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Dox's Leap 6: Melanie and Declan

Posted on Fri Aug 7th, 2020 @ 12:38pm by Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox

Mission: The Bulikaya Particle
Location: The Multiverse, the Forager
Timeline: 2397

The world began to swirl back into existence as Lieutenant Commander Mnhei’sahe Dox felt more than a bit of disorientation.

With her eyes shut tightly, her head was still spinning for a moment even though she was sure she wasn’t actually moving as she knelt down and held tight to the familiar, cold metal deck plating that felt like it was cutting into her knees. The leaps from a stationary location like her last leap to the colony of her birth, to a ship in motion, tended to cause a bit more disorientation. Ugh. You just HAVE to be really sensitive to being able to feel a ship in motion, don’t you? Dox thought to herself.

The sensation under her hands was cold as she struggled to open her eyes as nausea, worse this time than any leap before, began to quickly fade. This wasn’t her first leap to a ship, but something about the shimmy of this ship and the vibration of it’s engines seemed to affect her a bit more. As she focused on that shimmy and vibration, she heard a sound that was entirely too familiar and sent a chill down her spine.

It was a series of knocks and thuds that resonated up through the deck and made her arms shake ever so slightly as she finally opened her eyes. The lighting was dim, but she immediately recognized where she was. The cold, metal deck plate below her was a dark greenish, gray and the bulkhead to her side was a jury-rigged series of welded panels and old, rattling pipes that spat out the occasional burst of steam into the stale, damp, recirculated air.

“Bhudt'e…” she whispered, a Romulan expression of disbelief, as she stood up on unsteady feet. “Not here.”

She was standing in the cargo hold of the smuggling ship she had grown up on. The ship that was confiscated and presumably dismantled by Starfleet almost seventeen years ago. The Forager. Her former home and her former prison.

Looking around as her head cleared, the red-headed Romulan Starfleet officer didn’t see anyone, and she wasn’t particularly looking forward to exactly what was in store for her in this timeline. This was the place that she had first contemplated suicide in all those years ago, before betraying her mother to escape it. The anxiety had twisted itself into a tight knot in her stomach as she heard bootfalls in the corridor heading toward the door to the cargo hold.

Of course… Dox thought to herself, You never leap in far from yourself.

Looking around, the layout of the room came right back to her as she remembered the smugglers hatch under the deck plate in the corner that she used to hide in as a little girl. It was a grated, metal panel that would allow her to see whoever was coming. Stepping as quietly as she could, she gently lifted the panel.

Sighing, she slipped into the thankfully empty crawlspace that seemed much larger when she was a teenager. But she still fit as she quietly lowered the hatch back into place and slowed her breathing just as the thick double doors to the cargo bay opened.

“No, dammit. We moved those crates three weeks ago. I told you I made that deal with the Nausicaans we ran into.” Came her own voice, as in walked a version of herself that seemed somehow familiar and alien all at the same time. Through the grated hatch, Mnhei’sahe watched as a version of herself stomped through the bay towards a hidden panel against the far rear bulkhead that her mother had used to store weapons. The other her was wearing black boots, a dark green jumpsuit, and a head full of thick, wavy curls pulled into a long ponytail that extended to the middle of her back. And even though she was on the other side of the room, the young Romulan pilot could clearly see those very round, human ears she used to have.

“Well, that’s not exactly going to make the clients waiting for us on the other side of the zone happy, is it Mellie! This little scheme of yours is going to be expensive and how are we supposed to pay them?” Came a voice that Mnhei’sahe hadn’t expected to ever hear from again. When she hid in the hatch, she half expected to see her mother, not him. Not Declan Dox.

For most of her life, she believed the fat, redheaded human to have been her father. The truth was that the man she once bitterly believed to have simply been an absentee father was just a greedy smuggler her mother had used as the source of human DNA that had been applied in a genetic overlay to hide the identity of her true father. It made the fact that her future grandson was using that name all the more unusual.

With a raised eyebrow, Mnhei’sahe watched her counterpart and the man that she once believed to be her father standing together across the cargo bay. The man she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl.

“Calm down, Dad. I have it all under control.” Her counterpart said, which was a shock to the hidden Romulan to hear her own voice call someone ‘dad’.

“Then why are you going for a disruptor? Wait… what are you looking for?” Declan said, looking confused as he hiked up his slightly saggy pants up over his prodigious belly.

“I’m NOT looking for a disruptor.” She said as she pulled open the hatch that hid the rack of weapons only to lift a second hatch hidden behind the weapons and pull out a small metal case about the size of a tricorder. “I’m looking for this, Dad. This is what’s going to get us across the border. Would you just trust me for once.”

“What the hell is that, Mellie? What are you playing at?” Declan said as they started heading to the door and into the corridor back towards the bridge.

“You know the plan. You know what this could get us if it pays off. It’s going to stop all this penny-ante crap. If this works, no more scraping the bottom of the barrel, dad. This is our key to bigger things!”

As the door clanked shut again, Mnhei’sahe quielty made her way out of the hatch and went over to the weapon locker they had just been going through. The panel had locked as they left, and as she pulled on the small under latch, it refused to budge. But this ship had been her home for almost half of her life and she still knew it very well.

Feeling around the underside of the latch, she found what she was looking for. A series of small buttons. Six in all. And thinking about it for a moment, the muscle memory came back to her and she pressed the buttons in the sequence she still remembered. In the sequence her mother had trained her on for years, and the latch popped open.

“Thank Al’thindor you never changed the combination.” She whispered as she looked at the weapons. Some were ones she didn’t recognize. Newer models. But there were a few that she remembered even from back when she had lived here. A small greyish green modified Romulan Disruptor that she knew well. Taking it off the rack, it felt as familiar in her hand as it did the last time she held it over sixteen years ago.

She hated how familiar it felt as she closed the hatch and went over to the main door. Taking a breath, she knew the ship too well and knew that from the bridge, there was no way she could open the large, heavy doors without being heard. So she thought about it. Her curiosity was piqued, and while there was a part of her that considered just going back to her hiding space and waiting this leap out, she had to know why she was here. She had to know what had happened here.

In everything that she saw and heard, the one thing she didn’t see or hear was any evidence of her mother. But as she thought of how to get out of the cargo bay without being noticed, she heard a familiar hum, and within seconds, was engulfed in a stream of green light swirls. She was being beamed. ”Imirrh…”

”...lhhse!” She called out, cursing in Romulan as she reappeared in what she recognized as her old room. Standing in front of her, was Declan with a disruptor raised and charged.

“Told you it was a good idea to put sensors on the weapons lockers. Ever since we had that damn Ferengi on board that kept trying to… what the F***!!”

“What is it? Sensors said a damn… Romulan?” The raspy voice Dox knew as her own replied as the doppelganger stepped into view in the narrow doorway behind Declan Dox, weapon also raised.

Dox had the repulsor she had stolen raised as well, but the human smuggler didn’t seem overly concerned. “Is this part of your clever ass plan, Mellie? What the hell is going on? We’ve got a goddamn Warbird en route to meet us on the other side of the Neutral zone in half an hour and… I’m getting tired of you leaving me out of the details of whatever you’re playing at, girl? Who the f**k is this!?”

“Dad, this has nothing to do with my plan. I got a deal set up with a Warbird Commander to escort us to Romulus. The most high end Kali-Fal. Cloaking tech. Disruptors. You KNOW the plan, I’m not keeping anything from you. This score will have us set for life. I… this... “ The human-looking Dox said, confused as she raised her own weapon high, shouting at the strange woman in the Starfleet uniform.

“You! Talk! Who are you?! What is this? You tell us willingly or we stun your ass, strap you to a chair and beat the truth out of you.” She shouted from outside what used to be her room as a child. The Forager didn’t have a brig or any other cell, but her childhood room could be locked from the outside, making it as ideal a prison cell as anything else.

“What, you can’t tell who I am, Melanie? I’m you. Put down your weapons and we can talk more on that.” Dox replied, only now noticing that this other version of her didn’t have even the slightest hint of the accent she worked at covering up.

“Yeah, no. Sorry. But I don’t care how good of a job the Tal’Shiar did trying to… make you look like me… or how you figured out what we’re doing, but the weapon you stole is biometrically locked. It won’t work for anyone but me or him. So… what leverage did you have, again?” The human-looking Dox said with a slightly smug smirk that only partly covered up her obvious anxiety.

“Biometrically locked. How inconvenient.” Dox said sarcastically as she squeezed the trigger of the weapon set to stun, and with a burst of green light, Declan collapsed unconscious and fell backwards right into his so-called daughter. The overweight, human smuggler’s full bulk flumped into Melanie, knocking her back against the deck as her weapon fell out of her grip and across the platform to the other end of the corridor.

“DAMMIT!” She shouted as she tried pulling herself out from underneath the stunned Declan, only to look up into the glowing green business end of a disruptor.

“Like I said. I’m kreldanni you. I know this was modified with biometrics and with a stun setting.” Dox said, with narrow eyes as she stepped out of the small chamber and kicked both weapons even further away. “Now… let’s swap and we can continue this little talk.”


From inside the locked chamber, Declan Dox slammed his pudgy fists against the small plastisteel window on the door, his petulant shouting barely audible from the bridge of the Forager. And on that bridge, up the rusted metal steps, Mnhei’sahe looked at the familiar chamber where she had learned to fly and shook her head at the condition it was in.

She hadn’t stopped to really notice how sloppy the cargo bay had been, but now that she had a few moments to process it, she realized that the ship that she grew up in had truly started falling apart. Which answered at least one of the questions she had. Clearly, Jaeih Dox had not been here in a long time as the stern, Romulan taskmistress had her young daughter keep the ship in pristine condition. Or, as clean and orderly as such a ship could ever be kept.

In the navigators chair, her human looking counterpart was very effectively strapped down with a full roll’s worth of sealant tape from the cargo bay. “I’ll get out of this, and when I do, I will kill you, you Romulan piece of…”

“Hnaev?” Dox replied from the pilot's seat with a raised eyebrow, noticing a slight lack of recognition from her counterpart. How long has Mother not been here that she doesn’t know that? Dox thought as she turned the seat to face her counterpart, disruptor in hand.

“Draomn mnekha, ke'rhin. Narihu Mnhei’sahe arhem, Viduus au paeti. Veisa notht?” Mnhei’sahe said, in what should have been both women’s native tongues. Across from her, the very human looking woman wrinkled her brow slightly looking even more confused as she seemed to be trying to remember the language.

“Sorry. It’s fed standard or nothing. You turned off the Universal Translator, Romulan.” She replied with a hiss.

“I said, ‘Good morning, fellow Romulan. My name is Mnhei’sahe, pleased to meet you. How are you?” Mnhei’sahe said plainly. As she did, there was the slightest moment of recognition at the name that caused her doppleganger to tilt her head slightly.

“I’m not one of you. I’m human, thank you very much. Now what are you supposed to be? Why do you look like me? What the hell…” She shouted before Mnhei’sahe cut her off.

“I am you. I only have a couple more minutes here, so long story short, I arrived here from an alternate timeline, and with any luck, I won’t be here long. But while I’m here, I do have a few questions.” Mnhei’sahe said, leaning forward in the chair. “Such as, where is Jaeih? Where’s your mother?”

“What are you talking about? My mother is named Aileana. Aileana Dox. She’s from the Mars colony. Haven’t seen her in… twenty five some odd years.” She replied, a seemingly practiced calm on her face. But no matter how divergent this version of her seemed, Mnhei’sahe could see through her own tells when lying easily enough.

“Nice. Is that what you tell people so they won’t look at your DNA close enough to notice the alterations. The damage?” Mnhei’sahe said, looking her other self over. “You know it’s damage, right? It’s more than halved your lifespan. Or do you not actually know?”

“Know… what? W… what are you talking about?” the other Dox said as she wriggled slightly, testing the tape that had her stuck very well in place, her hands stuck fast to the armrest of the seat. The expression and tone seemed to indicate that she wasn’t lying, though the Hera’s Dox couldn’t be certain, so she pressed the issue.

“Where is your Mother, Melanie? You’re real mother? And what’s Declan doing here?” Dox asked calmly as her counterpart’s eyes narrowed and a scowl settled on her face.

“He’s my father… our father… if I believed that you are who you say you are, Romulan.” The round eared Dox hissed loudly, still struggling and shaking the chair she was strapped to.

At that, Dox narrowed her eyes as she watched herself and saw the tells she knew so well. This version might have had a lot more experience as a con artist, but Mnhei’sahe knew her own tells. “You know, don’t you? You know he isn’t your father.”

Scowling, the woman called Melanie glared across at her smug double. “Yes. I found out 8 months ago. I was making a drop at a Klingon smuggling outpost and had to go through their scanners while Declan stayed on ship. They were… a bit more advanced than I was used to and I found out… a lot.”

“As it turned out, the Klingons had detailed files stolen from Romulus and when they ran my DNA through the security sweep, it told me I had three sets of DNA. My mother’s, an overlay of Declan’s human DNA and my Father’s. A high ranking Tal’Shiar Commander.”

“Dralath tr’Rul.” Mnhei’sahe added, which elicited a bit of surprise from the counterpart.

“Dralath tr’Rul… who was quite interested, it turned out, for information about the smuggler who gave up his… intended... to Breen mercenaries years earlier.” Melanie replied with a sneer. “Mother had a bounty on her from the Romulans for her crimes there, and dead paid off as good as alive. He sold her out for thirty five percent.”

“Declan?” Dox asked with a raised eyebrow, which was answered only by an angry snear and a side eye down the corridor where they human smuggler and the man that had, in this reality, betrayed Jaeih years earlier, was locked up.

Piece by piece, Dox was getting a better view of the picture here and, feeling that now familiar surge of energy inside of her, got up and put a small utility knife in her counterpart’s hand. “I’m guessing that’s who is coming to meet you. And I’m guessing Declan has no idea you’re selling him out to your real father. What’s in the case?”

“The flight logs that show Declan’s meeting with the Breen mercenaries twenty five years ago.” Melanie hissed. “The proof of his guilt. That… and my own blood samples and genome information to prove who I am to him.”

From the chair, Melanie tried to spit at her Romulan counterpart, but Mnhei’sahe stepped back out of the way, shaking her head. “Just a bit of advice… if you think you’re really going to scam your way into the house of Rul… you have no idea what you’re in for, Melanie. If you think I could see through you, our Grandmother will eat you alive.”

With a flutter of blue light, Mnhei’sahe was gone. For a moment, there was only silence before the human-looking woman chuckled. Melanie sat in the chair, beginning to work at the sealant tape and muttered back to where her counterpart had just been, in perfect Romulan, “Rhifv Areinnye daeohre.”

“When Hell Freezes.”

To Be Continued…


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