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Brimstone: Rura Penthe

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
[Stardate ]

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( Special thanks to Marielle Deniaud for her assistance in writing this series. )

The shuttle to Rura Penthe had taken a full day to travel to the cold planet.  He was the only prisoner being transported to the prison and the trip had been lonely - a perfect reminder of what his life was to be like from now on.  The guards spoke easily amongst themselves while the half-Bajoran curled into himself. The shuttle landed on the surface and powered down. The guards put on heavy fur-patched coats for warmth and draped a heavy cloak over the cuffed prisoner.  The two guards lifted the half-Bajoran between them and guided him into the snow.

The three visitors stopped at a seemingly empty area and stood in the blistering wind.  There was a rosy tint to the atmosphere that shadowed the lifeless horizon. There were no hints of colour or of vibrant life of which to speak - simply gritty snow of blinding white.  The days seemed to blend into night, an odd mixture of light and dark in the neverending void. The bitterness of the environment bit hard at the skin. There was no comfort, no warmth - just bitter air, howling winds, and sharp icy snow.  It would be hauntingly beautiful if not for the reputation. What awaited under the unforgiving and cruel surface was a life of misery and desolation.

Gideon waited in silence as he watched the ground in front of the group.  He couldn't contain the shudder that moved through him when the trap door pushed open from the surface.  His features fell as he saw a guard step out of the maw. He pulled at the cuffs that secured his hands behind his back and he started shaking his head.  “Non appartengo qui. Sono innocente, non l'ho uccisa, (I don't belong here. I'm innocent, I didn't kill her.)” he whined as the guard stepped forward and yanked him toward the entrance.  The half-Bajoran couldn't fight, he had nowhere to go.

Fleet Captain Naal stood with him at the shuttle pad.  She gripped his upper arm and waited to speak until he lifted his chin to meet her gaze.  “Survive. We will continue to argue that your sentence be transferred to a Federation facility.”  While she believed him guilty, it was still her duty to keep the man alive. She could at least see to it that his conditions were humane.

Gideon stared blankly at the Trill woman.  “Qual e il punto? What's the point?” he had rasped quietly in response.  Her disappointment flooded his empathic senses but he could not react to it.  Starfleet had stripped him of his commission, Marielle was dead, and he was being sent to Rura Penthe to be forgotten about.  To die. He almost wished the captain hadn’t spoken up. It would have been a mercy to have the bat’leth that day in the courtroom as opposed to being exiled to the prison planet.

His head swam as the lift started its descent into the underground prison.  The memory of Naal’s disappointment brought a wince to his features but his desolation remained.  He remembered the faces at the trial. He’d been abandoned by his friends and colleagues. Anger had turned to denial and despair.  Without Marielle to support him, Gideon struggled to find a reason to go on. He had nothing left to live for. His eyes shifted to the guard as he realized that the man was talking to him.

“-are in the common hall at oh-five hundred and eighteen hundred hours.  A shuttle to the site leaves at oh six hundred and if you're not on it, there's Hell to pay.”  The guard took a short breath and continued his instructional speech. “Tools are provided-”

Gideon dropped his gaze to the metal grate floor of the lift and he saw that there was still a way to go to get to the bottom.  He choked on the emotion that welled in his throat and his hands tightened around the railing behind his back. “Questo non è giusto.  Non è giusto! Non l'ho uccisa! Questo- (This isn't right. It's not fair! I didn't kill her! This-)”

The Klingon guard backhanded the prisoner across the face and scowled down at the Bajoran mix.  “You would do well to listen to me if you want to survive here.” He roughly grabbed Gideon's jaw in his hand and forced the cobalt to focus on his hard brown irises.  “And speak in the common tongue or don't speak at all. You're likely to have it ripped out if people don't understand you.” He pushed the man back against the wall of the lift.

Gideon panted softly as he gripped the handrail once again.  He felt heat radiating from his cheek where the guard had struck him.  His eyes were focused on the floor as his emotion fluctuated between deep sorrow and boiling rage.  The roller coaster had his body shaking. “Qual e il punto? (What's the point?)” he asked again.

The guard grunted softly and was silent a moment as he presumably attempted to remember where he’d been in his speech.

The half-Bajoran closed his eyes and bent forward at the waist when anguish won over his emotion.  After all the highs and lows with Marielle, she was gone. He had finally gotten his life together.  After the Prevailer and regaining his reputation.  After Malahakir and recovering from that trauma.  It was all gone. He was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor.  He shook his head with the disbelief that this was really happening.  Gideon panted to keep himself from screaming in his frustration. He looked up when the lift finally stopped.

The Klingon gripped him by the arm and pulled Gideon out of the lift.  The door was closed and locked behind him before the guard moved to guide the half-Bajoran further into the underground prison.

His eyes lifted to take in his surroundings as they walked.  Rura Penthe was more like an industrialized town than a prison compound.  Large work lights illuminated the cavernous space. It was relatively quiet in that moment and Gideon surmised that the prisoners were working the mine.  He felt his knees threaten to buckle as he was overwhelmed with grief and despair. “Non posso farlo senza di lei! Perché dovrei preoccuparmi?! (I can't do this without her!  Why should I bother?!)”

“What did I tell you about that tongue?!” the guard roared as he shoved Gideon forward.  His movements were quick as he reached for a catch pole on his belt. The device was activated to open and he secured the metal band around the half-Bajoran’s neck.  He twisted the pole to force the prisoner to the ground.

Gideon cried out in surprise and pain.  He'd turned his head to prevent eating the black rock that formed the ground but he fell heavily otherwise with his hands secured behind his back.  His eyes squeezed shut against the blinding flash in his vision and then he forced them open to see if he could ascertain what was happening. He felt a heavy knee into the small of his back and yelped at the intense pressure.  The restraints were removed from his wrists and he quickly adjusted his arms so that he could push himself to his feet. He moaned quietly at the tingling in his shoulders and waited for the collar to be released from around his neck.

It was that moment that he noticed the gathered feet and legs.  They were covered in fur and all facing him. His eyes lifted to look over the hardened criminals that had gathered to watch.  The subtle rage that marred all of them was easy to sense. Injuries were apparent that he guessed kept them from working the mine.  Fear and despair moved through him, but Gideon kept the emotion from reaching his features. A small voice reminded him that he had to be strong and not show his distress.  A tug at his neck had him pushing to his feet. The band was removed and the guard simply walked away.

The Bajoran mix turned his gaze toward the four prisoners that had come to watch and it was easy to feel the disappointment from them.  ‘They probably expect more from new arrivals.  I’m not one of them!’  Once they’d turned and wandered away, his brows furrowed and he looked around again.

Buildings clung to the wall of the cavern.  They were made of a dark metal which allowed them to all but blend into the background.  Five two story structures housed the barracks. A short hovel was the large community bath house and the tallest building was the common hall.  Upon investigation, it revealed the mess hall on the first floor, an infirmary on the second floor, a gymnasium on the third floor, and the fourth floor was off limits.  

Gideon was able to go through the food line before the other prisoners returned from the mine.  He sat at a table near the door and observed as he ate. There were few Klingons in the population.  Jem’Hadar and Cardassian soldiers seemed to make up the majority of the prisoners. There were humans and human-like races present, with several Breen, and one Ferengi.  He received curious stares but did not engage any of them. There were obviously several cliques that sat together and talked quietly amongst themselves. He noticed that some stared more than others and he subconsciously made note of the groups to avoid them.  Instinct to survive kicked in automatically - despite his lack of desire to do so. His body was tense in preparation for the confrontation that never came.

He lingered in the dining hall so that when he finally ventured to the barracks, he would be able to find a bed that hadn’t yet been claimed.  The half-Bajoran found a second story top bunk over a silent Trill man. They shared a millisecond of eye contact and came to an agreement in that time.  He climbed onto the bunk and pressed his back against the wall. He didn’t sleep. The hard facade fell and his thoughts swarmed him. ‘I didn’t kill her.  This is so wrong, so unfair.  I don’t belong here. Why is this happening?’  Gideon swallowed his whine and his features pinched with his emotion.  ‘Gods El, why did you leave me?  What do I do without you?’

His thoughts drifted to the countless times that the diminutive woman had been there for him.  Looking back, he could see that she was really doing so much for him - to boost his self-esteem, his confidence.  Regret overwhelmed him. Remorse turned his blood cold. His body curled and he buried his face into the thin pillow to silence his cries.  He shook with his emotion and his fingers dug into his skull. It was too real and definitely happening.

   
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