((Cabin, the Unicorn))
::Valesha placed her folded uniform into the small alcove with something approaching reverence, slim fingers toying with the teal collar. A dull ache had taken up residence under her ribs since they'd gone to warp, and she wasn't sure if it was ever going to go away. Even if everything went to plan, if Reynolds was right and she was going to get back, name cleared... what was she going back to? A fleet with people willing to frame her for the most despicable crimes, and former friends who probably never wanted to see her again.
::For what felt like the thousandth time, Chris' face swam back into view, tearing a fresh piece from her heart. Leaning her forehead against the bulkhead, the metal cool against her skin, she slapped her palm against the controls of the basic replicator. A small glow of light, a quiet whine, and her uniform was gone, deconstructed into the most basic components of existence.
::And that was that. The quick and easy destruction of her uniform felt as symbolic as the clothing itself had been. Her tousled hair tickled her forehead as she leaned back, and with one last glance at the empty recess, Valesha squeezed her way through the narrow walkspace back into the cockpit, dropping herself back into the empty chair behind Bear.::
Sienelis: So how'd you end up working for the Syndicate?
::Bear didn't look up from helm controls as she spoke, and instead, cocked an eyebrow at the reams of flight information in front of him.::
O. Marshall: You've barely said two words to me since we left, and that's what you want to talk about?
::She shrugged. Of all the questions she had about him, it was the most prominent one in her mind. He'd sold himself and goodness knew who or what else to the Orion Syndicate, and she wanted to know why, especially given her fate was intertwined with his.::
Sienelis: It seems relevant.
::Bear narrowed his eyes at the instruments for a breath or two, before taking a deep one and exhaling it, giving the question and the answer some momentary thought.::
O. Marshall: I'm not working for them. Not technically. ::He frowned, it didn't sound right.:: It's a debt I'll never get out of, unless we pull this off.
Sienelis: ::She snorted, rolling her eyes.:: And with that semantic exercise out of the way, how'd you end up indebted to the Syndicate?
O. Marshall: The same reason you stole a starship.
::Valesha stared intently at the back of his seat, nose wrinkling in confusion. That didn't seem to make any sense at all. All she could think of was that he was being less than literal; it wasn't about the Gorkon specifically, but a desperate act to save someone he cared about.::
::He turned with the seat, swinging on it's pillar, his fingers drumming on the edge of the console. Unsure if she heard him incorrectly the first time, considering his response had been directed into the flight instruments, he repeated himself.::
O. Marshall: The same reason you stole a starship. ::An eyebrow lifted.:: Unless you stole the Yarahla for another grand but illusive purpose.
::She squinted back at him, leaning forward a little. He was being literal, then. But she still wasn't quite certain of his meaning. How could the Syndicate have helped him find the Gorkon? The ship had been trapped in an entirely different reality; a criminal organisation that centered its activities around dealing in all things illegal hardly seemed equipped to offer any kind of assistance.::
Sienelis: You thought the Syndicate could help you find the Gorkon?
O. Marshall: I was told they already had. ::He smiled, though it was thin and disingenuous.:: When you're desperate, you'll believe anything.
Sienelis: Clearly. ::She sat back in her chair again, folding her arms.:: So you figured the best way to say thank you for pulling off what you couldn't, was to kidnap me and hand me over to a bunch of weapons dealing slave traders?
::A blonde eyebrow crested once more and for a brief second, Bear didn't know what to say. Ceasing his drumming, he turned the chair around a little more and gave her a hard look.::
O. Marshall: You figure the best way to say thanks for pulling you off the Gorkon is to think I was actually going to hand you over?
Sienelis: Maybe. Who knows what you've been up to for the past three years. ::She scowled, a thought snapping in the back of her head.:: Probably half of what *I've* been charged with, come to think of it.
::He huffed with a muted but sharp exhale from his nose. She had a point. A good one. Smartass. An uncomfortable feeling settled in his gut under the weight of her scowl, the building blocks of a sinister Romulan resonating in it.::
O. Marshall: I haven't killed anyone, if this is your roundabout way of asking.
Sienelis: ::Her answering retort was quick and sceptical.:: Because it's a line you don't cross, or just because they didn't ask you to?
O. Marshall: I'm a lot of things, but I'm not an assassin. ::His jaw twitched as he swallowed, a momentary flare of anger, unsure if it was the assumption that he might or the reality that he could which bothered him more.:: Is it a line you could? Is forty-seven a reasonable estimation?
::She should have expected the question thrown back at her, given the circumstances. But she hadn't, and she physically recoiled from it, pressing herself back into her chair. It didn't sting quite as much as when Chris had asked almost the same thing, but it did come with the wretched realisation that it probably wouldn't be the last time it would be asked, either.::
Sienelis: No. ::She frowned, looking away from him, avoiding her reflection in the cockpit window, too.:: I've never... I'm just a scientist.
::As she curled back in on herself, there was a little — a very, very small part — of the man that felt bad for vaulting the accusation at her. However, the times and circumstances of which they were currently in were interesting, to say the least. He watched her carefully as he spoke.::
O. Marshall: But you're not *just* a scientist, are you? If you were, we wouldn't be here.
::Green eyes flicked back over toward him, brow pulling together in a frown of frustration and dismay. It was exactly that belief that had put her there; that she was a saboteur, a spy, a murderer... anything and everything despicable, not just a woman who loved the stars.::
Sienelis: Fine. I'm a particularly smart and resourceful scientist.
O. Marshall: Sure you are. ::He nearly choked on the snort of derision, features coated in sardonicism, and turned back to the flight instruments.:: I wonder what the Syndicate wants with such a smart and resourceful scientist.
Sienelis: I don't know.
::He doubted she'd tell him even if she did. Bear glanced out of the cockpit windows in front. Time stretched into silence as colours blurred past them, the indigo black of space lit with the trails of stars they left in the wake of their warp field. He wondered if the Gorkon would be hot on their tail, a thought briefly flickered to the Admiral and Johns in the brig, Samira and the hollow feeling of not seeing her again, Sera, and... Jo. Carving out a life of her own, independent and free.
::It was that singular notion that made him put an end to the stifling quiet.::
O. Marshall: It never gets any easier, leaving everything behind.