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Silent composure was all that could be said of the former assistant chief, as he drew in a deep breath outside the conference chambers where he knew Gideon would be waiting. In truth, he was not aware that Commander K’h’evok had already been there just before him. His focus was elsewhere. He looked towards the Klingon guards outside and gave a nod, joining them as he entered the room and looked around briefly. ‘Typical of Klingons,’ he thought to himself. Sitting at the table in the middle of the room was his adversary, his superior… and he couldn’t help but to smirk at the man’s condition. “Seems they’ve done more justice on you than I anticipated already…” He made it intentional not to call the man by name, or rank… as of this point in time, Magnus felt Gideon deserved neither recognition.
He’d been waiting in the conference room for nearly twenty minutes. When the door opened, he turned slightly to look over his shoulder and his features hardened upon noting who had come to visit. Gideon scowled and pushed to his feet, sending the chair back a meter with the force of his knees hitting the seat. The half-Bajoran was unrestrained and his fists clenched at his sides as he turned to face Magnus Morgensen. “This isn’t justice, this is cruel and unusual. As a man of regulation, you should know better.” It wasn’t venom that dripped from his tone, but loathing. The blond had filled Marielle’s head with lies and perpetuated rumors. He was as much to blame for the woman’s sudden willfulness as the nerds at the conference.
A deep sigh escaped the lips of the Norwegian’s expression, and he pinched his lips together as he walked closer. He was given the choice to come on his own free will, and it took a lot of effort on his part to even consider showing up, yet here he was. He stopped with a click of his heels next to the chair Gideon had been sitting in, and casually lifted it back upright and slid it back towards the table before rounding it and pulling the opposing seat out. “Have a seat, please. I didn’t come here to antagonize you further, or to bash your head in… again. I came here to talk to you before your trial and see if I can see any glimmer of doubt in the evidence I’ve reviewed countless times… I’m trying to prove that there is something being overlooked.”
His brows remained furrowed and his eyes distrustful as he watched the security officer move around the table. There were several moments of silence as he waited to see if Morgensen would sit down, but he felt confident enough with the table between them that he would have enough time to react should the Scandinavian assault him. Gideon moved the chair so that he could drop into it and he leaned back to create as much distance between them as possible. He slowly raised his hands and interlaced his fingers, resting them over his stomach as he stared. “What do you think is being overlooked?”
Magnus settled into the chair opposite and raised his head upwards, closing his eyes in thought and drawing in a deep breath. “It’s inconclusive. The DNA recovered matched yours specifically. Defensive wounds correlated to photographic evidence of the encounter, and with your own injuries. These are all things you’ve already heard a dozen times I’m sure.” He lowered his gaze and drummed his fingers on the table. “Based on what I’ve seen in the reports, you’re guilty beyond the shadow of any doubt, but one thing still troubles me… If what happened in the Apollo Lounge between the two of us is anything to go by, you don’t have the strength to kill someone with your bare hands…” Magnus couldn’t help but to smirk at the comment, though in any other situation he would’ve laughed out loud. “The amount of trauma delivered was quite severe, but there was no evidence of a weapon used. I can’t help but to consider the possibility that you, in your drunken stupor, could have been set up… but to falsify that amount of evidence would take someone with a far more superior knowledge of both yours and Marielle’s anatomy… it just doesn’t seem realistically possible.”
The half-Bajoran glared and clenched his jaw. His initial reaction was to immediately claim that Morgensen was wrong, that he did have enough strength to beat a sliver of a woman like Marielle to death. Yet in the same thought, feigning such weakness could be enough to show doubt in the evidence. Gideon growled deep in his chest and shook his head slightly. He made no mention of then Lieutenant and now Commander Trent Underwood, the man that he’d severely injured while in a drunken stupor when he was stationed on the USS Prevailer. The officer lived with a droop on one side of his face because of the injury the security officer had caused. His shoulders tensed and he shifted slightly in the chair. “There’s no one that fits that characterization. Gastropod might have access to it, and enough of a vendetta to set it up.” His tone was sullen in that he didn’t want to admit - whether falsely or not - that he was weak.
“Commander…” His voice broke slightly, though out of anger, malice, or reverence, it was unclear. “I took the time to follow up on your entire Starfleet service record. I know you’ve had issues with drinking before I ever came on-board the Aldrin. I know you’ve had run-ins with people way before me, drunk or otherwise. It is unfortunate that you had a fancy for simple pleasures that have put you into the predicament you’re in. Had it been me sitting where you are now… I doubt you would’ve even made the effort to send a post-card to me.” Magnus shifted in his chair, and leaned back as he pulled two cigars from his uniform jacket, placing one to his lips and offering the other to Gideon. “If this is to be the last time we ever speak, Gideon… I do not want to have a bad ending to our brief camaraderie.”
He hesitated but slowly leaned forward and reached with one hand to take the offered cigar. The security chief remained suspended there, the rolled tobacco held precariously between his fingers and his body leaned slightly over the table. Muddled cobalt moved quickly from the cigar to the man who sat across from him. His brows furrowed and his arm eventually dropped to rest on the table. “Why are you giving up on me?” he asked quietly. The tone of his voice was discoloured by hurt but subtly accusatory. “Why is everyone giving up on me? Why is no one standing up with firm conviction and shouting to the heavens, ‘This is a good man! He did not do this!’?” Gideon shook his head and dipped his chin as he fell back into the chair. “El would have believed me. She’d be by my side.” His gaze shifted to the cigar and it was lifted to his lips.
Morgensen sighed softly, drawing a match to first light Gideon’s cigar for him, then his own. “Frankly, the evidence against you is so overwhelming, in addition to the loss of life… I don’t think anyone on the ship has the willpower left to attempt anything. I know the Captain hasn’t slept well in days…” A deep inhale of smoke, followed by a soft exhale into the air, and Magnus lowered his head once more. “I don’t know what we can do for you, other than argue you serve life in Federation prison… but, at least you’d still be alive.” In honesty, and it was quite apparent by the strong grip of the cigar in his hand and the constant drumming of his fingers on the table, there was nothing Magnus wanted more than to beat the life out of Gideon as the evidence claims he did to Marielle, but it was not the noble thing to do… not even Vikings mistreated their captives like the Klingons do. “We can’t find any evidence that possibly suggests that you were not the attacker. All we can hope to do now is lighten your sentence with the plea of temporary loss of mental stability. Afterall… as I recall testimony was you two had a fight, and something about her calling off the marriage… Emotional instability, extreme alcohol content in your blood, and even perhaps overbearing arousal could be a defense that might even move from murder to manslaughter… You’d serve 40 years, maximum, in Federation prison by that sentence…”
Gideon tested the cigar, inhaling lightly to discover the sensation. Smoke filled his throat and lungs. He coughed and pulled the rolled tobacco from his lips, sitting up straight to help pull clean air into his chest. The half-Bajoran winced and shook his head. Not wanting to appear as never having smoked a cigar before or weak, he murmured about the flavor being odd to his palate and replaced the cigar to take another drag. Another deeper cough was contained by his firmly pressed lips and he continued to shake his head. ‘Fottimi. Come fanno le persone a sopportare questa merda?’ His gaze shifted briefly to the man across the table and his body froze when he finally heard the words Morgensen had spoken. “She called off the marriage?” He furrowed his brows with his failure to understand.
A gentle nod was the only response Magnus gave to the question. “Apparently that was the final straw, so to speak. The engagement ring you gave her wasn’t on her hand when she was found at the scene. I highly believe your only defense is the combination of heavy drinking and emotional distress…” A shake of his head, and he tapped the cigar against the table to knock off the ash building up, puffing it a couple more times to keep it alive. “Do you have any questions for me, sir?” The last word came out with a tone of remorse, but no sarcasm or harm came with it. It was… sincere.
A look that bordered between bewilderment and curiosity settled into his features. The security chief continued to stare at the Scandinavian as he tried to understand what the man was trying to tell him. The reality of his situation was starting to become heavier yet all he could think of was that no matter what happened, he’d never have another drop of liquor or know the warmth of a woman. If they didn’t manage to get his sentence transferred to a Federation penal colony, it meant Rura Penthe or death. Gideon lowered the cigar and tamped the end on the surface of the table before offering it back to Morgensen. “Smoke it for El,” he requested quietly, his voice thick with sorrow. “I didn’t do this, she was the only one who would have believed me. I need her.”
A soft sigh, shaky at best, left Magnus, and he raised his face to gaze at Gideon sternly, though it was obvious a tear had formed within his eyes, and a single drop ran down his face. His hand went from drumming the table to digging his nails into the surface, painfully so, as evident by the whiteness of his fingertips. Silently, he shook his head and raised his hand. “You need that more than I do, Gideon… I have already made plans to mourn in my own way, the best that I can… Marielle is already cremated, but… I intend to perform a funeral pyre with a holographic representation of her body in the holodeck once this is over. Keep the cigar…” His hand reached down once more to retrieve the box of matches. Three remained inside it, and he slid them across the table to him and stood, beginning to walk slowly towards the door.
Gideon dropped the cigar onto the table and pushed once again to his feet. As quickly as he had been ready to drown in his sorrow, the red swirl of rage pushed into his consciousness. The half-Bajoran glared after Morgensen and stalked after the security officer. “Where the hell do you get off having any sort of holographic representation of my fiancee?!” He gripped the Scandinavian by his bicep and pulled harshly to force the man around and face him. There was no concept of having to look up at the man, it was only burning fury that drove him in that moment. “She didn’t know you! She wasn’t your friend!” A flash of understanding briefly brightened his muddy cobalt hues. “That whore! You too!?” His body twisted as his fist was aimed for Magnus’ jaw.
A moment of frustration crossed his face, and he had no time to react to the fist that impacted his jaw, which spun his head a bit to the side from the force. Rather than retaliate equally, he raised an arm to intercept the next punch and rolled it downwards to pin Gideon’s forearm, his other hand shoving him over the table and onto the floor behind it. He then simply rolled his jaw a couple times and spat some blood onto the floor, shaking his head softly. “Her medical records are in the ship’s database, you dumbass… I was going to use that to give Ellie a proper funeral for the sake of the crew, not for my own personal benefits… unlike you, I have a sense of honor and a code of morals that I follow as strongly as faith.” He raised his right hand to wipe the blood from his lip, spitting once more. “You get that one for free, Commander…” His free hand had moved downwards to his belt, grabbing the same familiar device he had used on the Dumoe and armed it.
“Come here and I’ll make you pay for the others!” he screamed as he scrambled to his feet. Gideon broke into a run, grabbing the table to help his momentum around the object that stood in his way of the security officer. “You don’t get to do anything with my fiance! She’s mine!” He rushed toward Morgensen. Again, his fist lifted with his fury and he swung. The blond evaded his punch and the Betazoid mix felt hands grip the jumpsuit he wore before his body flew from being expertly thrown. An enraged shout left his lips as he hit the wall, which was immediately followed by deafening bangs and bright flashes. He recoiled away and slumped to the floor, curled upon himself as he squeezed his eyes closed and covered his ears with his hands. Italian curses streamed from his lips, his voice raised without the awareness of the volume.
The door to the cell flew open and one of the Klingon guards rushed in with his painstick ready. He glanced down at the prisoner on the floor in a near fetal ball and then turned dark brown eyes toward Morgensen. “Your time is over.”
Morgensen gave a nod to the Klingon guard, and turned towards the door with only a single sentence uttered in Klingon. “HIHIv ghaH. pong nIH jIvang.” (“He attacked me. I acted by right.”) Sighing softly, he spat blood onto the floor again, pointing to the small disc-like grenade attached to his belt. “Sonic grenade… my own design. I can give you the schematic if you’d like.” Before he could receive an answer, he chuckled to himself and left the room, puffing the cigar he hadn’t even dropped.
The Klingon snarled but nodded his head, whether in approval or acknowledgement, the blond would never know. He turned and leaned over Gideon, picking the man up easily and all but dragging him out of the conference room.