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Two days in isolation had been hell. Forced detox had him quivering slightly and he itched his arms against the crawling sensation under his skin. He received three meals but they were not touched. Gideon sat on the floor in the corner of the small room and he curled upon himself. He racked his brain for a memory of the night and all he could remember was the sight of his grandmother’s ring on the table. She had left him. Sleep failed to linger as images of the sapphire kept his mind racing in search of how it had come to be. He didn’t remember but he could hear himself screaming at her for her infidelity, hear her crying and telling him they were done. On the morning of the third day, the door latch clanked open and it swung to reveal one of the guards.
“You get a call,” the gruff voice informed him.
The security chief groaned to himself and pushed to his feet. His body was stiff from having remained in one place for over fifty hours. Gideon moved lethargically after the guard and sat down when he was led into a small room. He looked at the screen in front of him and debated who to contact. His body leaned forward slightly as he typed in his request and started the subspace communique to the Aldrin. He rested his elbows on the desk and held his head in his hands. ‘I couldn’t have,’ he kept telling himself. ‘We argued but I didn’t touch her.’
Yari Nazir was a man of many repulsive traits. Of this, he had no desire to disclaim. Yet, in all his years in Starfleet, he’d prided himself on his unflinching protectiveness of his agents and operatives. His lips were pulled down into a deep frown as he looked up from the report on his desk to stare at the face that appeared on his viewscreen. A flash of anger appeared in his amber eyes as his gaze settled on the face of the half-Bajoran. “Salieri.” There was no hint of the anger in his tone as he fell into a well-practiced calm. It was eerily steady as his rage simmered steadily under the surface. His shoulders tensed as he straightened in his chair.
He frowned, the expression not quite mirroring the commander’s, but close. Hazy cobalt studied the man on the screen and while he couldn’t sense the Angosian’s emotion, he could certainly read the lack of it in his features. “Nazir,” he greeted cautiously. Gideon needed this man as an ally but it felt like he was too late. ‘What does he know that I don’t?’ His brows furrowed with his silent question as his legs bounced under the table with his agitation.
“If you’re contacting me to see if we’re still on our way, we are.” The first officer studied Salieri’s features and the immediate scene. There was some mild satisfaction at seeing the dismal conditions. Though, he had to remind himself that the half-Bajoran was innocent until he was proven guilty. It was easy to forget when the Klingon justice system worked in the opposite order.
“Why wouldn’t you be? I didn’t do this.” Defensiveness crept into his tone and his posture stiffened. He wore no restraints but he kept his hands in his lap to prevent himself from gripping at the console with his frustration. “You can’t believe I did this.” His fingers lightly clawed at his forearms.
“The Lusolan government states otherwise.” Nazir kept his tone even and did not react to the rise in the half-Bajoran’s tone. “Body autopsy, witness accounts. Your medical examination showed defensive wounds - nail marks that match hers.” His gaze dipped to the tablet that was beyond the camera’s view and he continued to read through the report in his hand. “They have no question of your guilt.” He paused and lifted amber irises to stare at the security chief on his screen.
Shock moved through him again. He blinked and quickly shook his head as he leaned forward to argue with the commander. “What do you mean they have no question!? She’s not-” It hadn’t registered to him that his fiancee was dead. Gideon had argued with her and then nail marks were just from their passionate reconciliation, surely. She was playing some sick prank on him. The shaking of his head continued. “No. I did not-”
“I can assure you that Lieutenant Commander Mariëlle Deniaud is very much deceased. DNA analysis came back with her genetic markers. Her body was cremated per their traditions, but five officials signed off to verify her identity.” His voice remained even and monotone. His anger remained carefully buried from view. “They say you were found covered in her blood.”
“Commander, I think I would remember something like that! You’ve got it wrong!” Without his knowledge, his hand had raised and he slammed his fist on the console. Gideon ignored the warning growl from the Klingon guard that stood at the door. He pointed a finger toward Yari, prepared to say something in his defense. The words stumbled on his tongue and he spat a curse in frustration. “She’s not dead!”
There was barely a reaction at the sound. Nazir once again studied the half-Bajoran, as if seeing him for the first time. It was quite some time before he chose to speak. “Your defense team is claiming alcohol related amnesia. Your blood alcohol level was at 0.22,” he informed Salieri flatly and his irritation slipped into his voice. “Your medical report also states that you have been consuming for some time - liver degradation. Accounts from Algerone confirms that you have been in the Apollo Lounge nearly daily. For months. We will argue that you may, in fact, not remember a great number of things.”
Panic had him questioning reality. He reached up and squeezed his cheek to be sure he was awake. Gideon gripped the console to ensure it was real. His gaze moved quickly over the room and he stared at the Klingon guard for a long while. A shudder moved down his spine as a chill surged through him. The security chief blinked and turned his chin so that he could look at the commander. “But,” he whispered with a pause. “I love her. I couldn’t-”
Nazir leaned forward and his eyes narrowed slightly. His voice lowered with dangerous intent. “Let me make myself clear, Salieri. We have been trying to paint a picture of a loving and doting fiancé who loved Deniaud dearly. We are having problems finding anyone to testify to that fact with absolute certainty,” he replied darkly. “Lusolan authorities say they have proof that you have been hurting her for months. Her autopsy reports paint a completely different picture than the one you’re spinning.” He let his words linger between them before he continued. “Starfleet law says you’re innocent until your accusers prove otherwise, but you’re in Klingon space. We’ve got to provide proof you’re innocent, and right now that’s questionable. Politics are in play so you’ll keep your mouth shut to save us further embarrassment. Is that understood?”
“No!” His answer was immediate and filled with his confusion. “I wouldn’t do that to her! I’m innocent! You can’t tell me-” Gideon gasped as he saw the screen blink and become black. The half-Bajoran leaned toward the console and started pushing buttons to reinstate the call. “I didn’t do this!” he shouted with his frustration. “You’re wrong! She’s not dead!” He jumped aside when he felt the large hand on his arm. He bolted from the chair, but was caught when his foot hooked the leg of the chair. His tumble to the ground was followed by a heavy grunt and he yelped when he felt a heavy boot in the middle of his back. The jolt of the painstick caused a wail to rip from his lungs and he immediately surrendered by placing his hands on the back of his head. “I didn’t kill her,” he whispered as a mantra as the Klingon guard cuffed him and dragged him to his feet. His steps were sluggish as he was led from the communications room back to his cell. “I didn’t kill her.”