SIM:MIRROR Ayelet: Above Us, Only Sky
Author's Note: Although the Mirror Universe has always been about campy fun (and it is indeed a fun place to write), at its foundation are rather dark ideas: assassinations, genocide, and slavery, just to name a few. In this sim, I wanted to explore the background of "mirror" Ayelet, whom I previously described as an "odd and mischievous Terran" in her whirlwind of an introduction, "The Stars Aligned", where she literally melted the hearts (and faces) of men including the mirror version of my PC Charlie Sampi.
I wouldn't say Mirror Ayelet is mean or evil... just dangerously amoral and a little bit "off." There's a bit of Harley Quinn (from Batman) in her personality. In "Above Us, Only Sky," we see partly how she got that way and how she survived in such a dangerous universe. One of the greatest evils in our own universe is the exploitation of women and children, and I decided I didn't want to pretend such evils weren't at the heart of the Mirror Universe as well, no matter how campy it might have first seemed when we first saw Spock with a goatee on our television sets. When we realize just what kind of business Mirror Ayelet's "adopted" parents are into, I wanted readers to find it revolting, and when she later meets Kopar, I wanted readers to wish him dead.
Still, after I had finished writing the sim, I read it over again and decided it was perhaps a bit *too* dark. I removed explicit references to young Mirror Ayelet's age as well as that of her friend Nadira. There was never anything else further gratuitous in the sim, but that edit seemed the best way to strike a balance for those who might be off put from reading this particular sim in the context of the larger mission plot of the ship. Readers who cared could pick up on various hints to the true horror of the circumstances, while others could keep the details vague.
If I were to rewrite the sim today, I think I would remove young Mirror Ayelet's one liner response at the end of the final flashback. It seemed a nice way to tie back to the previous flashback, but I rather like the imagery of her just standing in silence outside the pen as she witnesses the "unfortunate accident" (evidently, the first of many to come).
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 238811.10.
((FLASHBACK: Many years ago in the Mirror Universe))
Nadira: Come on, Ayelet. It's time to go.
::The teenage Terran girl walked over to her friend, who was still lying on the ground staring up at the evening stars.::
Nadira: Hello? Ayelet? You don't want to get in trouble again, do you?
m-Ayelet: Do you think there's a place out there somewhere where another you--and another me--are looking back down at us right now?
::Nadira put her hands on her hips. It seemed Ayelet was in one of those moods again.::
Nadira: What is it with you and always asking such silly questions?
m-Ayelet: It's not a silly question!
Nadira: Yes, it is. ::sighs:: ...fine. Maybe... maybe that one?
::The older girl pointed toward a distant blue star before she playfully kicked Ayelet.::
Nadira: Now come on! You don't want to keep dinner waiting.
::Another voice called from afar. It was that of Rolin, the teenage Cardassian son of the slave trader who owned Ayelet and Nadira.::
Rolin: Are you two coming or not?
::Nadira turned to the boy.::
Nadira: We're coming! ::She turned back to Ayelet and extended a hand out.:: Come on, I'll race you to the house. I bet you can't beat me!
::The younger girl changed her focus from the distant stars to her friend's face and smiled.::
m-Ayelet: You're on!
::Ayelet grabbed a hold of Nadira's arm to get up and then suddenly pulled Nadira to the ground before racing off.::
Nadira: Hey, that's cheating! ::laughs:: Oh, just wait until I catch you!
::Ayelet didn't turn back and instead gave a high-pitched giggle as she ran to the house. When she reached the doorway, she turned to see her friend walking back, except she wasn't in as much of a hurry as Ayelet had been. Walking next to her was Rolin, holding her hand. Ayelet smirked as she watched the older pair. It was no secret Rolin liked Nadira; anyone could see that. Ayelet didn't really believe Nadira either when she claimed to be ignorant of the boy's feelings.::
Tibrac: Well, hello, Ayelet. And I was afraid we'd have to put away this wonderful dinner.
::Ayelet turned and smiled at Rolin's father, a middle-aged, portly Cardassian. The two Terran girls had somehow ended up in the hands of Tibrac six years ago. Ayelet didn't really remember how or why, nor did she understand what Tibrac's line of work entailed. She figured perhaps the man wanted to treat the girls as adoptive daughters. Ayelet had been thrilled when she discovered that she and Nadira would get their very own room filled with toys, dolls, and a closet full of clothes for them to wear. Tibrac and his wife's home seemed as if it were made for them. Sure, many of the items looked used, but this certainly was the nicest place that Ayelet could ever remember calling home.::
Tibrac: ::to Nadira and Rolin:: Rolin, Nadira! Hurry up, now.
::The other two joined them for dinner, and after an otherwise uneventful night, Ayelet went to bed not knowing how much her world was about to change.::
((Corridor, USS Independence-A))
Computer: Seven minutes until self-destruct.
Kadosh: Don't worry, we're almost there.
m-Ayelet: I wasn't worried!
Kadosh: Oh, well I just didn't want you to be nervous.
m-Ayelet: I'm not. ::beat:: Are you?
Kadosh: No... okay, yes. Maybe a little.
m-Ayelet: ::smiles:: Maybe a little for me, too.
::The lieutenant smiled back, but then a new voice sounded as they rounded the corner.::
Eres: Well, well, well... if it isn't my favorite nurse? And there are two of you now! How delightful!
::The Bajoran terrorist had somehow gotten free from her security detail during the mass exodus from sickbay and now she was alone with the two Ayelets in the corridor holding a phaser.::
Kadosh: Eres, we don't have time for this! The ship is going to self-destruct in less than seven minutes!
::The Bajoran smiled and then fired her phaser at the nurse, striking her in the abdomen. Lieutenant Kadosh fell back and winced at the pain.::
Eres: Think of that as getting even for stunning me earlier, Nurse Kadosh. I assure you, however, that the next time I fire, it won't be on stun. Now, I'm going to the shuttlebay so that I can get off this ship safely. I suspect with your help, I could get there faster, but if you don't cooperate, I'm perfectly happy to shoot you both right now to let you die with this ship.
::Ayelet and her twin shared an uneasy glance before looking back at the Bajoran.::
Eres: What will it be?
((FLASHBACK: Many years ago in the Mirror Universe))
::The next day had started normal enough. It was sunny outside as Ayelet read from her book, but then she looked up from the text. Someone downstairs was shouting.::
Man: That's it? I came all the way over here for you to offer me nothing?!
Tibrac: You didn't seem to have any issues when we were negotiating over subspace...
::Ayelet put down the book she had been reading and walked down a few of the stairs, crouching on the top steps to see what was going on. From her perch, she saw Tibrac in the parlor talking to another Cardassian man, one she didn't recognize. Nadira was sitting in a chair crying as Rolin stood by. The stranger seemed a bit younger than Tibrac but there was still a slight bit of gray already intruding into his otherwise slick black hair that nearly matched his dark clothing.::
Man: You clearly misrepresented the merchandise. She's much too old!
Tibrac: Old? These are Terran girls. They do not mature as quickly as Cardassian women.
Man: ::snorts:: Is that what you've been telling all those you've swindled? The last girl you sold me was nowhere near as old as this one!
Tibrac: That was a long time ago. I've learned how to raise them better since then.
::The man gave a final disgusted glance at Nadira and then Rolin.::
Man: Yes, I guess so... I've had enough. I'm sorry you wasted my time-
::The agitated man turned around to leave but then stopped once he caught sight of Ayelet peering behind the railing of the staircase.::
Man: Oh, what do we have here? ::turns back to Tibrac:: Keeping your best for yourself, eh?
::Ayelet tilted her head as she looked at the man. She didn't understand what he meant by that.::
Tibrac: She... is not for sale yet.
::The stranger gave a sign of disgust.::
Man: Why not?
Tibrac: She's not ready.
Man: I'll give you what I offered for the other one plus another half.
Tibrac: I think you misunderstand. When I say she's not for sale, she's not for sale.
::The man looked at Ayelet and then back at Tibrac and chuckled. He walked back to the other Cardassian man slowly and then sneered.::
Man: And I think you misunderstand, old man.
::The stranger opened his coat slightly to reveal a disruptor holstered underneath.::
Man: My offer to you is that of a gentleman, but rest assured, I will procure what I want. It's up to you whether or not you profit by it. What will it be?
::Tibrac glanced down at the weapon and then back at the man.::
Tibrac: At least... at least take the other one as well. You can't take her away from everything and everyone she's ever known. She hasn't been properly trained yet.
Man: ::laughs:: Oh, don't worry. I'll enjoy training her myself-
Nadira: No! You can't have her!
::The Cardassian boy put his hand on Nadira's shoulder.::
Rolin: Nadira, stay out of this!
Nadira: This is wrong! She's too young!
Man: Tibrac, if you do not silence that wench, I will.
Tibrac: Nadira! ::turns back to the Man:: Look, do we have a deal?
Man: No deal. I don't need some whiny brat wandering my estate. Now because I'm feeling charitable, I'm willing to double my offer for the loss of what is clearly your favorite... pet. I strongly suggest you take it.
::There was a slight pause before Tibrac sighed.::
::The stranger smiled broadly and then turned to the stairs. He slowly walked up towards Ayelet.::
Man: Come on now. This way, little one.
::Ayelet didn't respond. Her curious gaze seemed to unsettle the man. He turned back to Tibrac.::
Man: She does know how to speak, doesn't she?
Tibrac: Yes, of course. ::to Ayelet:: Come on, Ayelet. It's all right. You're going to live with this gentleman now.
Man: Yes, now come to me.
::The man offered his hand out, but the young girl didn't take it. Frustrated the man suddenly grabbed Ayelet by her dark brown hair, yanking so forcefully that it made Ayelet scream out in pain.::
Man: Let's go!
::Just then, Nadira stood up and ran to the stairs, trying to pull the man away from Ayelet. The Cardassian cursed and kicked Nadira hard, causing her to fall back and crash through the railing, down to the floor. Ayelet was still screaming when the man turned back to her.::
Man: Ah, she screams like a banshee. ::grins:: Most enjoyable.
Nadira: Enjoy this!
::The Cardassian turned to see that the older Terran girl had grabbed one of the support rungs. She swung it at the man's face, hitting him in the eye with a loud crack.::
Man: Agh! ::holding his bleeding face:: How dare you, filthy Terran!
Rolin: Nadira, no!
::Rolin ran up to pull Nadira away from the man, but the stranger wasn't satisfied. He drew his weapon and aimed it at the girl.::
Tibrac: Stop! We've got her under control.
Man: Sorry, Tibrac. No deal.
::Ayelet gasped as she looked at her friend one last time before the man pulled the trigger.::
((Shuttlebay, USS Independence-A))
::Ayelet supported Nurse Kadosh as they entered the abandoned shuttlebay. Debris and other equipment lay scattered across the deck. Eres quickly inspected one of the shuttles.::
Eres: This one looks like it'll do. I trust you can activate the start up sequence?
::Nurse Kadosh gasped as Ayelet helped set her down.::
Kadosh: Yes, I can help you launch it.
Computer: Four minutes until self-destruct.
::The Bajoran stepped up to the nurse, pointing the phaser at her head.::
Eres: Well, then I suggest you get to it, nurse.
::Nurse Kadosh gave Eres a cold look before speaking.::
Kadosh: Computer, activate launch sequence for Shuttlecraft 3 Kitty Hawk in preparation for search and rescue operation. Authorization: Med-Three-Three-Kadosh-Delta-One.
Computer: Warning. Forcefield systems have been damaged. Shuttle launch sequence will result in immediate decompression of the shuttlebay.
Eres: Looks like we're going to have to do this from inside.
::The three women made their way into the shuttle. Once the hatch was closed, Eres ordered Nurse Kadosh to activate the launch sequence. An alarm sounded as the shuttlebay doors slowly opened. Air and debris were quickly sucked out into the vacuum of space.::
Eres: Why thank you, Nurse Kadosh. And this is where I'm afraid we say goodbye.
::Ayelet watched as the Bajoran steadied her weapon's aim at her mirror twin.::
((FLASHBACK: Many years ago in the Mirror Universe))
::The stranger turned out to be a wealthy man named Kopar, and he indeed had a large estate. Ayelet was actually just one of several Terran slaves he kept on its grounds. As the newest member, she had been assigned to take care of waste removal from the exotic animals he owned and kept in his stable, some of whom enjoyed nicer amenities than the Terran slaves.
Walking up to the pen of one of the Vulcan sehlats, Ayelet loaded another cart of excrement to be dematerialized. It was hard, intense, and dirty labor, but she actually seemed to get along with the sehlats, and at least it meant she wasn't back at the house. She hadn't had to deal with anything too harsh yet from Kopar. Just a few rough kisses here and there, but she didn't want to wait and find out what else he might have planned for her if the stories from the other slaves were true.
Ayelet paused from her work and looked up at the evening sky again. The stars were different from that last night she had spent with Nadira two months ago, but she thought she recognized a few of them. A bright blue one in particular.::
Kopar: Oh, Ayelet... are you there, sweetie?
::Kopar gave a hearty laugh.::
Kopar: I think I enjoy your sense of humor the most, my dear Ayelet. Tibrac never understood the importance of advertising such qualities.
::Ayelet turned to see Kopar emerge under the moonlight. His face still showed the dark scars left by Nadira that ran from his right eye and down across his cheek. The man had obviously been drinking tonight. If it weren't for his drunken stagger, the bottle of kanar he held onto tightly in his left hand was sure enough evidence of that.::
m-Ayelet: I still have work to do.
Kopar: ::laughs again:: This is *my* estate, Ayelet. I decide what work you have, and tonight, I say you're finished. At least that is with hauling waste.
::Ayelet starting stepping back away from the man as he approached.::
Kopar: Why are you moving away from me? Aren't you glad for my generosity? Don't you want to show your appreciation?
::The girl bowed her head slightly.::
m-Ayelet: Yes. Thank you, sir, for your consideration. I'll go to my room now.
Kopar: Oh, I think you and I can share some quality time right out here.
::The man took a sip from the bottle.::
Kopar: Besides, Madame Kopar doesn't really like it when I play with my toys in the house. Do you like your toys I got for you by the way, Ayelet?
::The little girl kept stepping backward until she could walk back no farther. There was a slight clang as she stepped back against the fence to the sehlat's pen.::
m-Ayelet: I hadn't noticed.
Kopar: Oh? Then you're in for a delightful surprise! I remember Tibrac told me how much you like dolls. I bought a few of the latest ones from Cardassia for you to play with.
::The man reached the trembling little girl and looked down as he towered over her.::
Kopar: Ayelet, why are you shaking?
::The young girl gazed up at the man.::
m-Ayelet: Because you're going to hurt me.
::He crouched down and gave her a kiss on the forehead.::
Kopar: Why would I ever hurt such a sweet, beautiful creature such as yourself?
::Kopar smiled as he closed his eyes and kept his face close to her head, sniffing in the scent from her hair. As he reached to grab her, though, she suddenly wasn't there. He opened his eyes and was startled to see that she had run off into the sehlat pen. Staggering, Kopar made his way under the fence as well. However, his inebriated state and the darkness combined to impair his ability to find the girl.::
Kopar: Ayelet? Ayelet? As much as I enjoy these little games, my patience is wearing thin... where are you, Ayelet?
::Kopar looked around the seemingly empty pen. Where had the girl gone?::
Kopar: Okay, Ayelet. You win. I'll make a new deal with you. Let's just go back to the house together, and I'll make us a fresh dish of Regova eggs? I was told they're your favorite... or how about your own Taspar egg? Ayelet? ::He stopped in his tracks and took another sip from the bottle of kanar.:: Ayelet! Come out now! I demand it!
::There was a loud shriek, and Kopar turned just in time to see an enraged sehlat charging right at him. After a minute or so of yelling, more animal shrieks, and the sounds of bones crunching, it was quiet again. Ayelet emerged from the other side of the pen's fence and looked blankly at the body of the trampled Cardassian.::
m-Ayelet: No deal.
((Shuttlecraft 3 Kitty Hawk, Main Shuttlebay, USS Independence-A))
::As the Bajoran took aim at the nurse, time seemed to slow for Ayelet. She looked back at the access hatch control panel, and then back at her twin. She grabbed the nurse around the waist and then pushed the release for the access hatch. As the hatch opened, air in the shuttle loudly escaped into the shuttlebay, and the pilot chairs swiveled towards the opening. The startled Bajoran lost her grip of the phaser, and it too was quickly sucked out of the shuttle.::
Eres: Agh, you stupid Terran!
::Ayelet held on hard to both her twin and the grip on the wall of the shuttle interior. Unfortunately, there were no such grips for Eres to hold onto, and she tumbled over the chairs headfirst towards the rear of the shuttle. Before she was completely pulled out, though, she managed to grab a hold of Ayelet's leg. She looked up, suddenly with desperation in her eyes.::
::But soon her grip was broken, and she too was sucked out of the shuttle into the shuttlebay and then into space. With both hands occupied, Ayelet tapped the access controls again but this time with her foot. After the hatch closed and the shuttle repressurized, she and Nurse Kadosh collapsed to the floor gasping for breath.::
Computer: One minute until self-destruct.
Kadosh: ::coughing:: Ayelet, we... must... get off the... ship before-
m-Ayelet: It's okay.
::Ayelet tapped her counterpart's combadge.::
m-Ayelet: =/\= Ayelet... I mean, Lieutenant Ayelet. Lieutenant Ayelet Kadosh to transporter control. One to beam out now! =/\=
Transporter chief: =/\= Understood, lieutenant! =/\=
::The nurse frowned.::
Kadosh: ::weakly:: But... Ayelet... you can't stay-
m-Ayelet: I'll be fine.
::Ayelet smiled at her twin.::
m-Ayelet: When you get back home, and you look up at the stars, you'll know I'm out there somewhere.
::The other Ayelet's saddened expression finally dissolved into a small smile as well before the transporter took her away. Ayelet turned back towards the front of the shuttle and began piloting it out of the ship. As explosions started to rip apart the strange Terran vessel called Independence, Ayelet sent her shuttle into warp. She didn't look back, instead focusing her attention ahead towards a distant blue star that shone brightly against all the others in the night sky.::