– IV –
Nora and Clancy escorted Yunta into the security office only to find Sirna Kolrami and Sierra Decaux already there, both equally handcuffed and with a security guard watching over them.
“What is the meaning of this?” Kolrami said and jumped on his feet the moment he saw Nora Laas enter the room. He didn’t get far when the security officer placed a strong hand on his shoulder to restrain him. “You can’t treat us like this,” he huffed loudly. “This is completely out of line,” he continued, clearly having received the same treatment as Yunta Fey.
“Have they made you aware of the charges against you?” Nora said.
“Something about a conspiracy nonsense.”
“Conspiracy to commit murder and suspicion of murder,” she said calmly. “Do you understand these charges?”
“No, I don’t understand at all,” he said. “I passed your lie detector test. You know I didn’t kill Gedar.”
But Nora glanced at Decaux who still sat in her chair, keeping her eyes diverted. “Crewman, do you understand the charges brought against you?”
She looked up, her eyes wide but didn’t speak.
Clancy spoke next. “All three of you have the right to refuse questioning as well as legal representation.”
“However, if you cooperate now we may be able to clear things up more quickly,” added Nora.
“Then let’s clear things up right now,” said the engineer. “I’m innocent.”
Clancy didn’t miss the odd look Decaux was giving the Zakdorn. It was gone in a flash.
“We will talk to all three of you in turn,” said Nora and then gestured for her security officers to separate the three suspects and move them into individual rooms. The security office only had one interview room so they had cleared Nora’s office and converted a storage room to be use for questioning.
Once all three were secure, Nora turned to the counselor. “Alright, so now what?”
“Now we wait.”
Ten minutes they waited until they went to see Yunta Fey who was sitting anxiously in her chair when they walked into the interview room. Clancy sat down while Nora stayed on her feet, her eyes piercing the other Bajoran but otherwise keeping mum.
Yunta returned the stare but it was Clancy who spoke up first.
“I have to be honest, Corporal, it’s not looking good.”
She redirected her glance. “What are you talking about?”
“We have enough evidence to make a case against you plotting with the others to kill Lieutenant Gedar and so far it appears you are the ringleader,” he said while he kept reviewing a padd he had brought.
“We already know that you went to see Gedar that night in engineering,” he continued. “Which means we can place you at the scene of the crime, giving you opportunity. We know you had the means as you are physically stronger than Gedar which we can evidence by the bruising on his body and you have motive as you admitted that you were enraged that he had cheated on you with Crewman Decaux.”
“I didn’t kill him, I told you this.”
Clancy continued unperturbed. “Maybe a deal can be made,” he said. “There is a small chance we can reduce the charge to manslaughter but only if you cooperate. If you’ll help us reconstruct exactly what happened, perhaps we can convince the prosecution to seek a lesser sentence.”
She stared hard at the counselor and then back at the security chief. “You’re bluffing. You’ve got nothing on me.”
“Stop playing games, Fey,” Nora said sharply. “We know that you along with Kolrami and Decaux planned this together. You all had your own reasons to go after Gedar. The only question remains, which one of you actually killed him. I’m guessing Decaux, she’s the most unstable of the bunch but if we can’t get one of you to go down for this, you’ll go down together.”
The Marine turned her head away.
* * *
Nora rushed into the converted storage room. Most of the items kept here had been removed save for a couple of bolted down and locked cabinets. A small table and three chairs had been set up. Decaux looked up with concern in her big eyes as the Bajoran barged inside, Clancy following closely.
“She gave you up,” Nora said without preamble.
Clancy took one of the chairs opposite her and offered a sympathetic look. “We know, Sierra. We know what you, Kolrami and Yunta had planned. We know that you all had a bone to pick with Gedar. Yunta says it was your idea.”
“What? My idea?”
Nora hit the table hard with the palm of her hands, causing the lithe woman to jump and look up. “She gave us everything, Crewman. Kolrami hated Gedar’s guts for his behavior and the fact that he was in line for promotion over him. Yunta was furious that he had picked you over her and you, you couldn’t take it that he had already decided to move on to somebody else. So you got together with them to teach Gedar a lesson he would never forget.”
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Clancy offered.
“No, no you don’t understand,” she said, shaking her head desperately.
“Oh we understand, alright,” said Nora. “All three of you will pay for what you did. Yunta and Kolrami will be charged with conspiracy and spend the next ten to fifteen years in a rehabilitation colony. You on the other hand will go straight to a supermax facility for cold-blooded murder.”
“I … listen, it’s not like that.”
“Are you denying that you planned to go after Gedar?” Clancy said, keeping his voice much calmer and steadier than Nora did.
“Yes, I mean no. I was mad at him. We all were but we just wanted to teach him a lesson. That’s all.”
Nora and Clancy exchanged a brief glance while Decaux unsuccessfully attempted to dry her tears. They had suspected some form of conspiracy but so far there had been nothing but circumstantial evidence. Contrary to their claims Yunta had held fast, not admitting anything. Decaux’s confession was their first break.
“So something went wrong,” said Clancy focusing on their suspect again. “You confronted him and things went out of control and he was killed.”
“You pushed him over, didn’t you? You pushed him over that railing,” Nora pressed.
“No, no, no,” she cried. “I didn’t kill him, I loved him. I … I think I loved him. I don’t know anymore.”
“You were blinded by your passion,” Nora said.
She shook her head furiously. “Fey and I were supposed to confront him and Kolrami would ensure he’d be alone. We were going to shame him … and … I don’t know but before … before we could do it…,” she was sobbing now.
Clancy leaned forward. “What happened before you could confront him?”
She looked right at him. “Kolrami killed him. I saw him do it. Right there in front of my eyes.”
* * *
“This is completely and entirely inappropriate,” the engineer fumed, sitting at Nora’s desk while the security chief, Clancy and two armed security guards entered the office. “The way your men came into engineering and picked me up in front of everyone like a common thug. I will be logging a formal complaint with the captain over this.”
“You will have plenty of opportunity to do so in your prison cell,” said Nora with a smug little smile while she stood close to the desk.
“I didn’t kill Gedar,” he said. “You know that. You performed the lie detector on me and I passed it.”
Clancy took a seat again. “Surely you now that those are not foolproof.”
“And not admissible in court either,” Nora added.
“And there was an interesting irregularity in your response,” said Clancy as he looked at the padd.
“What are you talking about?”
“See when we asked you if you knew of anybody else with Gedar on the night he died you said that you weren’t aware of anyone,” said the counselor.
“No, that’s not right. I told you I saw Professor Rosenthal.”
Nora smirked. “You remembered Professor Rosenthal after your answer. But the autonomous response analysis doesn’t quite work like that. It measures your responses at the time you answer the question. It cannot take into account things you may remember after the fact.”
“Which means you told us a purposeful lie when you said that you didn’t know anyone else being with Gedar that night,” said Clancy.
“Not quite,” said Nora. “Seeing that Decaux and Yunta just confessed to your little conspiracy to teaching Gedar a lesson.”
His face went blank.
“Your mission,” said Clancy, “was to ensure engineering was clear for the little spectacle you had set up so that first Decaux and then Yunta could confront him while you came back at just the opportune moment with a little crowd to reveal to everyone what a supposed fraud Gedar really was.”
“Humiliating Gedar in front of witnesses would ensure that nobody on board would even consider going out with him again while his reputation would take such a hit that even his upcoming promotion might be in doubt,” Nora continued. “But you decided that humiliating him was not enough, isn’t that right?”
“That is not true.”
“The only thing I don’t understand is how you figured you’d get away with this,” said Clancy.
“It’s easy really,” said the security chief. “You probably thought that the other conspirators would accuse each other with nobody ever really knowing who really killed Gedar. All of them with a motive, none would ever come forward. And maybe that is true for Yunta, after all she is a Marine, passionate but also tough and unlikely to bend under pressure but Decaux is not.”
“Wait a minute—“
“She saw you, Lieutenant. She saw you kill him,” Nora said, leaning in closer.
“She’s lying,” he screamed. “She’s lying or she did it herself and is trying to frame me.” He took a deep breath. “Yes, we did plan to humiliate Gedar in public but we didn’t mean to kill him. By the time I got back to engineering neither Yunta nor Decaux were there so I assumed that the plan was off and I left. And later they found him dead down in the pit. But I did not kill him. It must have been Decaux. She’s unstable, surely you’ve realized this by now. She’s lost control and did this.”
* * *
“I have nothing more to say to you,” said Yunta Fey when the two investigators returned to the interview room. “I know what you are trying to do here, playing us off each other and I’ll be no part in it. I’ll say nothing more until I get a legal representative.”
“That’s fine. For now we just need you to listen,” said Nora, this time taking a seat next to Clancy and opposite Yunta who had crossed her arms below her chest defiantly. “You may be the tough one in your little group but Decaux and Kolrami are not and they have given us everything we need to know.”
She refused to make eye contact.
“I’ll just tell you what we’ve got so far and you can decide if you wish to continue the silent routine,” added Clancy and referred back to his padd. “You, Kolrami and Decaux planned to teach Gedar a lesson. Not kill him but humiliate him in public and reveal him for what he truly was. Kolrami was to set the stage in engineering then both you and Decaux would get your turn at him until the grand finale in front of half the engineering crew.”
Nora picked it up from there. “But something went wrong and one of you snapped and killed him, leaving each of you to suspect the other. Decaux believes it was Kolrami and Kolrami is figuring it must have been you.”
Clancy and Nora studied her face intently and the way her lower jar twitched it was obvious she wanted to talk.
“With no clear witness statement we would have to arrest all three of you for conspiracy,” said Clancy.
She shook her head. “It wasn’t me.”
“Now there is something I haven’t heard before,” said Nora dismissively.
Yunta leaned closer. “It wasn’t me.”
“Then who?” Clancy asked.
“Decaux,” she said without hesitation.
“You saw her kill him?” he said
She shook her head. “No, but it’s the only one that makes any sense. She’s not all there, if you know what I mean. She’s got … I don’t know what but she not healthy. She behaved oddly at times when we planned this and then she confronted me in the Nest, shouting and screaming that Kolrami and I had conspired to kill Gedar and blame it on her. Mark my words, it was her.”
* * *
“I like Decaux for this,” said Nora once they had left the interview room again.
But Clancy didn’t appear as convinced. “We don’t really have anything on her. We have her confession that she planned with the others to confront Gedar but not kill him.”
“Both Kolrami and Yunta are firmly pointing her way,” she said.
“But they have offered no evidence or even an eyewitness account. In fact the only one who has given us one is Decaux herself and she claims it was Kolrami.”
Nora looked towards the doors leading into the storage room where Decaux was being kept. “So what does that mean? That we’re back to square one? All this for nothing? I can’t accept that. I say we push Decaux harder and make her give us a confession.”
But Clancy shook his head. “I don’t think that’ll work.”
“She’s weak, I can sense it,” she said, her eyes taking on the hard look of a warrior. “I can break her.”
“Oh, I’m convinced of that but I don’t think that would help us.”
“A confession wouldn’t help us?”
“I think that with enough pressure Crewman Decaux will admit to being the Klingon chancellor, that doesn’t mean she is,” he said shaking his head again. “No, a coerced confession is not admissible in court. The defense will figure it out in no time and not only will the case be thrown out of court, it will also seriously damage your reputation. Not to mention that it would be inhumane to treat her in that manner.”
Nora uttered a heavy sigh and let herself fall back in a chair, knowing that he was right. “Damn you and your humane ways.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Comes with the species, I’m afraid.”
“I’m not letting any of these people go, not until I get a confession from somebody,” she said and looked up at him. “So what do you suggest we do?”
Before he could get an answer the red alert klaxons came to life, warning of impending danger.
Nora jumped back to her feet. “What now?”
That’s when everybody in the room was suddenly and unceremoniously slung to the floor.