"We finally meet face to face," said the man holding the weapon at his head.
"Name your price," the Weasel ordered.
"Oh? Our price?" the man lowered the gun "Well when you put it like that," the man said with false charm. "Vaiyer, Mec, inform him of the price of deception." Douglas ordered his crewmen and they advanced on the smaller man who made a feeble attempt to escape. They punched and kicked him until he couldn't stand without someone holding him up. Douglas snapped his fingers and they stopped attacking him. Weasel lay on the ground wheezing and coughing up green blood.
Thomas sighed in relief when they stopped hurting the man. He had been expecting them to do this to Weasel but it didn't make it any easier to watch. Douglas approached the bloodied figure and crouched next to him. "Nice place you have here," he cast a look around the hangar noting the ship and several other crates and cases against the walls. "You should know that we'll be acquiring all of your assets when you're gone," he said looking down at the man with an evil glint in his eye.
Thomas noticed the malicious smile on Douglas' face and knew what he was about to do. He looked to the others to see if they also understood, they did but none of them seemed phased a by it. Douglas pulled out the gun again and stood. "No," Thomas said quietly to himself. They can't kill him! "No, don't do it," Thomas said as calmly as he could.
"Don't tell me what to do boy!" Douglas snarled.
"We...we could use him, his connections-" Thomas tried desperately to think of an acceptable reason to keep Weasel alive, `killing is wrong' wouldn't change Douglas' mind. "He probably has other hangars with more-"
"We can get that from his computer. He has nothing that we can't get ourselves," Douglas aimed the gun.
"Wait-" before he could say more, the weapon fired. The sound of the shot echoed in the open area. Douglas lowered the weapon; the smile was still on his face. Thomas was frozen in shock for a few seconds. Rushing forward he knelt next to Weasel to check his pulse. Maybe he had survived, maybe he could still save him, but there was no pulse. The small circular hole in the forehead the trickled a small amount of green blood was the only visible evidence of the fatal wound. Slowly, Thomas stood and after taking a few deep breaths he turned to Douglas who was amused by the anguish he saw on the young person's face.
"Mec get the ship here we have a lot of cargo to load," Douglas said without breaking eye contact with Thomas. "The rest of you start taking an inventory." The retreating foot steps informed him that they others were following his orders but Thomas just stood in front of him with fury burning in his eyes. Douglas began to walk past him but stopped when they were shoulder to shoulder and turned his head to look at the boy next to him. "Get used to it. You'll have to," Douglas enlightened him.
"I don't want to be anything like you." Was the quiet but firm response.
"Too late," and he walked away. Thomas stood there for several seconds, only turning when he heard the footsteps coming towards him. Takara approached him. He avoided her gaze and looked at the floor. She brought her hand to his chin and raised his head so that he was looking in her eyes. Distressed blue eyes looked into dark eyes that held more compassion now than Thomas had seen in her in years. She pulled him into hug and held him like the mother she had been to him all those years ago.
With her arms wrapped around him, Takara made a decision. She wanted to leave this place and when she did, Thomas would come with her. She had to talk to Douglas, he would not be pleased but she had to let him know about the new life that was inside her.
Thomas replaced the cover to the crate he had just looked through and noted its contents in the PADD he carried with him. He turned to open the next crate and out of the corner of his eye he saw Douglas leaning against a stack of crates and he hoped to God the stack would fall and crush him, just wipe that arrogant smile off the older man's face. Douglas walked over to Thomas who went back to work and tried to ignore the other man's presence.
"I came to commend you," Douglas started but didn't continue.
"For what?" Thomas asked.
"For a job well done," Thomas turned to Douglas wondering what he meant by that. "After all without you we never would have found Weasel. If it weren't for you he'd probably still be alive.
"I didn't pull the trigger." Thomas said angrily. He walked the short distance to Douglas until they stood toe-to-toe, eyes almost level with each other. Thomas was going through his growth spurt and was now nearly as tall as Douglas.
"I should have let you kill him. It would have toughened you up." Douglas leaned forwarded and whispered: "Takara prefers men to little boys, I should know," With that comment Thomas felt the last of his control slipping away. He swung at Douglas and the two got into a physical fight for the first time. Douglas had intended for this to happen. He had hoped to anger Thomas enough to get him to fight him just so that he could have the pleasure of hurting him. A part of him just wanted to prove that he could overpower the teenager, prove that he was still the better thief and the better fighter; especially after tonight. Thomas had identified the their target while he had gone for the obvious and incorrect choice.
The fight that ensued resulted in blows being taken by both parties but that last part of Douglas' plan was not coming true; Thomas was winning. Thomas soon had Douglas pressed against the cold metal wall and was threatening the adult with the same weapon that he had killed weasel with.
"You won't kill me," Douglas said. Thomas pressed the tip of the gun to the back of his head.
"Do you want to take that chance?" Thomas growled but he knew he couldn't kill Douglas. He heard the approaching footsteps and he wasn't surprised when the phaser was aimed at his head. He lowered the gun and stepped away from the Douglas who turned around and glared at Thomas who just looked at him with an unreadable expression before tossing him his weapon and leaving as Mec and Douglas watched him go. Thomas walked to where Weasel's ship was and nearly walked into Murphy when he rounded the corner. Murphy looked into his eyes as if searching for something. He found that something.
"You don't belong here," he stated simply. At first Thomas was angry; Murphy didn't think that he was tough enough to stay here after seeing his reaction to Weasel being killed and he probably also saw the fight he had with Douglas. It took him a moment to realize that Murphy wasn't insulting him. The look in his eyes was more of hope and pride than disgust at his weakness. The corners of his mouth upturned slightly before he walked off, leaving Thomas to contemplate his words.
Later that night in the ship Douglas, Vaiyer and Mec where in the lounge talking about Thomas. Douglas had finally had enough and said as much. "You are afraid," Mec stated, his analytical Vulcan side coming through.
"I am afraid of nothing," Douglas said "Least of all that child."
"I disagree," this from Vaiyer "What we had predicted has finally happened, though much sooner than I had expected. Thomas has surpassed you and now you don't have the hold on him that you once did. He will not fear you anymore now that he knows he can beat you."
"He didn't beat me!" Douglas yelled.
"If I had not come when I had, he could have killed you. In fact he had sufficient time to do so but it seems that he is not a killer at heart," Mec said.
"Well I am and that boy is a loose canon. I won't have him on my ship." Douglas said.
"What do you intend to do?" Mec inquired. Vaiyer, however, already knew the answer.
"If I have to, I'll kill him." Silence quickly descended onto the room. Just outside the door Thomas continued walking down the hall.
The early hours of the mourning found Thomas wandering the corridors of the ship. Sleep had evaded him that night and he chose to seek solace in the familiar corridors of the ship where he had grown up. His meandering course took him past what Douglas termed his office and he stopped. He had not expected anyone else to be awake but the loud voices he heard told him that he wasn't the only one having trouble sleeping. The door to the office was broken and had been for a long time. It never closed properly so there was a small opening where one could peak through to see what was going on inside the room.
Inside were Douglas and Takara arguing loudly. He listened in on what was being said. He missed the beginning of the conversation so he wasn't sure exactly what they were arguing about but after only a few seconds of listening he understood.
"Get rid of it!" Douglas yelled again.
"I won't!" Takara yelled back. Thomas shifted hoping that he would be able to see more of what was going on. Currently he could only see their shadows on the wall.
"I don't want another child on the ship!"
"Then I'll leave! I won't give up my child!"
"I'll make you!" Douglas screamed at her.
"I'm leaving and Thomas is coming with me." Takara said leaving no room for argument. She had made her decision and there was nothing anybody could do to changer her mind.
"Then you leave me no choice!" Douglas pulled out a phaser from his desk.
Before he knew what was happening Thomas heard a phaser discharge and saw Takara's shadow move both her hand to her pelvic region. Douglas had shot her. "There goes the baby," Douglas' shadow aimed the weapon higher. Thomas scrambled to open the door but before he could input the code he heard the phaser discharge and half a moment later he heard the thud as Takara's corpse hit the floor. Thomas looked through the crack again. Only Douglas' shadow was still in the wall and all that he saw of Takara was her lifeless hand.
Thomas was silent but wide eyes stared at the lifeless hand only a few meters away from him. He wanted to reach out and touch her but he knew that if Douglas saw him, he'd follow up on his death threat. Silently he walked away from the room and took the most direct course to his quarters. Once there he locked himself in. His thoughts were a jumbled mess. Too many emotions all tinged with fear invaded his mind and he couldn't take it. Stumbling over the wall panel he randomly pressed some buttons. Finally, the sound of an electric guitar came over the speakers followed after a few seconds by drums and sound effects. He turned up the music to the maximum setting and somewhere in the back of his mind he recognized the song as `Breathe' by Prodigy.
He staggered to the far corner of the room and sat in the corner with his arms wrapped around his up drawn knees. He hoped the music was enough to drown out his own anguished cry and for the first time in a very long time he felt tears glide down his face. Shivers coursed through his body, as the heat in the room was not enough to take away the shock of what he had just seen. He gasped for breath and tried to slow his rapidly beating heart. Takara was gone. The last time he felt this alone was ten years ago.
The same song repeated twice before Thomas got up and went to his closet. He pulled out all his bags and backpacks. He made a decision. He was leaving, he would move on. Frantically he packed his belongings into the bags. He downloaded all his reading material, music, vids and any useful information he thought he might need onto data chips and packed them as well. He recorded a message to Murphy and programmed it to be delivered to Murphy's database the next time a scan was conducted looking specifically for his lifesigns. He also wrote a short message to the rest of the crew.
He looked through the information that was held on the computer about what they had found in Weasel's ship. Weasel had another shuttle in the ship's shuttle bay and Thomas had found his escape vehicle. He closed the file picked up his things and left. He would sneak past the sensors and past the rest of the crew and get to the shuttle. They had trained him very well. Before he left the ship Thomas went to the weapons locker and armed himself with a few guns, phasers, explosive devices and anything else he may need. He was ready to leave this life behind and find one of his own.
The doors to the hangar were already open since they had been moving a lot of crates in and out so he didn't have to worry about the sound of the doors opening waking anybody. The small craft took off into the star-studded ink black sky. He vowed to himself that he would find his own life he didn't know what he would find would be his old life.
End Part 2: High Tides