Reprieve

Jude Murphy materializes and looks around, his eyebrows lifting even before he is completely corporeal. A private residence. When he is solid he is led inside by the female who guards him, and he makes a beeline for the fireplace, then turns his back to it, assuming a stand of military parade rest. "Greetings, Fleet Captain." his voice rumbles. "I do hope you are feeling better." she probably notices that he's walked in and placed his back to the wall, not any of the doors or windows. Old habits die hard, for sure.

Poison.Toocool paces the carpet in front of her fireplace, slowly, waiting for them to beam the prisoner, Jade Murphy, to her residence. She had debated whether to visit him in the brig (seemed cold), have him in her ready room or briefing room (sterile) or have him here. He had been in custody for nearly two weeks, working on his defense for the charges against him. She had not seen him alone until this point. Nor had she told Souleymane his dear friend and adopted father was even on Astra. She continues to pace. She had decided to bring him here, so she could be out of uniform, and so they could speak away from the station. He materializes and moves to the fireplace. Her home is secured with force fields and there are security personnel patrolling the grounds. She turns to look at him, "Good day, Mr Murphy," she says. "I am better, thank you. Are they treating you well up there," she gestures to the sky. "Thank you for agreeing to this meeting," she adds, "it is not official, per se. But of course anything you tell me will be remembered." She felt it wise to caution him not to prejudice his defense in speaking with her privately. "If you wish to have your legal representative here, that would be agreeable," she nods her head.

Jude Murphy takes the place in .. light and bright and ... he sighs and listens to her. "I am fed three times a day and left alone otherwise, unless Babu or Buni bring me my tea or wish to speak to me." he gives her half a grin. "I'm loving every second of it." he nods. "I will tell Babu what he needs to know. We will both remember, I am sure." he waves it away and keeps out of any light streaming in the openings.

Poison.Toocool remains standing, looking to Jude. Last time they had met she had been unwell. She has only really seen him twice before. But this is the first time she has actually had time to observe him completely. He is tall, and his face is terribly scarred. She can only imagine the pain he must have suffered. He declines to have his counsel present and she smiles softly, pleased. "We really haven't had a chance to meet properly. Of course you know I am Colony Commander, but here, in my home, out of uniform, I am just Po. For this meeting, if you will permit, we will use first names?" She moves to the table behind her, gesturing, "I have here some tea and fresh rolls, fruit. All locally made, no replicators. It is the kind of breakfast I have every day. Please help yourself if you would like something." In her experience of humans, hospitality was a common thread, and she wished him to feel comfortable.

Jude Murphy listens to the words and nods. "You are the colony commander, the Fleet Captain but also you are the love Souleymane's life." he states. "Alright then, I will call you Po and you call me Jude. Which is better than being called Lieutenant Commander. I haven't been called that in decades. LONG before Cardassia." he moves to the table, giving the sunbeams a wide berth. He looks at the foods, all locally made but opts for the now for a cup of coffee. "Did Idrissa make these?" he wonders. "If I live through this I want to meet her. If it comes to that, please consider it my last wish. To see the Senghor twins." he drinks deeply, seemingly considering the food carefully.

Poison.Toocool felt somewhat awkward, although her demeanor probably did not show it. But she poured herself a cup of Earl Grey, and moved back to the sitting area, giving him space to help himself to whatever he wishes, thoughtfully gazing out the window. "Idrissa has a cafe here, she delivers me a box each morning now," she says softly, and she turns, "They have not been informed as to your presence here, as yet. First for security reasons, and secondly to give you time to build your defense. It was felt by... certain parties, that a deserter should be given no privileges." She's had two arguments with Minx about it.

Jude Murphy nods and drinks the coffee. He reaches for a pastry and eats it. "I suspected all of that." he says when he swallows. "And I agree completely .. with all of it." he chuckles very softly. "And if Souleymane gives you a hard time about it, please tell him so. I am a deserter so, naturally, I was well aware that I would be confined." he makes it a statement, as if the action were natural and right. "I make no requests for special treatment. Part of me has been waiting for you ... meaning Starfleet, of course, to find me, try and and execute me." again a simple statement. "I'm afraid I simply do not have it in me to commit suicide. Some of us fail to do so when it is best." he sighs .. it was in his opinion his worst dereliction of duty, although he has lately told himself he is doing it for Souleymane and Idrissa .. and the little girl .. all the family he has remaining now.

Poison.Toocool sips her tea, still standing, looking to him as he speaks. It was becoming more difficult for her as time went on, each day that passes would be another nail in her coffin when Souley found out that Jude was on Astra and had been for so long. In a way she was grateful work had kept her from visiting Souleymane at his home for a couple of days. She is pleased to hear that Jude understands and will help Souley see things logically as well. "We might not have found you at all, if it were not for Souley," she says. "But... perhaps I am wrong as Slate Talc was killed by drugs you sold, and then there are the weapons... sooner or later you would have been on our radar." She shakes her head, "I am afraid I don't understand your words about suicide. Surely that was neither required or expected?" Everything in her resists the idea that Starfleet would ask someone to take their own life.

Jude Murphy winces. "He won't like that." he sighs. "I've warned him against Starfleet in general but Section 31 ... About Starfleet Intelligence ... for years. He knows well the punishment I could face." he arches a brow and pours another cup of coffee. "Slate Talc? Ohhhhhhh" the light dawns. "That pretty boy in the civvies I sold the silk pearls to. Of course." he shrugs. "I warned him, just like I warned your men to only take one at a time. He didn't listen ... or someone slipped him a double dose. Either way ... and the weapons." again he shrugs. "Well, all of that will come out at trial, or in the plea bargain. But I agree. I would have been found sooner or later." when she mentions not understanding about the suicide, he looks at her for a long time, then shrugs and moves closer to her. "That's classified, and even if you hve the authorization codes, I will not tell you. And you don't want to know." he pauses. "Souleymane has told me some about you. He loves you. You have this .. fresh hope and vision. I will not be the man to .... destroy that."

Poison.Toocool "I was sorry to be the one to tell you about your family," she says softly. "I could see that was a surprise to you. If there is any information you would like to have about them, or if there is anyone else?" she looks to his face, "please let me know we will check our records." She sighs, "I am not a fan of execution either." Looking to him, "Do not imagine that I am less than fully aware of many terrible and heartwrenching things. Yes, I have hope that we can rise above these things." She thinks for a moment. "When you deserted, or rather, were captured, life was different. Fourty years is nearly two generations of humans. Much has changed." She bows her head to him, gently: "Thank you for your view of me. I confess these days the strain does sometimes cause me to lose optimism in my worst moments. But what of you, now you are 'out', you have been 'found', if you were free, what would you do, return to Earth?" she puts her empty cup down on a side table.

Jude Murphy considers her request. "I .... considered asking you if I'd become a grandfather, but ... what difference would it make? My wife and I were estranged. My vanishing was probably the best I could have done for her in her opinion. And she was the type to turn a child against their father because he loved his job more than his woman." he sighs and swallows the bitterness hed caught in his own voice. "Souleymane needs your kind of hope. I'm afraid as positive of thought as I understand Idrissa is ... for Souleymane it will not be enough. Not after what his father and brothers did to him. To both of them, but for Souleymane it was much much worse." he inhales deeply. "But now ... if you do not execute me ... I will remain on N'doto." he tells her. "Earth belonged to the human Jude Murphy. That man died at the hands of the Cardassians." he puts his own empty cup down. "Which reminds me ... you asked what assurances you could have that I would keep Black Dew for my own use. Frankly ... none .. none that I would expect you to believe, with my history of ... covert operations and dirty black ops. But ... I still have enough human in me, I wouldn't do this to another being .... I can't even go outside here ...." he steps towards a sunbeam, filtered by the window and sticks his arm in it. The arm begins to smoke and after a while, he pulls it back. There is a scorch mark, which begins to heal before their eyes. "The sun here is too powerful. Sure I could heal but ... none of it is pleasant. I will not do that to anyone. That much of my oath to Starfleet I will keep. Protecting the universe from that particular danger."

Poison.Toocool "Souleymane has shared with me some of his past. You may not know this," her voice is softer than ever, "but I have no family at all. I was raised alone, on a distant planet, with only a ... foster mother to care for me. When she died, I was lost. I managed to escape from there on a patrol ship, and ended on a world filled with cities and machines... I had to learn language, and how people really lived. Until I found Starfleet I had no structure or philosophy or way of being that made sense. So... Souley may feel I am a 'stick in the mud' when it comes to regulations and the Starfleet way of doing things, but without that foundation I would not have become who you see now. Ten years since I joined," she adds it all up, five years in Academy and almost five years at Astraios. She paces across the rug once, turning back to look at him, "I understand what you are saying about the Black Dew. You are the only one left who is... imprisoned by it? Do you think," she looks thoughtful, "is there any possibility that we might find a way to free you from it? We found a way to help some Jem'Hadar..."

Jude Murphy nods and smiles very softly. "So you are so Starfleet because Starfleet is you." his voice sounds gentle and understanding. "He thinks you are .... Starfleet." he grins. "But he loves you, so he will adjust himself to make the relationship thrive. I hope you understand that, if he didn't love you, he would not be here even trying to make it work." he stops and sighs very deeply. "Everyone else addicted to the Dew is dead. I know because in the end, I killed the last remaining men myself. They were dying ... Cardassia Prime was being destroyed ... I did the right thing." he is unashamed as he confesses to murder. "The Gati have tried and ... no ... besides ... I am the only addict left. I will live until I die ... but at the rate I am aging ...." he shrugs. "Let me die my natural death, or beheading, which I think is the only way I can be killed ... well maybe a phaser set to kill, of course.....". But once I die, have the Gati destroy the drug. They will ... they and I reached that agreement long ago. But do not let anyone BUT Gati touch it."

Poison.Toocool nods, "I do know that. And I hope that Souleymane understands I am for him, even in the face of criticism or doubt from others who do not know him as I do. His family created him and gave him a way of being that is contrary to who he would naturally be. I think he is happier now he is... as the humans say, 'settled' with a home and an adopted family. His beloved sister, the little girl Shenshi, and... me. Idrissa has her Cafe and she has," her voice drops even lower, "Hars." She listens carefully as he explains about the Dew. "Perhaps we were wrong to bring you here, and expose others to the potential of the Dew," she says. "If you were permitted to visit Souleymane, what of the young child that lives with him?" She cannot help but be concerned, although Souleymane had a house on Gati and even stayed with Jude after his escape from Treman, wounded and needing help." She takes a deep breath, "No matter what anyone else things, I feel that you should not be punished for what occurred when you disappeared. It seems to me that you have suffered enough, and continue to suffer, because of what occured. It would be wrong of me, and wrong of Starfleet, to attempt to obtain 'revenge' for your desertion when it clearly was not your choice. Have Babu present his arguments to me in writing on that charge, and I will render my decision." She speaks again as the brisk Colony Commander.

Jude Murphy nods, pleased she seems to have such insight to Souleymane. "I would so what I can to not scare her out of a decades growth." he promises. "But ... if she has seen half as much as I have HEARD she's seen ..... my face could not be the worse she has ever seen." he sighs again. "And .... well ... She has met Onyx while you were on N'Doto .... she is a Gati in the shape of a child ..." he shrugs. "I missed my daughter so much at one point, the Gati commissioned Onyx for me. She is not a child, obviously. She is older than Souleymane, but for a Gati she is a baby." he looks at her slightly shocked. "I ... will pass that on to Babu ...." he speaks slowly. "Thank you ....." he sounds surprized that the charges might be dropped. He expected to simply be executed .... maybe times HAVE changed.

Poison.Toocool has made up her mind, Jude will be given a court martial but will not suffer any penalty except the loss of his pay during the desertion period. "I will have to check the legal precedence but if you will agree to it, there will be no recompense for the income you would have received during the years of your absence, in return for our clemency, but, if you wish it, I could see if there could be a pension based on your active years of service. Before you say no," she holds up a hand, "think. It would give you some security, and it is something you might be able to pass along to a next of kin. An adopted son, for example," she smiles gently. "Souleymane is my mate, and that makes you, a kind of father to me as well," she says, surprised at her own emotions as she says this, her eyes grow moist, "I never had a father."

Jude Murphy listens to her and is indeed about to refuse when she points out his family to him. He only lost his BIOLOGICAL family and so .... . "When you put it like that .... how an I refuse...?" he looks mildly shocked to see her refer to HERSELF as mate .... He clears his throat, sounding almost like the thunder before a spring storm. "Well ... now you do." he considers. "And perhaps ... daughter mine .... we should begin our relationship by teaming up against my son ..." he chuckles. "If you will allow me ... I would like to be the one to explain all of this to Souleymane. It will get you 'off the hook' with him, so to speak." he chuckles. "A family...." he shakes his head, amazed and clearly pleased.

Poison.Toocool nods to him, "For the moment we have to continue as we are, until we can get you officially released. But if Babu has done his work, it should only be a few days at most." Her combadge beeps and she taps it twice to shut it off. "That's a reminder of my next meeting. I am sorry to send you back to the brig, but I am glad we have finally truly met," she smiles to him, "I will be in touch soon."

=^=