Chapter 3 - Sins of the Past

Statzia glanced up briefly from the PADD balanced on her knee. It was loud. Okay, so really no more loud that would be expected at this time of evening, but it was louder than she was used to. Everything seemed louder than she was used to. Yes, she’d spent the occasional moment in places of entertainment and beverage consumption, most with dim lights and loud music and unsavory clientele, but those were few and far between. Most of the last two decades had been in the dead of space between non-Federation worlds ferrying cargo between equally-as-unsavory organizations. If the cargo talked, she did her best not to talk with it–even better if it–they–could be stowed safely in stasis until the destination was reached and the passenger-cargo could be offloaded.

It was hard to turn off that switch, though. She sat along the viewports with her back to the windows. The staff exit from the room was accessible enough from this angle, should any threat come from the main entrance–even though it was highly unlikely that a threat would come from aboard ship.

Planetary surfaces were a whole ‘nother issue. Space was much safer. Not much to bother you in the void and vacuum.

She tapped the stylus on the edge of the PADD, still focused more on the room and its occupants than the report in front of her.


Patricia entered having gotten in a little training and shooting range time.  Keiran was having dinner with the family and Chance was working the evening shift so she had a rare quiet evening.  


She grabbed a drink at the bar, a purple concoction called a Sleevian Fizz and took her accustomed seat with her back to the wall and a view of the exit.  She was surprised to see someone else in the same area but then, seeing who it was, thought it made sense.  “Good evening,” she said as she sat.

Statzia tracked the woman as she crossed from the entry as she crossed to the bar, ordered her drink, and made her way to the far side of the room. She, like Statzia, scanned the room as she moved, and sat with her back to the wall. “Evening.” She’d watched the woman on the mission–she read like she had combat experience. She didn’t move quite like Starfleet when they were planetside. “I didn’t take your seat, did I?”


“No, this one is fine.”  She sipped the drink but her eyes were on the room and the people.

Statzia gave a nod and tapped the stylus on the edge of her PADD. Like the other woman, her eyes scanned the room. She let the awkward silence sit for a moment between them, but she could almost hear Emma in the back of her mind reminding her to try to make friends. She took in and let out a breath. “Your drink is very purple.”

Patricia looked down at it and then over to Statzia.  “Yea, I guess it is.  How are you liking the intel job?”


Statzia gave a slight shrug. “Sitting behind a desk takes a little getting used to. Lots of paperwork to fill out, given the discovery of planet-ending warheads scattered on another dozen planets.” Movement by the door drew her attention for a brief moment, and she tapped her stylus absently on the PADD. “I hear this used to be your gig.”


“Indeed it was, until I was promoted, quote unquote.”


It was faint, but a smirk tugged at the corner of her lips. “Yeah, that’s what they told me, too. Quote, a good opportunity for someone with my skill set, end quote.” Statzia rolled her eyes.


“Just make sure that when you have your morning meetings with the Captain that you bring him a large black coffee.”  Patricia noticed a pair exiting the room who looked a little too comfy together.  “The man who just left is going to have some explaining to do.”


“Black coffee. Got it.” Statzia’s attention also tracked the pair leaving the bar. “Why’s that?”


“That’s not his girlfriend.”  She grinned before offering her hand.  “Patricia.”


See? I can make friends. “Anastatzia.” She shook the offered hand. “How long have you been stationed here?”


“About seven years.  But I feel like you already knew that.”  She grinned around her straw.


“Yeah, well, making small talk was part of my Starfleet reintegration plan. 20 years in Intelligence did nothing to improve that skill set.” Statzia once again set to tapping the stylus on the edge of the PADD. “That, and I get the feeling that I’ve rubbed elbows with you before. Dug into your file, but there’s a lot of blank space and missing years.”


“I’m still sort of…off the books.  I technically speaking am not even a Federation citizen but I’m thinking of making the change.  It was just easier when I came in to not be under their laws for my side jobs, at least that’s what they told me.”


Statzia nodded. “Told me the same. Benefit of being born in the void of space.” She let the silence sit for a minute. “I feel like we had some kind of run-in somewhere.” Another pause. “You weren’t always a blonde, were you?”


“I feel like I’ve had every color on the spectrum but for years I was red.  At least since I was eighteen or so until about two years ago.  Where do you think we met?”


Statzia turned her attention from the room long enough for a good look at Patricia.




The dual suns shone bright on the metal landing pads ringing the small trader’s station.  Meerk, the man who ran the station walked around, PADD in hand as he signed off on his latest deals.  The clientele ranged from the dangerous to the downright unlikeable but they all knew Meerk had some of the best and hardest to find items within ten sectors.  


He walked to the women who had been patiently waiting for him.  “Ahh, my dear, how is life treating you?”


Statzia gave a wry smile. “Living the dream as always, Meerk.” Her finger tapped at the edge of the PADD in her own hands. ” I’ve got a list.”


He held out his hand. “You always have a list yet you never have time for a nice quiet dinner.”  He looked it over.  “I have most of this in stock and what I don’t I can probably get within twenty-four hours.”


“Sooner the better. Boss is impatient, and I’m on a tight turnaround.” Statzia paused, giving the man another once-over. “This is about the time where you go into the speech about the thing you have that I didn’t know I needed.”


He grinned, his teeth decayed, but that grin stalled as he looked past her.  “Oh no.”


Statzia’s eyebrow raised, her hand reaching for the phaser on her belt as she turned over her shoulder.


A sleek small black ship was slowly descending.


“I don’t know how they found me….”


As the ship touched down a back hatch slid down and two soldiers in dark gray attire stepped down and parted as a young woman in all black with auburn colored hair stepped between them.  Her cold eyes looked across the station in their direction.


“You need to leave….quickly.”


“Meerk–?” Statzia slipped the weapon from its holster. 


The girl, soldiers in tow, stalked across the landing pad as people scurried out of their way.


Meerk looked to Statzia.  “I may have..forgotten to pay my weapons supplier.  It’s been good knowing you.”  He opened his vest slightly to show her the explosive pack hidden inside.  “Shadow Inc. doesn’t treat freeloaders very nice.  I’m not gonna be no guinea pig in a lab.”


“Shit–” Statzia tapped the surgical implant located behind her ear. “Emma, hell is about to break loose. Power up!”


“But what–”


“Fly now, questions later!” Statzia started towards the landing platform, phaser held down at her side but at the ready.


The Shadow contingent paid her no mind as they closed in on their target.


“Hey…I was just about to signal to you guys.  I have the money for that last shipment.  I’m sorry it got held up, you know how the market can be.”


The girl showed nothing but disgust.  “You can answer to him.”


Meerk held his breath as they closed in, his hand sliding to his vest.  “Someday someone is going to get sick of how you people operate.”


A smirk rose on the right side of the girl’s mouth.  “But it won’t be you.”  Her men moved in but just before they got to him she realized what he was doing.  “He’s got…..”


The explosion vaporized Meerk and her two men, while sending the girl flying backwards, landing on her left side.  She felt her shoulder and collarbone snap on contact but her ears were ringing and she couldn’t focus.  Other traders ran for their ships.


The shockwave sent Statzia tumbling. Something struck her leg, almost detaching the prosthetic from her body. Somewhere beyond the ringing in her ears she could hear Emma’s voice. She rolled onto her side, putting a hand up to the trickle of blood running from her forehead into her eye. “Fuck–fucking Meerk–”


The girl raised her right wrist to her mouth to report what had happened but she couldn’t think clearly enough to put the words in order.  Forcing herself to her feet she stumbled a few steps towards her ship before dropping to her knees.  The one thought she had was that Jessa would never let her live this down.  The thought brought a smile at the weirdest time.


“Prophets–Emma!” Dust from one of the departing ships sent her stumbling again. Statzia reached down to her left knee, her hand grasping a shard of metal lodged in the joint. She pulled, grunting as she was unsuccessful at removing the shrapnel. She shook her head, trying to clear the blood and the dust and the ringing in her ears. A few blinks later and she found herself looking into the gaze of the redhead in black.


“You okay?” Statzia wasn’t sure why she asked the question. Meerk was so scared of this woman that he’d vaporized half the platform, but it was obvious the woman wasn’t okay, given how her left arm was hanging slack. Leaving the shrapnel in her leg and wiping the blood from her face with a dirty sleeve, she stood again.


At the sound of a voice, the girl focused her vision.  “Just a scratch” she yelled back, but to her she was speaking normally.  She tried to stand by pushing up with her left arm but quickly found that was a bad idea so she used the right.  Unsteady on her feet like a newborn fawn she took a few steps and got her balance.  “Idiot thinks he did something great but those two were new…no big loss.  We got plenty.”  She laughed, as the ground around her still smoldered.


Statzia’s hand went to her–no. She’d been holding it when the explosion happened. Fuck, where had it landed? Her head was still ringing and she wiped at the blood on her face again. A tentative step confirmed that the leg had lost some of its range of motion, but it was stable. The kid? She was sounding a little unhinged, but then, given the explosion– “Gods, Emma, yes I’m alive.” She limped a few steps towards the other woman. “Emma, I’m bringing someone with me. Yes, I know. Be nice.”


Statzia took another few steps, trying to survey her surroundings. “I’ve got a holo-doc on my ship. C’mon.” She limped her way towards the landing platform, fully expecting to be followed.


It took a few moments but the girl followed in shuffled steps.  “When my boyfriend hears what that little shit did, he’ll have this whole planet leveled.”


“Yeah, this is what happens when the little shits have access to the big weapons. Consider ourselves fortunate that the whole place wasn’t rigged, or that nothing else big went up with him.” Statzia got overzealous with her pace and her left leg locked. Swearing in Ferengi, she stumbled forward, dragging the damaged leg behind her. 


The girl caught up to her.  “Why didn’t you run away when we arrived?  Everyone knows to run.”


Statzia laughed–oof, that hurt. Let’s not laugh yet. “Kid, I don’t know you. Besides, if I ran every time someone scary showed up, I’d be garbage at what I do.” She stopped, sizing the girl up. “Now, once I make sure I’m not bleeding out internally, I fully intend to locate his storage and see if I can’t salvage my contract. Otherwise, I wind up on someone’s shit list just like Meerk was.” Prophets, she was probably going to get herself killed one way or the other. “And maybe if I keep you from bleeding out, too, you might look the other way when it comes to my cargo.”


“It’s not my call to look the other way, I just follow orders.”  She seemed very self assured, or just good at repeating what she’d been taught.


“Then it must not be you that’s the scary one.” Statzia resumed waking. “Maybe it’s your handler I should be talking to about moving his inventory.” 


That struck a nerve, even with a concussion.   “What’s your name and place of operation?”


Statzia gestured to the Ferengi Na’Far class shuttle sitting on the landing pad. “Rule Thirty-Four is my home base. Just me and the Doc.” She approached the sealed ramp, tapping the com behind her ear. “Emma, it’s me. Open up.”


“Ferengi?”  Her tone was almost a verbal sneer.


“It’s as unnoticeable as they come,” Statzia stated as the ramp lowered. “I’m sure you scanned the surface before setting down. Did you give this shuttle a second look?” 


“Speaking of looks, I don’t like the looks of that.” Emma nodded her head at the metal lodged in the side of Statzia’s left knee. She ran a hand through the pink spikes of hair as she surveyed the young woman. “We’re taking in strays now?”


“Just make sure she doesn’t bleed out on the ride home, okay?” She maneuvered around the hologram, taking care not to knock the shrapnel on the shuttle entrance.


“Home?  Is this a kidnapping?”  Her eyes worked hard to focus on her surroundings looking for a weapon.


“You’re already in my home, kid.” Statzia laughed. Again, a bad idea. “Besides, one of the things Meerk was to have for me was a stasis pod. But since that deal just blew up in our faces, quite literally, I don’t exactly have the space to tuck away an extra passenger.” As if to make her point, she held aside a hammock, ducking past it into the cockpit. She gestured to the main chair. “Sit. Let the Doc take a look at your arm.” She moved further into the cockpit, taking a seat in the pilot’s chair. “Do a full scan, Em–blast rang her bell pretty good.”


The girl sat, grimacing as the motion jostled her arm.  “If you want to make good money I can put in a word for you.  We have an opening in this sector.”


“I believe what you have here is a crater, not an opening.” Emma stepped between the women, handing Statzia a laser scalpel. They exchanged a look, words not needed to express the dangers of another party on board. Statzia gave a shrug, turning get attention to the shrapnel in her leg as Emma flipped open the medical tricorder.


“Well now–your collarbone is broken and you’ve dislocated that shoulder and made quite the mess of it. But I suppose your body is telling you that already.” Emma clucked her tongue as the scan continued. “You have a concussion, several bruised ribs, as well as numerous scrapes and contusions. You’re surprisingly–intact.” She walked behind the command chair, opening one of the storage panels and accessing the medkit. 


A clang rang out in the shuttle as the end of the shrapnel fell to the deck. Statzia set to work on the pant leg, tearing from the cut made by the shrapnel and ripping and cutting off the fabric until a set of straps and buckles was exposed.


The girl stayed still in the seat.  “This is my first solo.  My trainer didn’t think I was ready but I convinced her.  Now I’m going to have to prove myself all over again.”


With a tug, Statzia pulled off the prosthetic leg. “I got my whole team killed my first solo run, too.” There was a wry grin on her face. “At least you should go home with all of your limbs still attached, right?”


“That’s why she brings me along,” Emma chimed in as she loaded a hypospray. “Pretty hard to kill a hologram.


“Our holos are more..sterile.  My employers don’t support much self determination in people let alone synthetics.”

The look that Emma gave to Statzia made her laugh–which hurt. “I don’t think Emma’s personality is entirely her fault. I had to dismantle the safeguards to salvage and copy her programming. Starfleet doesn’t leave their tech floating around in space for long, so I was in a bit of a hurry.” She pulled the leg up into her lap, examining the shard of metal still imbedded in the knee. “The nose ring, though? Entirely her idea.”

“What’s wrong with my nose ring?” Emma raised an eyebrow in a move that seemed distinctively Vulcan. She pressed the hypospray to the left side of the girl’s neck. “This will help with the pain.”

“Nothing’s wrong with your nose ring!” Statzia held an arm around her chest to brace the ribs for the laugh that followed. “I happen to like the nose ring.”


“Aaaahhh,” the girl gave a low guttural sigh as she felt the pain leave.  “Thank you.  I’m good now.” 

Emma scoffed. “Nonsense. You certainly won’t be able to fly back to whatever corner of the galaxy you hail from with a broken collarbone and a dislocated shoulder.” She gave a head gesture to Statzia. “We’ll get that all knit back together–”


“You think I’m weak.  You have no idea what they put me….what I put myself through to be where I am.  I am going to become the greatest weapon amongst unbelievable weaponry for my employer.  I don’t fail.”


“You’re not weak, kid.” Statzia set down the prosthetic, pushing herself up onto her remaining leg. She hopped her way to the Commander’s seat, using the consoles for balance. “You’re injured. We’re both lucky we’re not dead. If you want, we can leave you enough bruises and scrapes to be convincing to your handler. But in a few hours that painkiller will wear off and Emma and I will be off of this rock–hopefully with enough cargo to keep my buyer happy.” 


“Stop calling me kid.”


Emma took the girl’s left wrist as Statzia sat on her lap, bracing her back against the chair. “Deep breath. This is still probably going to hurt.”


The girl smirked, self assured.  “Do your worst.”


Emma didn’t wait for confirmation. A jerk and a slam and the shoulder was back in its socket.


The scream she let out could be heard halfway across the planet.  “My employers could use you for interrogations with that bedside manner.”


Statzia smirked up at her holo-friend. “The rest of the universe is lucky that the holomatrix confines her to this ship.” She stood, balancing herself with the help of the seat and the console next to it.

Emma reached for the bone knitter. “I was supposed to get a holoemitter with the proceeds from this job.” She set to work repairing the broken collarbone. “I believe the emotion that I am feeling is called bitterness.”

“I wasn’t even supposed to be on this one.  My boyfriend who is the heir to the throne was going to be here but something came up with his father so he sent me to handle our business.”  She gently moved her shoulder feeling the relief.


Emma gave the girl’s chest a thump with her knuckles. “You keep moving like that, and the bone will set in the wrong place.” The holo-doc looked over her shoulder. “I think I might have found a patient that’s worse than you.”

Statzia scoffed, but managed a smile. She really needed to stop laughing. “Careful, Emma will hold a grudge.” She settled herself back into the pilot’s seat, once again turning her attention to the detached leg. “If she’s feeling snarky, she’ll just put you under and fix you when you can’t talk back.” She turned the leg over, examining it. “Good news, it doesn’t look like I’ll need a new leg.”


“Fine, fine, just get it over with.”  Her eyes went to Statzia’s leg.  “How’d you lose it?”

Emma gave another look over her shoulder, which Statzia pointedly ignored. “Mission went south. Lost my whole team, and would probably be dead too if I hadn’t been pinned under rubble from the cave-in. Kept the things from dragging off my body, too.” She took the laser scalpel and began cutting away the shrapnel from the knee joint. “Tried one of those fancy robotic replacements, but there were–complications.” Another piece of metal dropped to the deck. “I like things that are uncomplicated. Meerk just complicated things.”


“He should have paid his bills.  It’s his fault.”


“And when we don’t return with the cargo we were sent for, that will be her fault.” Emma pulled another device from the medkit and began waving it in a pattern around the girl’s head. “You should probably not attempt to fly out of the atmosphere without a concussion. Would you like me to leave the bruised ribs, or should I repair those as well?”


She hesitated.  “Repair—please.”

Emma nodded. Pulling out her tricorder, she confirmed the damage from the concussion was restored. “There are other things it appears I am not able to repair.” Her voice was lower, directed only to the girl. “Your employer also does not appreciate–complications.” There was a slight tilt to her head as she worked.


“They do not.”  Her tone was quick and to the point.  “Distractions aren’t good for business.”


Emma quirked her head at the woman sitting behind them in the other chair. “You two are far more similar than I think you realize.” The hologram clucked her tongue again. “There. Ribs should be in good shape.”


“Better leave the other contusions so you look convincing on camera for your crown prince. Maybe say you held me at gunpoint for the use of our medical services?” There was another ting as a final sliver of metal fell to the deck. Statzia rotated the knee joint of the prosthetic, confirming the range of motion was returned.


“That won’t be necessary, he doesn’t ask many questions.” She tested out the repairs, finding them thorough.  “You do good work.”


Statzia glanced up at their guest. “Think he’ll ask questions about the location of Meerk’s inventory?”


“What inventory?  It was all blown up.”  The girl’s wrist communicator gave a crackle of static.  “I should go…so should you after you take what you want.”


Statzia gave a nod of understanding. “Try not to explode the next mark you’re after. Emma might not be there to patch you up.”

Emma chuckled at the joke. “Good luck with your crown prince.”


The girl stood from her seat and exited the ship, walking over to her ship.  Her wrist chimed.




“Target is neutralized, his merchandise went with him.”


“You’re going to get a reputation for overkill.”


She looked over her shoulder at the Ferengi ship.  “I can think of worse.




Statzia chuckled, taking the first sip of her now-watered down drink. “That’s right, I remember now. I’m surprised both of us walked away that day–both from the explosion, and from the fact that we very likely could have tried to kill each other.”


“I’m afraid you have me at a….” Patricia stopped.  “Pink hair and a nose ring.  Small universe.”


“Emma was good to me.” Statzia sighed quietly. “They’ve got her mobile emitter in a lockbox somewhere. Some brass somewhere has their mind made up that her program was corrupted.” She let her finger tap on the edge of that glass. “The stasis pod I got out of Meerk’s inventory saved my life 9 months ago. Got on the wrong side of some backwater warlord and took a couple of railgun bolts to the abdomen–almost bled out before Emma got me into stasis and pointed the ship towards Federation space.” She paused, taking another sip. “So, I guess I owe you a thanks for walking away.”


“We’re not even yet.  Tell me more about this lockbox.”