Deck 07 – USS Charon
Hours seemed like days if not weeks to Aev Keirianh as he slowly wandered the deck without a purpose or destination enveloped in deep, personal thought. For the last eight hours he had continued to assist with the wounded and injured filling in where needed or requested and lending his robust first aid skills to a people and crew vastly different from the world of his birth. Those around him would be adversaries under different circumstances and until recently had been just that. The fickle winds of fate had blown the mercenary upon jagged rocks stranding him in a world of enemies turned wary allies. He was at their mercy for the waters beyond the walls of the USS Charon were far too dark and turbulent for him to leave.
Whether in the Charon’s brig or merely trapped within its hull, this ship had become his prison. His life for the foreseeable future was over as there were those in the galaxy who would stop at nothing to get to him and end his life. It was an ironic that he would find refuge within the den of his enemies only to be trapped unable to leave with sinister agents on the hunt for his blood. Part of him wanted to face the inevitable, to confront his enemies, and win or lose reach a final conclusion. He could so easily slip away from this ship to the Vulcan surface and from there disappear into the ether and yet in doing so he would be forced to constantly watch his back until he drew his last breath either from old age, disease, or a knife through his torso.
Living on the run, life as a killer for hire, with his soul up for sale to the highest bidder was a path he could no longer walk. The Charon, his prison, was his punishment for a life he had allowed to be controlled by others for their own selfish goals. His heart had gone cold long ago with each life he had taken. Killing had become so routine he scarcely remembered the faces, names, or places of those he had taken. It was easy to blame his situation and life on others. As an orphan he had been taken as a young boy and raised to serve the state and the military. He learned to be a soldier and learned it so well that even as an orphan without a family, without status, without anything – rose through the ranks of the Romulan military and into the fighting elite.
Those days had been the few that had ever brought him happiness. He hardly remembered what that felt like now as he had purged emotion and had it purged from him completely by the events that followed. Proud, loyal, and one of the best he was eventually transferred into a small group of professionals tasked with executing ‘special’ actions requiring the utmost in precision, skill, and discrete professionalism of the highest caliber.
That brief time had been the highlight of his life as he had reached the top from the dark, depths of nothingness. All of it vanished in an instant like a bright, vibrant, and strong flame crushed out between a pair of fingers. A secret mission in Federation territory went bad resulting in the deaths of two of his close friends. The remaining team members barely escaped capture by Starfleet counter intelligence personnel and had nearly created a disastrous political and diplomatic incident. Inquiries ensued and only then did he learn of the mistakes made by their squad leader and of his heritage. The son of a powerful Romulan senator, their squad leader, at the urging and pressure of his family placed the blame for the failed mission upon his own shoulders. Evidence was falsified as a result of his father’s powerful political connections. Officers were intimidated or bought.
In the end his career and life was destroyed by someone who he had once called a friend, but who had come from a powerful family. He was a somebody. Aev Keirianh was just an orphan. Stripped of rank and condemned to a lifetime sentence of hard labor for crimes he did not commit, Aev found no other way to survive in the hellish conditions of prison than to kill his emotions. Perhaps they were his first true victim. Life in prison was harsh and cruel with every aspect of life manipulated by prison officials to break both the mind, body, and spirit. He had forsaken emotion except for one – hatred. That was his fuel for living, existing, and eventually for revenge.
Time passed and the Romulan guards grew complacent as he was slowly forgotten. Aev did not forget and waited patiently for his chance to escape. Escape he did leaving behind him a trail of bodies staining the prison walls green with their blood. They tried to find him, tried to capture him, but he had had years to plan his moves honing both mind and body to exact his vengeance upon those who had stolen his dreams and his life.
Eventually he had his revenge. The death of the senator’s son and indeed the senator himself was so brutal and efficient his reputation was again restored to the elite, but not as a proud soldier of the Empire. His name became synonymous with an elite group of cold mercenaries, killers, and assassins for hire. His revenge upon the senator and his son which he had dreamed of, plotted for, and yearned for in the end was without any sweetness. The act only left him bitter, cold, alone, and wanted. No peace found him and his soul retreated ever further into the darkness consumed by dark clouds he seemed unable to escape.
A reputation for being ruthless, efficient, quiet, and discrete dominated his days as he fell back upon the skills he had worked a lifetime to master. A soldier for hire who only took the most dangerous and technical jobs he attempted to rebuild his life at the expense of others. Commanding huge sums of money for his unique talents he became known for never failing an assignment. For a time he found refuge in the immense wealth he accumulated, but eventually its luster faded. No amount of money could bring him the peace he desperately searched for. Only during his missions could he temporarily escape the daily pain, anguish, betrayal, and guilt that fought to consume him.
His last mission he had failed. Failing the mission for this particular, final client was an instant death sentence. Perhaps he wanted to fail all along to put an end to the running, the pain, and the trail of bodies that fell in his silent wake.
And now he found himself here – aboard a Federation starship and in Vulcan space. He had no one to turn to, no place to run, no allies to rescue him. He was alone.
Passing dozens of crewmen in the Charon’s halls he was still alone. They might as well be lightyears away. Humans and many others watched him with wary eyes especially after recent events with Romulan soldiers. They were deeply suspicious even if they accepted his help. He could see it within their eyes even if they never spoke of it. The only one aboard who lacked such reservations was the odd pilot, Lt. Athalla in which fate and circumstance had conspired together to create an unusual bond.
Aev viewed their odd relationship simply as respect for a fellow soldier. He had forgotten the definition of friendship long ago. He was unwilling to expose himself to more pain a second time. He called no one a friend and could display no feelings. His emotions died decades ago a victim of Romulan prison and utter betrayal of a close and trusted friend – and yet he had not pushed Leon Athalla away.
Security would come looking for him soon. It was inevitable. As the Charon slowly returned to normalcy so too would its various departments. He would eventually be sought, located, and returned to the ship’s brig. It was likely he would be handed over to Federation officials here on Vulcan, branded a criminal, and be sent again to prison. Worse he could be extradited back to his own people where they would ensure he understood the definition of pain and suffering before they ended his life. Even if he didn’t end up in their hands he would not be safe. While he never asked for information about his clients keeping transactions discrete and anonymous, he had caught a glimpse of who had hired him. The reputation of NeoDyne and its agents had reached his ears. Their agents were relentless as was the company itself. Its agents would never stop looking for him until they had absolute proof of his death.
The Charon had become his last refuge against a universe intent on seeing him broken and destroyed. His fate was entirely in the hands of strangers who knew nothing of his past and the immense burden and pain he carried. It would be impossible to explain such things now. Recent events would almost certainly taint their opinions. Romulans had tried to destroy Vulcan. He had tried to kill the ship’s ambassador and its captain. He would never be trusted or accepted here.
Lt. Athalla would no doubt offer a strong defense, but his voice would be ignored just as his other friends had been ignored decades before at his trial. Once again he faced the abyss. However this time he had neither the drive nor the willpower to stand against it. He prayed it would simply and finally consume him and put an end to a life that left nothing but death and pain in its wake.
Entering a makeshift trauma area, now mostly empty, Aev located a dark, quiet corner and took a seat leaning against a cool, grey bulkhead. For the first time in perhaps days he allowed himself to drift off into an uneasy, but much needed sleep.
Romulan Mercenary & Sudo-fugitive