Mykal ran through the corridors, his mind racing as he sent messages to various people and parts of the ship. He had the communications department shut down all outbound transmissions, until further notice from himself or the King. He put Royal Security on high alert and sent notices to both Vivian and Tobias that they are to move to their parents' location, due to security lockdown, immediately. He also tagged a notice to their personal guards that they were to move them if they didn't move on their own.
Slowing to a trot as he reached the corridor that Fred's quarters were located on, he noticed that security had not entered yet.
"What's the holdup Captain?" He asked as he walked up to the group of on ship marines.
Giving Mykal a quick salute, the captain grimaced. "The door is on lockdown, and for some reason, our security override isn't working."
A chill ran down Mykal's back. "Well, now I know who hit my rooms." Mykal focused for a moment, accessed the ship's security computer and threw his newly minted access codes at the locked down section that contained Fred's quarters.
There was a faint click as the lock seemed to release. "Do your thing Captain; I'll open the door your team needs to move in. Remember though, no lethal force, we must take him in one piece."
"Understood, Sir. Breach team in place; weapons on knockout." The team of four marines moved forward, flipping selector switches on their hand weapons.
"Computer, override personal locks and open doors, now!" Mykal barked to the ships computer.
The doors slid open and the marines slid quickly and silently into the room. In a matter of moments, there was the sound of weapons being discharged, a few muffled grunts and the distinct sound of two bodies hitting the floor.
"All Clear, Sirs!" came the call as one of the marines returned to the door.
Mykal nodded, followed the marine captain into the room and looked around at the minor damage and disarray that the room must have been in before they even entered. As they entered the back room, Mykal's stomach sank as he saw his friend handcuffed and laying on the floor, the scorch mark of a blaster round on the side of his chest. Next to him was another man, one he recognized from his file as the navigation officer that had been locked out of the system, Nomoro.
"Why'd you do it Freddy?" Mykal whispered. He looked up at the marine Captain. "Take these two and lock them up in separate cells. Don't make them comfortable." he said in a steely voice.
Mykal walked into the royals' sitting room about an hour later, his energy drained and his feet dragging. Brigit rushed to him and wrapped her arms around him, as soon as he was in the room. He wrapped his arms around her, feeling the warmth radiating from her that had seemed to seep out of him in the last hour.
He looked into the ashen faces of the king and queen as they sat on the couch. "They know where we are going. Communications show that there were a series of transmissions sent to a relay station. After digging through the transmission records, they were sent to Carthanian space. From what we can tell they gave them a confirmation that all of you survived, when we were expected to make orbit, and where we were going. They were in the process of uploading a report of what forces we have on the ship and available overall, but that was interrupted when I had comms shut everything down." Brigit pulled away slightly, led him to one of the couches and sat him down.
"Well, at least they don't know everything. Do you have any idea how much information they were able to obtain?" Hans asked.
Mykal shook his head. "They didn't know much. Only thing they had right was what we have on the ship. They had access to a force account file, but it was the one that was barely secured." Mykal looked Hans in the eyes and sent him a data pack. [They found, but couldn't open the real file; it was completely secure. We need to talk about that later, by the way.]
Hans nodded. "Yes we do, but not tonight. Was it just Davidson then?"
Mykal shook his head. "Nomoro was in on it too. I am having the captain verify the course headings to make sure there isn't anything hinky going on. When he is done with that, he is going to pour on a bit more power, since we have the spare reactor mass, to speed up our arrival time. He should be updating us both when he has an ETA." Taking a deep breath and releasing it, "I'm going to have the Royal Guard captain do the questioning of Fred, since I am too close to the situation."
"Understandable and good call. I wish we had more time for you to get your feet under you, but things seem to be escalating fast." Looking at each of his children, Hans added, "I'm going to order an extra two guards each, for all of us. Just in case." Looking pointedly at Mykal, "That goes for you as well."
Tobias nodded as if he expected it, Vivian rolled her eyes as if they would just be underfoot more than usual and Brigit shrugged as if it didn't bother her at all. Jason cleared his throat. "Do you think it necessary for us to have that many in the Med Lab? Hells, I don't know if we have that much room."
"Until we make the planet, I want exposure to the rest of the ship limited, Jason. Unless it's an emergency, I really don't want you to leave the Royal quarters." Mykal replied. Before Jason did more than open his mouth, Mykal cut him off. "I promise your research won't be ruined by the interruption, and even if it was, you being alive and well are far more important to me than your projects." The smile he gave the doctor never reached his eyes. "And right now, what's important to me is what is important to the kingdom. Sorry Doc." Jason frowned, but nodded his agreement.
Hans stood, helping his wife up. "Let's everyone try and get some rest. We are no doubt going to have a very busy day tomorrow. Good night children, Jason."
Vivian and Tobias stood, and both wished them good night. Mykal waved to them half heartedly, and barely even noticed when Jason left.
Sitting on the couch with Brigit cuddled up to him, silently just being there for him, his thoughts ran wild. Trying to figure out why Freddy had done what he had. Every path he could think of was met with a brick wall. Not even realizing it, tears started to run down his cheeks as the pain in his chest overwhelmed him. Holding him close, Brigit lightly rubbed his back as Mykal began to cry out his pain as the emotional devastation of his friend's betrayal hit home.
Mykal woke slowly, his head throbbing and his mouth dry. As memories of the night before came back, he felt a tightening in his chest. No matter how he looked at it, Fred, the best friend he'd ever had, the closest thing to a brother, had a hand in the betrayal of the crown. How deep was he? How much damage had he done? Thinking back on the way things unfolded on Orphus III, there were little things that came to mind, things that he had suppressed in the heat of battle and not thought back on.
Trying to lift his right arm, to run it through his hair, he realized that it was pinned down under the weight of a body. Immediately, he became aware of the warmth pressed to his side. Looking down, he saw that Brigit was curled up against him, seemingly still asleep. He thankfully noted that they were still clothed before the final memories of last night came back to his exhaustion muddled mind.
She had held him as he cried out the pain of betrayal and when he had finally stopped what seemed hours later, she handed him a strong glass of scotch and ordered him to drink it down in one go. She then helped him to his feet and led him down the corridor to her quarters, where she told him in no uncertain terms he was sleeping, and that she was not going to leave him alone at a time like this. After he had removed his tunic and boots, she slipped out of the room and returned in a modest set of pajamas and robe, and curled up against his side. He then promptly fell into a deep and thankfully dreamless sleep. He looked down at her head, wondering if she had handed him more than just a drink of scotch.
"Yes, there was a sedative in the drink; that's why your mouth is dry." Mykal gave a small start at her response to his unasked question. "And no, you didn't ask out loud; I just know how you think and that you would have asked yourself that question, at some point, after you woke up."
"How long have you been awake?" he asked softly, running a hand through her hair.
"Since before you came around. You moved around a bit before you came to, some deep down dream, I think. I wasn't sleeping very deeply." she said as she looked up into his eyes.
"I'm sorry I woke you." he whispered, looking deep into her eyes, searching them for what she was thinking.
She smiled coyly. "It's not your fault; I'm not used to having anyone else in my bed. It was nice though, all things considered."
Checking his internal clock, Mykal groaned. "Damn it's late." Then his eyes got big. "Your father is going to skin me alive."
"He's fine; mom will explain the situation to him."
"And what exactly is our situation?" he asked softly.
Brigit sighed. "Right now? We can't be anything more than close friends. As much as I want you to see me as something other than a princess, that's what I am and I have to maintain appearances." She felt him tense up underneath her cheek as if expecting a painful blow. "That aside, know this; you will be mine. I'm not letting you go for any reason. You better accept it now because that's not going to change." she said fiercely.
Mykal let go of a breath he didn't realize he had been holding and chuckled. "I thought it was the guy that was supposed to be all controlling and possessive."
Brigit looked up and smiled at him. "Yes, but I'm a Princess; I can do and have whatever I want." She cuddled into his chest. "And I want you."
Laying his head back and closing his eyes to relieve his head ache a bit, he hugged her closer to him. "Who am I to deny my Princess?" he whispered before he fell asleep again.
Waking about an hour later, Brigit eased off the bed, making sure not to disturb Mykal. Looking down at his peaceful sleeping form, she felt her heartbeat quicken and her chest tighten. Trailing her finger down his cheek, his face reflexively moved to maintain the contact.
She smiled slightly and bent down to kiss him softly on the cheek before turning away. Walking to her bathroom, she turned on the shower and disrobed. As she cleaned herself, the heat of the water and steam melted away the tension the day before had created in her neck and back. Mentally she sent a note to her mother. [I'm starting to get ready; I'll be getting Mykal up after I get out of the shower.]
As she was rinsing the soap from her hair, she received the tell tale tingle of a message from her mother. [Your father wasn't happy about Mykal staying with you, but he understands it. He got the ball rolling on questioning all three of the prisoners. The ship captain gave us an updated timeframe and we need to move fast. So how was it by the way?]
Getting out of the shower, she dried off and started to put on lotion. [We did nothing but sleep mother. We are going to do this the right way. I'm not going to risk anything coming between us.]
Putting on her robe, she went back into her bedroom and saw that Mykal was already awake and sitting up in the bed. Blushing and biting her lower lip at the hungry look he was giving her, she completely forgot what she was doing.
Standing up, Mykal walked towards her slowly, his gaze never leaving her. "You know, that whole friends only idea is going to be really difficult to keep up if you dress like this around me much more."
Giving him an impish smile, she whispered, "Well, according to the ship's captain we have even less time than we thought to wait. I wouldn't want you to get off easy, so I'll just have to make it a little harder for you." Turning with a little bounce, she walked into her closet to get dressed. "My dad knows you are up; you may not want to hang around for too long." She giggled at the muffled curse and thumping as he made his way out the door in a hurry. She sent a message to her mother. [He's on his way to his room now, so he won't be long.]
Walking into the security office, Mykal's eyes immediately went to the monitor showing Freddy's cell. Stopping and standing next to the king, his eyes flicked over the monitors showing the other two prisoners before landing back on Freddy.
"Morning, Sir. Have they given up any new information?" he asked in a subdued voice, pain of betrayal still throbbing in his chest.
"Nothing yet, but the questioning hasn't been going on long. Barovos is trying to bluster his way out, Nomoro is saying that he was coerced and Davidson isn't saying anything. He hasn't even acknowledged the questioner. " Hans looked over at the younger man. "I mean this with as much love as I can must for another man, but you look like warmed over shit. You sure you are up to this right now?"
"Doesn't really matter if I am or not does it, Sir? We have only half a day until we drop out of hyper-travel, and we need to know what is going on and if there are any other traitors on this ship before we land. If even one makes it out, it gives Marcus a leg up that we really don't want him to have." He looked back over the monitors. "Would you consider this an act of war, Sir?"
"Yes, I suppose it is. A direct assault on the crown would be considered an act of war."
"So would you say we are at war with a rebel element, whose goal is to kill the royal family in order to cause political and military instability?" Mykal asked looking directly at his king.
Hans nodded. "Well, putting it that way, then yes, I would say we are at war."
"Good; seems we have us three captured enemy spies, whose goal was espionage and sabotage." Mykal said nodding.
The king's eyes went the size of saucers. "Mykal, you can't possibly mean to..." The look in the young man's eyes, when he looked at Hans, stopped him short.
"I mean to find out how deep this rot is, but I'm not going to do it illegally. As King, you have the ability to declare war; which you just kind of did. These three men are exactly as I said; spies and saboteurs. Hell, Barovos is even a thwarted assassin. That gives me all the leeway I need. Unless you want to order me not to go to whatever legal extreme is required to get the information I need, then I will. Starting with that piece of shit, Barovos."
Hans put a hand on Mykal's shoulder before he could leave the room. "I won't order you not to do this, but I do want you think of something while you are in there. You are a warrior, and I have no doubt that you would have no qualms doing whatever you had to in order to get the information you want. Just think of how she will feel about whatever you do, were she to find out."
"All of this is for you, your wife, your son and your daughters. Especially...her. To be honest with you, Sir, she is all that is keeping me on an even keel right now. As much as I honor and respect you and your wife, as people and my King and Queen, if she were ever disappointed in me, it would destroy me. As much as it would destroy me if she were hurt because I didn't do my job in protecting all of you. I promise you that I will never forget that."
Hans nodded, let go of Mykal's shoulder and turned back to the monitors.
Mykal walked into Barovos' cell and set three items down on the table in front of him. A hydrosyringe, a shock baton and his saber sat in neat order in front of the prisoner, just out of reach of his shackled hand; his other arm ending in a bandage covered stump. "What the hell do you think you are doing here Captain? You have no right to even speak to me. When my father gets done with you, you won't even be able to get a job operating a power lifter." He let out a snort that sounded more nervous than insulting, "If he doesn't take your hand off for what you did to me."
Mykal calmly sat down in front of the obviously self delusional man. "Well, Trenton, as the King has now declared war on Marcus and any who sides with him, I seriously doubt your father will be doing much in your favor or on your behalf. You see, you are now a self incriminated spy, saboteur and assassin. There are a dozen witnesses and videos documenting this. From what I understand, we have already received word from your family that you have been disowned, and they want nothing to do with you or your treasonous plots. We have a few of your accomplices, and all communication with your benefactor has been cut off." Mykal watched as Trenton's eyes widened slightly and he started to sweat even more.
"That's a lie! My father would never disown me, especially over some trumped up allegations."
"Considering he heard your words himself, and saw your actions as you assaulted a member of the Royal Guards, and pulled a weapon and attempted to assassinate the king, a very old friend of his from what I understand; he was fairly hasty in his move to disown you." Mykal gave him a dark smile, "He even complimented me in my sword work. I understand he is fairly handy with a sword himself. Oh, and it's Major now by the way. I won't add that to your rather extensive list of charges."
Standing up, Mykal picked up the hydrosyringe and checked the readout on it casually. "We know you are a traitor and traitors are executed in times of war. Usually this is done fairly humanely; a simple injection and you go to sleep and never wake up. However, you are not only a traitor; you are an assassin." He set down the injector and picked up the saber. "That would normally mean that you would face beheading, after you are found guilty at your trial. Make no mistake you would be."
Setting down the saber, Mykal picked up the shock baton. "Luckily for me though, you are also a spy and saboteur, as admitted by your own words to me in front of at least half a dozen witnesses. Two of which are the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Davidov. That means I can torture you in whatever way I want to find out what information you passed on, who worked for you and who is left." Mykal depressed the trigger button, sending a crackle of white lightning arching between the two leads at the end of the baton, making Barovos jump at the cracking sound it made. "The other captives are being questioned in much the same way as we speak. Make no mistake; I volunteered to 'question' you. I fully intend to enjoy pulling every little bit of information out of your sorry excuse for a brain before I let them take whatever is left, to be executed and jettisoned like trash out into space."
Barovos' eyes at this point were wild and darting around the room, as if he could find a way to escape the man who had just admitted he was going to essentially torture him to death. "Y-you can't do this. You are the one that always follows the rules; the one that does the right thing!"
"You are absolutely right, Trenton, I am. And the right thing to do is to char your miserable carcass with this baton, until you tell me every person you had ever worked with on this plot to kill your king. Now, if you give me names and they do in fact turn out to be traitors, I will refrain from cooking you and you get the clean death of the sword. You know firsthand that it will be clean and quick." Mykal said with a smirk as he advanced around the table, the baton held low and pointed towards the prisoner.
"I'll give you all the names I know, but you have to give me your word as an officer that I get to use the poison." Barovos said hastily, trying to inch away from the baton.
Mykal stopped, tilted his head as if he was thinking about it while examining the man before him, as if he could not figure out what exactly it was. "Okay, you give up all the names you know and I'll let you inject yourself with this." he said as he picked up the injector, "After we check out the names. Start talking."