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Dr. McCoy was almost ready. Now he did ask me for swabs, of various bodily fluids, having meticulously planned out the most scandalous sex-tinged murder he could devise. He even commanded my sweaty undies from dance; as he said, with utter clinical detachment, they were rich with incriminating evidence.
As the last thing, he drew blood from me. As much as he could, promising he would give me an infusion as soon as we were on the ship. The tools he used were strange, and the process painless, but he took as much as he dared, and I felt the effects immediately.
So, I was woozy and sweaty when my doorbell rang just after 11. Blood loss, rigorous exercise and significant stress made it all I could do to try to keep my breath from coming out in ragged gasps.
And there he was. Lester Worsham in the all too real flesh. He loomed in my doorway, somehow more threatening than ever in the incongruousness of his white golf shirt, his sharply creased khakis. His piggy eyes sparkled with some cold fire. His smile roiled my guts.
“Hani, Hani,” he said softly, “what have you done?”
He didn’t wait to be invited but pushed past me and started down the entrance hall. I shut the door too hard behind him, flustered and awkward.
In my cheerful, sun-lit living room, he stood looking around him curiously.
“For a gal with four hundred million in the bank, you could do a lot better, but it’s… pleasant,” he said, letting me know what he knew. “You know, you intrigue me, Hani, why you should have been so interested in me, all this time. If you wanted to get my attention, you know you didn’t have to work that hard. Frankly, I prefer women who come on to me the old-fashioned way. But you… you had to keep digging, didn’t you?” I saw his eyes sweep around the room. Did he think I was taping him? We were, but not with any technology he’d suspect me of having.
He was sharp, watching my face to see if I’d give anything away. “Oh, darlin’,” he smiled. “You didn’t really think you could set me up with some common scam, did you? You’re smart, but not half as smart as you like to think.”
He moved a little closer, his voice more intimate as he went on.
“When we’re through here, there won’t be anything left for evidence. There won’t be a thing left, trust me.”
My job was to lure him as far as the bedroom. So far, this wasn’t taking a very amorous turn.
I let him keep talking. Anyone talking that much must be very sure that he’s not going to leave witnesses. Besides, I’m not sure I could have gotten a word out. I was that scared.
I suddenly thought about the kitchen door. These old apartments had service entrances. I wondered if he’d come alone or brought reinforcements. No, no. I reminded myself. We’d thought of that. Uhura was standing guard there.
Still, I was frozen in fear, felt sweat dripping down my spine. I knew my reinforcements were just out of sight, and I knew they had weapons, some space guns, ray guns, something. But they weren’t here right now, only me. And even if he thought I was trying to set him up, he was so clearly unafraid, so utterly confident in his own power. I could feel it, could feel the menace that flowed so naturally from the man.
Worsham stepped forward and took my arm. I managed not to scream, but couldn’t suppress a gasp. “You’ve gotten information, Hani, information that you cannot have. And you’re going to tell me where you got it before I kill you.”
He was a big man with big hands. He squeezed my arm so hard it ached. He was practically lifting me off my feet, effortlessly. “Who are you, Hanalie Surat? How do you know what you know? Tell me and I promise not to hurt you… much.”
I was not faking hysteria. I was panting with fear. Trying desperately to remember my lines.
“I… I met some people… online,” I whispered, “I…they sent me information, I don’t even know who they are, they just knew all this …stuff.” I gasped raggedly. “There’s …the stuff today, that was just a little bit, I’ve got more…you can’t kill me, it’ll get out… they’ll know it was you…”
“Let’s see what you’ve got,” He said, cool as ice.
“No,” I shook my head, futilely, “No, it’s already out there. It’s no use…”
Did he not believe that? The pressure on my arm tightened. I cried out in sudden pain.
“Okay.. Okay. Okay. It’s… I hid it… it’s.. in my bedroom…” I said as he gave my arm another jerk, almost yanking my shoulder out of its socket.
“Ah,” he smiled. “Your bedroom. Perfect. Lead on.”
So I stumbled down the hallway, still in his grip. He half-shoved me into my room, closed the door and stood leaning against it. Show me,” he ordered.
According to plan, I pulled up a chair in order to reach the high, old-fashioned cabinets that spanned above the bedroom window. It was a stretch, appropriate for a good hiding place, and I teetered on my toes on the chair. Worsham, according to plan, came over and steadied me, with a most unwelcome hand around my thigh; sliding up high, on the inside of my thigh. Oh, god, come on, guys, where are you?! I felt my head spinning.
I fell on him.
That was not according to plan.
It did, though, send my accomplices surging out of the closet, and Worsham, on the floor beneath me, looked up with venom in his eyes.
He flung me aside like I was nothing, my head knocking hard on the wood floor. He managed to struggle to his knees, but he was no match for them. Jim and Spock came at him from either side, trying to wrestle him back down to the ground. Shaking off the shock of impact, I scrambled away from those thrashing, grunting bodies, Worsham fighting against them with all his considerable strength, Dr. McCoy hovering nearby, waiting for an opening to slip in with his injection.
My bedside rug slipped beneath so many feet, and Jim and Worsham pitched backward into my bedside table, sending the lamp crashing almost on top of me. Worsham was up on his feet a split second before Jim, but not soon enough. Spock was behind him. In the end, it wasn’t even any fancy ray guns that did it, but Mr. Spock, who reached over and did something almost undetectable with his fingers on Worsham’s neck. Worsham crumpled like a rag doll.
For that matter, so did I.
Next came the ugly part. At Jim’s order, Uhura, quick on the scene, put an arm around me and got me out of the bedroom, where that nice Dr. McCoy became some kind of crazed artist with my blood and other bodily fluids. Worsham himself was dosed with some space-age drug, and my DNA handily applied underneath his fingernails and god knows where else.
I already knew about all the other facets of this devious plan. I knew how a flood of evidence and rumor would link Worsham to a shocking array of crimes, civil, federal, sexual, financial, you name it. Most of them would actually be – or had been? – his handiwork, which was even more shocking to me. My murder was just the spark that would ignite the fuse. Once the revelations started coming, no one would be able to put out the fire.
Jim called out after us, “Time to collect whatever you want to take. As soon as we’re done here, we have to leave.”
I’d already gathered a few things in the spare bedroom, admittedly an odd assortment: my journals, some photographs, my wedding ring and Mom’s silver bracelet. My iPod – I’d pressed Spock as to their ability to save all the music I’d collected on it. A couple of books by my spiritual teacher, all I could fit in the one backpack, all I could carry, all I wanted to carry.
Oh, and my passport. How funny is that?
By the time I walked back down the hall, they’d done a job on things. Furniture shoved around, artwork in the hallway knocked askew or fallen, broken glass on the rug.
One last touch: the doctor told me to hold out my hands. He smeared blood – my own blood – on them and showed me where to leave my own bloody prints.
Bloody handprints on the wall, the furniture. My prints and Worsham’s. My own exercise shirt from that morning, torn and bloody, too. Even though I knew what it was all about, I felt sick to my stomach, more shaken than ever.
I didn’t see Worsham’s unconscious body, slumped in the elevator, his face scratched with my DNA, my blood splattered across his expensive white golf shirt, didn’t see my sweaty undies shoved in his pocket.
Couldn’t see, though I’d helped frame them, all the emails that went out with perfect timing; all that evidence, a calculated mix of fact and fiction, pointing the finger at Worsham for a vast number and range of crimes, both subtle and shocking. All the emails that were sent to the critical people around the world, casting a net of revelations, inside information, new discoveries that would, if the plan worked, grow a web of positive change, a chain reaction that would tip the planet back into its intended path.
And that was it. Done. Dr. McCoy wouldn’t let me wash the blood off my hands. He didn’t want extraneous forensic evidence to mess up his perfect crime scene.
Time to go. Lady Macbeth, with blood on her hands.
I had a fleeting image of this crowd in kilts. No weirder than the truth, I thought.
They stood there, in my living room, carefully avoiding the scene they’d so meticulously created. Jim spoke into his cell once more, gave an order to “stand by”. Spock reached out to carry the backpack I’d stuffed full and stepped back into what looked like some kind of loose formation – they spaced themselves a few feet apart from each other.
Now, faced with the actuality, I just stood there. I felt my head swimming. Was it the blood loss or the fact of what I was doing – or thought I was doing, anyway – that hit me?
“Time to go”, Jim said again. Then, “Hanalie, we have to go. Are you ready?”
I think I nodded, but didn’t move. Actually, I didn’t know what to do. Was I supposed to stand somewhere special? There in the middle of my blood-spattered living room?
The music thumped louder than ever in my woozy head. Jim held out his hand. “Trust me,” he smiled. I took three long, irrevocable steps toward him, grabbed the outstretched hand. In one smooth movement, he pulled me close, strong arm pressing me tight against his hard chest. With his free hand, he spoke a single word into his device: “Energize!”