Before: Time with the Tal'Shiar

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May 22nd, 2409

"What's your name?"

"I don't believe that's any of your concern."

"Nnn. Nothing's really my concern anymore. What's your name?"

"Don't talk to me."

"What're you going to do? Beat me?"

The slender Romulan woman stared across at the man badgering her. Clearly he was once handsome - a noble sort of lineage to his features. She could have guessed for hours, in a time of more leisure, as to the familial heritage of his strong and defined ridges or the hawkish jut to his nose. Of course that would have been before the experiments and beatings. Now, that handsome face resembled something more akin to a monstrous mask, discolored and mangled.

"Not I, no, but I could arrange it."

He laughed. Not a happy laugh, a bitter laugh. Thue continued her examination of the man in the holding cell, reaching out with her gloved hand to press it against an implant embedded into the spot where his shoulder met his neck.

"My ass you could arrange it."

The tissue around the modified borg implant had turned a sickly grey-yellow. As she took notation of this on her PADD she ignored his attempt to antagonize her. The modified nanites weren't having their intended effect. She'd told them it would happen, but they hadn't listened. Inflamed veins stood up from his flesh - it all looked very angry and painful, though if the touch hurt, it wasn't being acknowledged.

"You hear me?"

"Yes I hear you!" She snapped. In her hands the tricorder shook as she fought back her anger. Her threats were useless and the man knew that. By her clothing and ill-fed appearance it was shown to all that she, too, was a prisoner. An obligated servant was the most polite term she had thought up.

"'re just as helpless as me."

Her response was a glower. Outside the cramped cell in which the woman was examining the latest set of 'accessories' she had put into his flesh was a Tal'Shiar guard. He watched the two from the distance with a hand on his plasma rifle. It was for this reason she elected not to say anything in response. Thue turned her attention briefly to the display in front of her. Within a second, the exhausted and beaten man had leaned up face-to-face with her.

"We don't have to be, you know." he whispered.

This time the response was violence - she shoved the man back into a lying position and got to her feet from the small bunk she had been perched on the edge of. He finally made a noise of protest as he was jostled, clapping a hand to the second implant hidden under his shirt, grasping at his chest. She hesitated. The skin had likely come free of the device. Should she help him?

The guard was paying attention.

"Prisoner 3619," she said in an imperious tone, "I'm afraid we'll just have to leave things as they are for now. Perhaps you'll learn to be a bit less handsy next time I come in for an exam."

Blood was leaking into the fabric of his surgical gown. It wasn't fast - that was good - he'd likely heal naturally, unless an infection set in. She didn't know when next they'd want her reviewing his case. The injured Romulan man just grinned ruefully at her.

"Think about it." He croaked out in a pained voice.

Thue turned to leave. The Tal'Shiar guard didn't escort her down the hall. 3619 has breached protocol and he was likely going to suffer worse for it - the rules in this level of the ship were very strict. As she approached the check-in desk to turn over her examination tricorder, she reviewed the name across the green display: T'aev tr'Sahen. She committed the name to memory.

"We don't have to be, you know." he had said.

A brief smile pulled at the corners of the woman's lips for the first time in a long while. It was a nice thought.