Disclaimer: Almost Human belongs to its producers and creators. It is not mine
Elena and Diego are more own creations. Written for Miss Hammer's request.
"You don't know a thing about Being blue"
Sometimes he thinks the spinning in his head jives in tandem with the centrifugal force of the spinning station. It's irrational, has no basis in fact, and would make absolutely no sense to anyone but him, and maybe, just maybe it would make sense to the dark-eyed woman who sometimes haunts his dreams.
The problem with that last bit is that as much as he may want to recall or even hold on to those dreams of 'Her; and it's become a proper pronoun by now, is that they fade away like the flickering on colored lights on his smart console.
Detective John Kennex, gets up, goes through his morning rituals, and drags on his artificial leg and heads to the precinct.
Dorian, no doubt would have a witty bon mot if he knew, and John has wanted to punch the guy in his perfect teeth on more than one occasion since they became partners; and for the life of him John cannot say why he hasn't done so before now.
Feeling, that's the problem, damn those feelings.
The case they've been working on, one that has been nagging at him even more so than those stupid effing dreams.
Dorian and Rudy both claim that its more than his subconscious playing tricks on him; that these flickering vivid recollections are attempts for to bring suppressed traumatic events from his past to the forefront of his waking mind.
Even if they're right, John doesn't want to, it's much easier to not feel and deal with the present as it comes.
For the moment, most of his waking and working hours have been spent dealing with the case at hand. Various factions have come to the peacekeeping officers with complaints of stolen cargo, components and fuel supplies going missing.
If this were a simple case of piracy, have done, track down the pirates, capture them and return the stolen items, and call it a day.
Both Dorian and his Chief of Police, Sandra Maldonado think there is more going on here than meets the eye, and John is inclined to agree.
Only a day ago Maldonado sent Detective Valerie Stahl and a handful of MX units undercover on a routine supply and delivery run on a commercial vessel called "Persephone". Their mission was to pose as representatives of one of the many interested parties whose cargo and material had gone missing. They were to rendezvous with a supply ship and see if the pirates took the bait.
John arrived at the precinct and straightened the collar of his jacket. "Hey, John" Dorian greeted him cheerfully,
"Hey, yourself," he replied.
"John, I'm glad you're here," said Maldonado.
"Any word from Detective Stahl?"
"No, and they missed their latest check-in. I wouldn't worry but we accounted for that eventuality, and they were ordered to maintain radio silence unless under extremely duress..." she trailed off.
"Something's not right," John Kennex concluded.
"Yes, in the last week the check-ins were coming in without any delays, no static, no interference and certainly no static from the factions who were affected by the pirates. Dorian, show him the real-time image we have on screen."
"Of course," Dorian replied and bringing up a grainy image on the main screen of the situation room.
An image of a sleek matte black vessel illuminated by the running lights of the station and the backdrop of the stars showed up. It had a needle-nose which Dorian and John determined could be either some kind of propulsion systems or weapons ports.
"I want you and Dorian to take out a patrol ship and find this vessel, My guess is you find this ship you find our missing people," Sandra said.
"Why do you think the pirates took them," asked John, shrugging to loosen stiff muscles, "It's not as if they need the money."
"A little gauche, John, even for you," Dorian said. "However, you are correct on a certain point, if they took Detective Stahl and the other officers, and then sent this vid recording as an attempt to demand ransom money, why have they not done so before now?"
Dorian nodded. "I agree with John, catching the skeptical look in both Sandra Maldonado, Richard Paul and a handful of other officers.
"Seems to me they're taunting us, daring us to come after them, saying, and Dorian struck up a pose, tapping his head and began to sick in a not totally off-key tune, "Na, Na, Na, no, you can't catch us, you can't catch us. Can't touch this!" and then stopped, and cleared his throat. and remarked in his normal speaking tone. 'It's a trap."
"When do we leave?" John Kennex asked. "
"As soon as possible," Maldonado replied. "Fueling and retrofitting with the latest software and weapons upgrade should be coming in momentarily. "Oh, here it is," she said as another of the Mx's units arrived with the report. "I don't need to tell Dorian this, and I'll tell you anyway, Kennex, but be careful. I don't want to lose any more of our people. Catch my drift?"
"Consider it caught, Sir," John replied.
"Then go, and good hunting?" she replied.
Dorian had offered to pilot the patrol boat but had been Detective John Kennex's partner long enough now to know that John could be incredibly stubborn on that point, among others and John was especially keyed up at the moment. They cleared the docking pay and pushed off away from the centrifugal force emitted by the space station.
"How about those Mets'? Dorian asked he knew that the Mets were an Old Earth baseball team and posing it as a question was a method of breaking the proverbial ice.
"Fine, I guess, but what does baseball have to do with this?"
"Nothing, really, I just wanted to know whether or not you can be objective in this matter."
"I can be objective?" Kennex replied. "Is that what's bugging you?"
"Among other things, but I met in regards to Detective Stahl if we should discover that her well-being is in jeopardy?"
"Don't sweat it, Dorian, really don't worry about it, okay?"
Dorian nodded, "Okay."
The "Kore" arrived at the pre-determined coordinates that had been embedded along with the image of the ship and they settled down to wait. They did not have to wait for long.
The ship arrived shedding its force-field and emerging with is the dorsal side facing them. It was black and the holes in its side were without a doubt weapons ports.
Seeing it up close and in person both John and Dorian were in agreement that whoever had designed this thing really didn't much care in making the weapons ports as sleek as the rest of the ship because as John remarked it looked as if someone gave up in a fit of anger and frustration and took a giant sledgehammer to them.
"That thing looks nasty," John remarked aloud.
"I concur," Dorian replied. "Well, we're here, open hailing frequencies, and say hello."
The image of the man and woman on the bridge of the pirate ship, if that's what it was, both wore their longer and more disheveled than was common on the space station; almost down to the middle of her back on the woman and tied up in a bandanna on the man.
"Greetings," the woman spoke first. "I am Elena Kapkov and this is first mate, Diego Pilar, of the "The Long Ladder" and we're glad you came in response to our message."
"I realize that this is highly irregular and you have every reason not to trust us, but believe when I say that is a mutually opportune situation for everyone."
"You will forgive me, ma'am," Dorian replied. "If I find that hard to believe." He shrugged, "You are pirates, after all."
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name?"
"I did not offer it," Dorian replied and smiled. "I am Dorian, and this is my partner, Detective Kennex."
"A pleasure," she replied. "We 'pirates,' have a proposition."
"Yeah, really?" John growled.
"I realize that our recent actions in pursuit of our ultimate goal have garnered," she winced then added, "shall we say, a reputation for violence and perhaps more force than is strictly warranted,' Detective Kennex."
"What Elena is trying to say," the man she had called Diego, broke in. "Is that desperate times call for desperate measures. Until recently, our leaders were divided on the path that we wished our people to follow."
"Thank you, Diego, yes, we were divided. Many advocated violence and insurgency, as a means to have our voice heard, because, not without validity, that we are being ignored."
"What now? hose materials and technologies don't come cheap, and it's not just about stuff being stolen," John said.
"No, at first our numbers were few and had to make do, now we are following a new path."
"Bully for you," John griped.
Elena ignored that last comment and continued. "You may convey this message to your superiors. We want to break away and form our own colony and have resorted to piracy in order to secure the wherewithal in order to do so."
"There's gotta be easier ways of doing that than piracy," Dorian mildly remarked.
"I suppose so, but as Diego mentioned desperate times often call for desperate measures. In point of fact, and to prove that we are sincere in an offer to make reparations we will return to you your Detective Valerie Stahl."
"What do want in return?" John asked. "Is she all right?"
"She is fine. We have not harmed her," Diego answered.
"I want to see her," John demanded.
Diego went off to a part of the bridge that the viewer did not cover and returned with Detective Stahl in tow, her hands bound in front of her with a thick hemp rope but otherwise unharmed.
Diego gave an order to a bridge crew member and her image on the screen shimmered and then she reappeared on the cockpit of their patrol boat.
It was a tight fit with all three of them in there, but John did not mind in the least.
He squeezed to make room and then cut the ropes with his multi-tool in his jacket pocket. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Don't worry about me," she replied. The Mx's not so much."
"Okay, now what?"
"Should we entertain their offer without consulting our superiors?" Dorian asked.
"I don't know, really, if they want to form a colony, okay, but where would they start. Everyone knows that there isn't much territory to choose from within the confines of the Wall. and that's n0-man's land."
"Just convey the message, Detective Kennex," Elena remarked. We will expect a reply within 72 hours."
"And what then?"
"Well, only time will tell," Elena replied and then cut the transmission.
"Wonderful sort, these pirates turned colonists. I guess the only thing to do is head back to the station and let the Captain know what's going on."
"Yeah, I don' think we'll get the ship components back, and there's going to be static about that, but we'll some way of smoothing that over," Valerie remarked.
"What did you think of them?" Dorian asked her.
"Driven, and I kind of like the fact that risk-takers I just wish that they hadn't taken everything they could get their hands, used, retrofitted and cannibalized anything they couldn't make work. It's going to be dicey but interesting in dealing with them. Let's go home."