Anathema III - The Liability of Ones Enemies.By S.L. Koss
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anathema (-nēth"-m) n., pl. anathemas.. 3. One that is cursed or damned.
After five days of torture at the Federation's hands just to get his hands on the one who had killed his Anna; she had stood there and asked him if there were anyone else. Avon still could not believe the circumstances that had brought him to be sitting at his desk in his room, trying to make sense of nonsense. He had repeatedly turned down Cally's offers to treat his wounds.
Everything hurt, but he could not find it in himself to care or even acknowledge the pain. He was left with the realization there was only one person who truly cared about him, who had demonstrated that more than once and he had betrayed her. The first time they had been together, he had nearly called her a whore. He had insisted to Anna there was no one else. Maybe there wasn't, maybe there couldn't be. In the light of it, it was the one thing he could never allow himself to forgive, though he had done other more heinous things including murdering his lover. Alarayna, had given him two children. She had seen and accepted all the horror that lay within him, all things he had never told Anna. The only conclusions he could come to lead inevitably to one direction, one that had certainly occurred to him before. He did not deserve to live. He wondered obscurely if he ever had. He was the curse which spilled inevitably onto everything he touched. One question remained, how?
Cally continually checked on him, tried to get him to talk to her. The others would try half-heartedly, he knew they were ecstatic by his fall from the lofty heights only the Elite could occupy. The Liberator's medical facilities were excellent and he would have to devise something that would be totally irreversible. Having betrayed Alarayna and his children once, he would certainly do it again. There was no other escape while he breathed, he was caught, doomed to be what he had created.
Several days after making a hasty departure from the Terran systems, the Liberator headed for the outer systems at top speed, outrunning the pursuit ships which followed. Cally stood alone in the medical unit, aside from the unconscious form on the exam table. Orac sat humming obliviously on the counter while she ran another scan. As the results did not show any improvement over prior scans, she picked up the nearest object and threw it across the room.
Angry tears flowed down her face as she sat in the chair beside the table, trying without much success to calm herself. "Orac, why is he not responding?" She asked calmly, not really wanting an answer.
/Must I repeat that I am not a doctor, nor am I programmed as a medical assistant. It is highly probable that if his prior medical history had not been erased from the Federation database, it could have given some useful information. But, that is not the case and I cannot conjecture. You have tried all know methods of resuscitation, clearly there is some past condition which is causing his system to react adversely./
Although she tried to look at the situation rationally, futile anger over came her reasoning and she picked up his hand and, though he could not hear, pleaded with him. "Don't give up on me, you bastard!! Damn you, Avon, I'm not going to let you die over something so stupid! For that bitch!"
It had not been stupid to Avon and she knew that. The only glimpse of emotion she had ever seen registered on his emotionless face had been one she would never forget, one of giving into betrayal. Though unsure, she was certain that betrayal had not started with the woman called Anna. Over the last several days, however, it became clear he intended it to be the last. Withdrawal deeper than even his own standard had continued days more than it should have, without him eating, sleeping or certainly talking to anyone, not even to snipe. Cally had tried over the past few days to keep an eye on him, often stopping by his cabin in the night hours. No matter the time of day, she would always find him the same way, laying on his back staring at the ceiling, usually with the lights off. He never once acknowledged her presence at all and though she would sit in the chair beside the bed, he would remain immobile and silent. Her attempts at conversation on even a basic level were ignored. She had begun to worry in earnest when she came in once to find he had switched off all the enviromentals, heating as well as oxygen recycling. She had left the door open thereafter. Something strange wakened her one night and she went up the hallway to find his cabin empty. Knowing that an appeal over the ship's intercom would go unnoticed, she finally found him passed out in the medical unit. Attempts to revive him had become obviously useless and she had no idea how to proceed.
"Well, is he dead, then?" Vila's voice came from the doorway. Cally did not bother to turn around.
"Will he be all right?" Dayna asked more cordially, pushing Vila aside. "You're just upset he found your stash, Vila, so be quiet."
"He could at least have asked, I would have been happy to have a drink with him." Vila pouted from the doorway.
"Whatever he took from the medical supplies." Cally said quietly, rubbing at stubborn tears. "The alcohol has made it impossible for the treatment machines to remove it from his system. Even Orac has no idea why." She looked at Dayna, still unsure of the young girl's loyalties, but sensing a concern at least as great as her own.
Dayna shook her head. "What else can we do if Orac has no further suggestions?"
Cally got up resolutely, making sure the last of the support equipment was in place. "We need a doctor." She said, resolve hardening with the possibility of a last hope.
Dayna took her arm as she started for the door. "Cally, we are on the other side of the galaxy from Felinas. It would take them days to get here, he can't live on support that long."
Cally picked up Orac and handed it to Dayna. "Try and get them on the communicator at least. Orac can pass the signal around the rim stations to avoid the galactic center interference. I need to at least talk to her, Alarayna should at least know what is happening. I'll be out on the flight deck in a minute."
Dayna walked dejectedly down the flight deck stairs, she spoke to Zen in a voice that nearly quivered. Vila, having followed her in, sat at his console. "Zen, see if you can reach the Felinian systems, Orac has the frequencies if you haven't."
"I do hope you realize if he does not want to wake up, he is going to be even more unbearable than he has been." Tarrant said coolly.
"What do you mean, unbearable?" Vila asked mockingly. "I haven't heard a nasty word out of him for days. If you ask me, he's never been more bearable."
"Just let him die?" Cally asked descending the stairs, still entertaining doubts about the pilot.
"What I mean is, he is an adult, if he wants to die, who are we to decide he has to live?" Tarrant answered defensively. "Besides, if that is what he really wants, I'm sure he can think of more imaginative ways, even take the rest of us with him."
"I'll be sure to tell him how concerned you were when he wakes." Dayna said with disgust.
'If he wakes." Tarrant returned.
/Signal from Felinas Prime is being directed to the main screen./ Zen interrupted.
The crew was anxious as they turned to the image on the screen. Fire-red curls askew, the young woman in the image watched the screen with keen eyes that missed nothing. Between the gracefully upcurved eyebrows was a circular tattoo, showing the symbols of her clan, replacing the black stone she wore when in the presence of her mate. Triangular feline ears stood attentively atop her head. She raised her slitted green eyes to the screen. "I take it he is not enjoying his revenge nearly as much as he thought he would, Cally? What has he done?"
"I'm not sure he's taken something in combination with considerable amounts of alcohol." Cally answered. "I'm uploading the medical information to you now.
Alarayna depressed several button and tapped the screens in front of her, annoyed. She turned behind her. "Kai, can you help me with this?" She asked impatiently.
The very image of his father, Kai Avon came into range of the picture. Aside from the triangular ears and the long thick braid that was his tail, Avon's features had been copied perfectly in him. He deposited the curly-haired child he carried on the table in front of his mother, looking expertly at the equipment she was fussing with. Alarayna frowned as the information came through. "Nasty, at least he knows what he's doing."
"Never start a job unless you are sure you can finish it." Kai said sarcastically. "No wonder it's been so quiet. I actually thought I was going to have a decent night's sleep. Between all the nastiness and the girls crying, my head still aches. Let him have what he wants, mother. It's not as though he would thank you for the concern, more likely he'll curse you for getting emotionally involved." He folded his arms across his chest, leaning impatiently against the wall. He broke into a smile as something beyond the room caught his eye. "He she comes." He reached out his arms to enfold the black curl adorned toddler who came unsteadily up to him, giggling with delight as he buried his face in her stomach.
In opposition to the dark, green-eyed child Kai played with, sitting on the table before her mother was her twin. Golden-eyed with pale red curls, she pointed tentatively at the screen in front of her. "Ama?" She said curiously.
"Video, Alli. That's Cally, Dayna, Vila." She said, pointing to the screen in front of her while the child watched avidly. "And that one is Tarrant."
Intelligent golden eyes studied the image carefully. "Where is Da?"
"Ah, sleeping little one." Alarayna answered, tying back her unruly curls.
"They're beautiful. How old are they now? One?" Cally asked.
"Just." Alarayna answered, making some quick calculations on a pad in front of her. "You do have a regenerator, don't you?" She asked.
"Yes we do." Cally responded. "Orac was unable to give precise settings for it. It advised I get him stable first."
The doctor nodded sympathetically. "Unfortunately, it was correct, but it is impossible to stabilize him at present. I will send you the proper settings, you need to start on fixing the advancing systems failure, you will have to start with his liver, it's the most damaged. Restore his electrolyte balance and run dialysis. It's the best I can suggest, it should work. How much Morphine do you carry?"
"Nearly three thousand units. What makes you think he took Morphine? I have not had time to take inventory and Orac could not identify the subsubstance." Cally responded.
"He's resistant, he could easily have taken that much and it would explain the extent of the damage done, he metabolizes it differently." Alarayna answered knowingly. She looked at Kai and shook her head in disbelief. "I did try to warn him, but he would not listen. That woman has been his destruction since the day he met her, only he did not know how much."
"Well, he sure found out." Tarrant said callously. "How did he come to be Morphine resistant? It's a fairly rare condition among the Alpha, even more so among the Elite."
"Morphine addiction was a popularly used means of interrogation." The young doctor answered with distaste.
"Why would interrogators use Morphine?" Vila asked incredulously. "Its a pain killer, isn't it?"
"Yes, and extremely addictive. It's been an outlawed technique for nearly 30 years." Tarrant answered blithely. "The intention was to addict the person and then use the withdrawal and promise of another fix to get what they wanted, it did not leave as many marks as traditional methods."
"It also leaves an unbelievable tolerance for Morphine which completely negates the medicinal use of it." The doctor replied, shaking her head. "The alcohol just makes it a multi-system problem, he knows very well what he's doing and that I'm the only one who can do anything about it."
Kai deposited Rayvon on the desk beside her sister, folding his arms across his chest and growling softly as his mother busily carried out calculations. "He's testing you, mother. He's run the numbers and they don't balance, he's incapable of understanding emotions. Emotions are chaos and as such cannot be accounted for in probability equations. Face it, he's calculated every angle of this." Kai said bitterly, his dark eyes flaring.
"Don't, Kai." Alarayna said pleaded, running a hand through her hair.
Rayvon studied the video screen in front of her intently, reaching out to trace the figures on it.
"Hi, Rayvon, can you say something?" Dayna asked looking at the darker child inquisitively. Alarayna looked up briefly into the child's eyes and smiled. "She recognizes you remotely. She does not speak, she does not hear. It's a common enough happening among our people. Just don't tell him, please he doesn't need to know."
"Isn't there something you can do?" Cally asked, looking at the tiny child, thick black curls obscuring her human ears.
"It's not necessary." The doctor answered, smiling at the little one's curiosity. "She sends perfectly loudly and much clearer than her sister. On occasion, she can hear what her sister hears if she wants. Her brain lacks the ability process sound, the ears work perfectly. It has nothing to do with her human genetics."
Kai reached over to stroke her cheek gently. "At least she's happy, as far as she is concerned, her world is complete. Besides, it is not as though she would have anything to say that he would want to hear. One equation doesn't work as intended and his response it to kill himself rather than handle it or admit numbers just don't work."
A tall, fair haired man in an impressive fur-lined scarlet cloak approached Kai, growling, the Star Commander. "Enough young one. Your mother and sisters have suffered enough from the echoes of the past few weeks. You do not need to add to it."
Kai turned angrily, drawing a knife. "He left us behind to pursue his vendetta for that bitch! Do you know what she did?"
"It hardly matters now, young one." Giareth said warningly. Alarayeth looked from one to the other, ears folded flat to her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. She reached for her mother who did her best to ignore the exchange.
Kai sheathed his knife once more, saying emphatically. "My mother needs to understand that what he cannot ignore, he destroys completely without ever considering it again. He cannot ignore this one, he may try, but emotion cannot be ignored it must be felt, ignoring it will only mean he will go completely insane and he knows it."
Giareth growled loudly, snapping the whip he carried for emphasis. "OUT." Reluctantly and without dropping his stance, Kai left.
Alarayna looked up at the Star Commander helplessly. "It gets worse the older he gets, Commander. He's managed to get Alaryeth crying again, I had hoped she would take a nap finally."
The Star Commander reached out for the little one, whose golden eyes met his briefly, she turned to her mother hesitantly. "Go to the Commander, honey." Alarayna said, picking up Rayvon while Giareth reached for Alarayeth, who did not complain, but laid her head meekly on his shoulder. Rayvon watched from her mother's arms with wide and slightly angry green eyes, growling. Alarayna turned her attention back to the screen, having finished entering information into the computer. "Cally, this is the best I can do, I can't guarantee it will work. If it does, he'll need at least three days' sleep with the other injuries he's sustained, it will take that long for his system to reach normal. Run a high protein IV in the meantime and restrain him if you need to, make sure he stays off his feet. You'll need to treat withdrawal for several weeks, finish the course I suggest whether he likes it or not."
"Thanks Alarayna. I'm sorry we had to bother you with this." Cally answered, surveying the incoming information stoically. "Do you want me to let you know how it turns out?"
Alarayna smiled ironically, brushing one of Rayvon's stray black curls from before her eyes. "I'll know, Cally. Believe me, I wish I wouldn't, but I'll know. Let me know if anything else comes up though, I don't mind being of use. Prime out."
Cally had followed the instructions given her, though it took some time for her to see improvement, she was encouraged. She made sure he was secured enough to the table not to roll off in his sleep. He made little effort to do more than sleep for three days. On the third day, he was noticeably more alert. Cally came in to disconnect him from the intravenous and the monitoring equipment. As she pulled the IV from his arm, he looked at her darkly.
Cally said quietly, avoiding the accusation in his eyes gracefully. "Doctor's orders. You should be fine now. I did not bother to lock the med cabinet, but Zen has orders to notify me if it's opened."
"She had no right to interfere, you should not have called her." He said sharply. He asked no questions of Cally or anyone else, the matter was firmly over and he did not speak of any of it again. While his temperament did not improve, he resumed a more normal routine and seemed determined not to be any more annoying than usual.
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