Buffy belongs to Joss. Star Trek is Gene Roddenberry's creation, though this particular flavor owes much to Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman. I just like to play in their sandboxes now and then. Also, the lyrics belong to Bret Alexander.You just can’t take a lion
And throw her into a cage
And expect her to be thankful
For the shelter that you gave
Faith glanced around morosely. Prison had never been her favorite place, but this prison sucked worse than the last prison she’d been in on Earth. For one thing, there was no way to keep track of time. She never saw sky- at least, never saw real sky.
Her cage was shiny, she’d give them that. There were no bars, but seeing as they had force fields, who needed bars. And ‘computer- door’ didn’t work either. She’d tried that on day one. It had obediently asked her to go into detail about the door, let her get into specifics about location, size, and other details, then showed it on the wall exactly where she’d asked for it. It didn’t open, though.
The walls themselves had kept her amused for a while- they could be programmed to show anything at all, as could the floor and ceiling. Her captors didn’t seem to care much what she put on the walls, so long as it didn’t feature calendars or any way to tell what was going on outside. For a while, she’d played around with programming the room to resemble all manner of exotic locales. Eventually, she got bored and just set everything to plain white.
There wasn’t much in the way of furniture- bed that flipped down from the wall, table, chair, thing that might have been a twenty-third century idea of a fashionable couch, or possibly they were just into sitting on oversized cushions these days.
She was permitted a single datapad. The programming was restricted, of course. She didn’t get current events beyond whatever her jailers chose to tell her, mostly celebrity gossip and sports, neither of which meant anything to someone who hadn’t set foot on Earth since the early twenty-first century. And of course it never showed the date.
She didn’t know why they even cared if she knew how long she’d been here. They’d made it pretty clear they had no intention of releasing her. She hadn’t thought to start programming marks on the walls until after she’d already lost all sense of how long she’d been confined. Her marks were only guesses anyway, seeing as she had no clock and no windows. Not that a few days more or less made much difference. After all, she could look forward to spending forever in this box. Indefinite detention was a long damn time when you had no realistic prospect of dying.
And it got longer when you also had no realistic prospect of visitors. The Enterprise
had been sent back out at some point. Starfleet needed them to go fly the flag. Show that the Federation survived, despite the loss of Vulcan. Bones and Spock had told her so the last time she saw them, however long ago that had been. They didn’t want to abandon her, but Starfleet wasn’t giving them a choice. Orders were orders. Kirk had come too, but hadn’t known what to say, other than what they all knew at that point- ‘this isn’t right.’
Doc Bones had tried his best for her, he really had. He’d actually come up with compelling evidence on the sub-atomic level that backed up her story that she wasn’t from this time, possibly not even from this dimension. Unfortunately, that just made her keepers more interested in locking her down, not less.
It had surprised her to learn that Commander Spock had gone to bat for her too.
“I don’t get it,” she’d told him. “Why?”
“And I do not ‘get’ why you would ask,” he’d replied in that dry Vulcan way of his. “You have been incarcerated despite no evidence of malevolent intentions or proven guilt. It is not logical.”
“Hate to break it to you, Mr. Pointy, but humans ain’t exactly a logical species.”
“Indeed,” he said, ignoring as usual Faith’s incomprehensible (to him, anyway) nickname for him. She’d been trying to get a rise out of him for a while now, and as Bones had warned her, it hadn’t worked. Yet. The closest Spock had come to rising to the bait had been to point out that surely it should be Mr. Pointy Ears. Faith hadn’t been able to stop laughing for five minutes at the thought (which she didn’t share, because if he refused to ask why, she wasn’t going to tell him) of a stake with ears.
They’d come back for her. She hoped. Though it would be nice if this prison ever did mail call. The only interaction she’d had with anyone since they’d locked her up, aside from the Enterprise
guys before they left, was the occasional psychologist or doctor. She was really leery of both and tried to speak with them as little as possible. Eventually, even that had stopped.
Maybe it was because she’d made the last one cry…
It had been a shrink, a woman. None of them ever gave names, not that Faith actually cared. This one had started out frustrated that no matter how hard she tried to approach, Faith stayed at the maximum distance her prison would allow. It was fairly roomy, probably about the size of the downstairs of the Summers house, so that was a pretty decent distance.
“I’m trying to help
you, Miss Lehane,” she’d said.
“Really?” Faith had replied, moving way faster than her opponent could to once again put a full room’s worth of distance in between them. “Twenty-third century definition of ‘help’ must be a little different from the twenty-first century version. Only help I’m interested is the kind that gets me out of here. Cause it seems to me like this is a science experiment- and I’m the lab rat.”
“Would you please just stand still? I’m a doctor for god’s sake!”
“So were the people who decided I deserved to be locked in this cage for existing. You might say I’ve got trust issues with the medical profession. Actually, that’s not true. Bones McCoy is a doctor, but we’re still cool. Maybe it’s just those members of the medical profession whoring themselves to my captors.”
The woman’s face had reddened. Faith had smirked.
“Aw, don’t like that word, huh? Guess some definitions haven’t changed.”
“This facility is a precaution!” the woman snapped. “It’s for your own safety!”
Faith snorted. They really thought she couldn’t tell a prison when she was in one? It wasn’t like this was her first time. Hell, wasn’t even the second.
“Right. Is there still a bridge in Brooklyn you’d like to sell me, too? Cause seems to me I was perfectly safe on your starship, and if you turned me loose, I’d probably be perfectly safe on Earth. I’m pretty good at looking out for my own safety.”
“You don’t understand!”
“Damn right I don’t. I didn’t do anything to anyone here. I get that I was keeping some bad company, but your own judges ruled I wasn’t involved in what they were doing. And I don’t think my presence on that ship was announced to the public. So how exactly would I not be safe?”
“The history you missed-“
“Wasn’t even my history. Dr. McCoy showed you people the evidence that I’m from a completely different timeline. I don’t know what happened here but I had nothing to do with it. I can’t help that I am what I am.”
“It’s Miss Lehane to you,” Faith snarled, abruptly closing the distance to get right in the doctor’s face. Suddenly their positions were reversed, and it was the other woman trying to scramble away, but Faith wouldn’t allow her to get any distance. The woman panicked and tried to pull something out of her pocket, but Faith’s reflexes were as good as ever and what looked to be a hypospray flew across the room and smashed against the wall. “My friends call me Faith. People I trust call me Faith. You are not in either category.”
“What category am I in?” the woman asked, trying for professional detachment even as she backed away as fast as she could- still not fast enough to evade an angry Slayer.
“You really need to ask that question? What would you consider the people holding you prisoner just for shits and giggles? Personally, I tend to go with enemy.”
The good doctor abruptly ran out of space and her back hit the wall. Faith didn’t lay a finger on her- didn’t need to. The woman was on the point of peeing herself as it was.
“So tell me, doc, what’s the real deal? Why am I here? Is it something I did? Something I’m going to do?”
As the terrified woman shook her head, Faith leaned in closer, until they were almost, but not quite touching.
“Oh. So, nothing I did. Nothing I’m going to do. Something wrong with me? No? You’re admitting I’m here for no damn reason, just so you and yours can poke and prod at me to see what makes me tick?”
The tears had been running down the woman’s face by then, and Faith didn’t blame her. She was pretty sure as close to the line as she was right now, only B would have the nerve to go toe to toe with her. Course, if it were B, she could actually throw down and burn off the energy that had been relentlessly building the whole time she was cooped up here, fueled by rage and frustration. She was still in control, but it was getting harder to hold on to that the longer they kept her locked up.
And she was locked up. But if these people thought this would break her, maybe they should have paid better attention to McCoy’s report- she knew he’d twigged that she’d spent time on Rura Penthe. Not as long as the Klingon Empire had intended, maybe, but still. Klingon prison was not for the weak. If Starfleet thought they could break her through sheer boredom when the Klingons hadn’t been able to manage it with more direct methods, they were in for a rude awakening.
“Glad we got that settled,” Faith said. It wasn’t quite a snarl. “How about you run back to whoever gave you permission to toddle in here and tell them their lab rat quit. I’m not playing nice anymore. I’ve got a long damn time to sit here and do nothing but figure out how to get out. When that day comes- and it will- no one better be stupid enough to stand in my way. Because on that day, I might not be holding back anymore.”
The woman whimpered. Faith took a single step away from her- just enough to let the woman slide toward where they both knew the real door was.
She’d watched the woman actually run to the door, and the door seal behind her. She dimly registered the chime of a transporter beam, no doubt clearing away the remnants of the hypospray so she couldn’t make a weapon out of it.
“Computer, walls transparent!” Faith commanded.
Abruptly, she could see the control room beyond one wall of her cell. As she’d expected, it was fully staffed with Starfleet personnel- mostly medical, but a few engineering and security types- all looking astonished that she’d worked out how to observe them.
“Sorry, I’m getting just a little irritable in my cage,” she told them with a smirk. “Next one who comes in better be braver. Or at least more interesting. I don’t get live entertainment very often.”
Someone’s hands danced over a control panel and the wall abruptly turned white again. Faith threw back her head and laughed. She wondered what else they hadn’t realized they should bar her from doing… she had a feeling that was going to keep her entertained for a while.