Location: Moscow, Russia, Earth
Timeline: Shore Leave #2
Millie opened her eyes as the fog cleared. The last thing she had recalled was leaving the Bolshoi following a meeting and she was going to meet Banks for lunch afterwards. She was waiting for a public transport when she was grabbed by someone from behind and felt the sting of a hypo on her neck.
The sound of ice cubes hitting a glass broke her out of her thoughts.
Millie shook her head, trying to clear the fog from her brain and to bring her vision back into focus. She pushed herself a little more upright in the chair, holding onto the sides for support. "Wha---" She licked her lips, trying to will some feeling back into them. "What happened?"
A man spoke. "You were abducted in front of your theatre." The sound of liquid being poured into the glass. "Then you were brought here, and now you're awake. That's about all the details."
"*Abducted?*" Millie's heart leapt into her throat, and she tried to will her feet to work underneath her. And then...there was that voice...
"You would have preferred murdered on the street instead?" The man set the bottle down, and took an audible sip. "After that last time we met at the resort I've been thinking of this moment. When you ruined my plans. I almost had my property back."
Instinctively, Millie reached up for the combadge that should have been affixed to her chest, but felt nothing but the fabric of her blouse. "You..."
Another sip. "I don't expect you to be able to understand how it is living in the shadow...no pun intended....of a titan of industry. A legacy based on ego and ruthlessness. No one understands that and what it does to a person. So when someone like her decides to embarrass me in front of said titan, there is a price to pay and that price is pain."
Millie rubbed her eyes with her slightly-numb hand, the room slowly starting to come into focus. A desk, a bed, her chair, a door with a hallway. Not much else "But...she doesn't love you..."
"Because of him. And he'll be dealt with, the same as you so she can pay that price. I'll take everyone she cares for one at a time."
"And what would that achieve?" Millie swallowed hard. She was starting to feel her face again, and the room was a little bit more in focus. She looked around the room, trying to get a better bearing on her surroundings. "You take everyone away, and...she is supposed to fall in love with the man who kills everyone she cares about?"
James set his drink down on the hotel room desk. "No....she's supposed to suffer as I have. Like I said, you wouldn't understand."
"Then tell me," Millie said with a wince, still trying to focus through the effects of the sedative wearing off. "How have you suffered?"
He picked up his glass. "When I finish this, you'll be finished. But for now we have time." He pulled out the desk chair and sat. "As a child I had everything I could have wanted from the outside. The eldest child, the heir apparent. What the billions who rely on my family's empire for everything from the cradle to the grave never get to see is the true face of my parents."
He took a sip.
"Everyone assumes my father is the one calling the shots and to a large extent he is but it's been my mother in his ear from the day he plucked her off this cesspool of a planet. She's the one who pushed him to expand the company my grandfather began. To militarize it. To exterminate anyone and anything in its way. Nothing is ever good enough for her and I am at the top of that list. So I rebelled. I began training with our Shadow Youth special forces, training the next generation of spies and killers.
"Then one day a young girl, no more than fifteen came in. She was rough, street smart, but lazy and uncoordinated. But she had fire, God she had fire. I was immediately attracted and made a crucial mistake. I brought her home to meet my mother. Her only son in love with a common girl from the streets? So I decided to continue with it, to spite my mother. A decade and a half later, that girl I sculpted into a perfect machine stabbed me in the back in front of ten billion people. After all I did, after all I sacrificed. That's not something you just shrug off."
"So, you have one of those mothers, too, da?" Millie almost chuckled. How could she not? She'd been kidnapped against her will, and was pretty sure she was not walking out of the room alive. She rubbed the bridge of her nose with her fingers. "Nothing is ever good enough for a mother. No matter how good you get, no matter what you achieve...it's never good enough for them."
He nodded. "When I was twenty five I lead our forces in crushing a rebellion. You know what she said to me when I returned? Why did it take three days? Three days to control an entire world and it wasn't good enough." He paused a moment. "What has your mother done to you?"
Millie sat up a bit, raising an eyebrow. "You mean you haven't dug through any kind of a file on me yet?" She pushed the wisps of hair out of her face. "Look at my medical record. See if you can connect the dots."
"Why bother when your next medical report will be an autopsy?" He took another sip. "You know, if you were to survive, that's something else my mother would be angry about." He finished with a chuckle to himself.
"How many times has your mother beaten you?" was Millie's somewhat-quiet question.
He seemed to think about that. "Never. If she knew I was with a Russian that might change."
"If mine knew that I was talking to a man at all, I'd have to be snuck out of the Bolshoi to get medical attention." Millie paused, quietly, her eyes averted to the floor. She opened her mouth, as if to say something else, but stopped herself.
James watched her. "Speak what's on your mind while you still can." His tone was laced with annoyance.
"When I decided to follow a path different than what she wanted, my mama..." Millie swallowed back the lump in her throat. "She didn't speak to me for 6 years. After I joined Starfleet...she felt I betrayed her. When I finally went to see her in person, she spat at me. Told me that I was not her daughter, that her daughter had died six years ago. Hit me across the face, in--"
Millie's voice waivered. "Trisha saw the whole thing."
"Did she kill your mother on the spot?"
"She--she bought the ballet company. Had it gifted to me." Millie leaned forwards, her elbows on her knees. "I've been running the Bolshoi since that day. I---" Millie looked up, finally making eye contact with him. "I fired my mother a little over a year ago."
"So she did learn something from me." He met her eyes. "I wish I could fire mine as well."
"Why can't you?" was her simple inquiry.
"Because she's likely to view attempted matricide as treason." That brought an honest laugh and another sip. There was not much left in the glass.
"Is it what you wanted?" Millie's eyes returned to his. "Being a part of...all of this?"
"The only thing I wanted, since I was a boy was his attention." He paused for a moment and stood, taking a long sip before putting the glass back on the desk with a clank and a slush of the minuscule amount of liquor left at the bottom, looking down at her. "If she is as punctual as always she'll be here within three minutes. I guess we'll have to conclude this some other time."
Millie blinked, confused. "Some other time?"
He didn't reply, instead just turning and walking out the door.
"Wait!" Millie yelled, almost instinctively. She attempted to stand, not entirely feeling stable on her feet, and stumbled to the desk, grabbing it for support.
A moment after she reached the desk, the door was kicked in. Banks entered, a pistol in each hand extended out. When she saw Millie she surveyed the room quickly. "What did he do to you?"
"Nothing," Millie said, shaking her head. "You just missed him."
Banks looked to the door, and visibly considered the chase but turned to Millie. "Let's get you out of here."
"But, he..." Her eyes fell to the glass on the table, the sliver brown liquid, unfinished. Millie let out a shaky breath, turned to Banks, and nodded.
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio
Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio