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Fic: The Drowned and the Saved 2/2

Part One

~

Chief Medical Officer’s Log, supplemental.

          I’ve administered a series of mild sedatives to Miss Karidian until we get to the nearest Starbase. I’ve asked the Captain to consider seeing her at least once before she leaves—he needs the closure. Hell, he’s needed closure for years, but I don’t know that there’s anything in this world can give it to him. I’ll tell you what, though—knowing the things he saw, had to have seen with Kodos, it explains something. I’ve always thought Kirk’s worst defect was his determination to save the unsavable. Well, it’s not just his friends, or his crew, or everyone in the galaxy, is it? He’s still trying to save himself.

          There’s a part of that man that never left Tarsus IV behind.

~

Fr: ktriley@starfleet.edu
To: eweisman@starfleet.edu

          Dear Professor Weisman,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but some years ago you contacted me about adding a retrospective interview about my experiences on Tarsus IV to the archives at Cochrane. I said no at the time, rather rudely, I think, but—if you’re still interested, I think I’d be glad to talk about it now.

Sincerely,

Kevin Riley

~

Tarsus IV Recovery Records, 2246-48, 2266 Addenda, Reel 1
Interview Tape: Kevin T. Riley
Interview and recording by Elaine Weisman

Name: Kevin T. Riley
Age: 26
Location: U.S.S. Enterprise

Begin playback:

WEISMAN: First of all, Lieutenant, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to add to the record.

RILEY: I—it’s no trouble at all, ma’am. I hope you understand why I didn’t want to talk about it before, when you first contacted me at the Academy.

WEISMAN: I can imagine. But you said that you were a child at the time of the Tarsus Disaster, that you didn’t remember that much.

RILEY: That’s…partly true. Mostly, I suppose. But it’s also true that I just didn’t want to talk about it at all anymore, ever. The thing is, Professor, when I came back to Earth, I was an orphan. I had family in Dublin to go back to, of course, but—it wasn’t the same. And they couldn’t understand, not really. And being Irish, our culture isn’t one for talking about some things, you know?

WEISMAN: I understand that Ireland is a country that prides itself on referring to over four centuries of constant warfare as “The Troubles.”

RILEY: Aye, pretty much. So you see, talking about certain things, it wasn’t…done.

WEISMAN: So you’re saying that you couldn’t talk about Tarsus, or wouldn’t?

RILEY: Well, I was six years old. My cousins took me in, and they did what they could; they had a child psychologist come in, special like, to work with me. We met a lot when I was small, and as I got older he would check in maybe once a year or so. I think that was something the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came up with for the child survivors—they required it.

WEISMAN: Yes.

RILEY: So when you know you have to talk to someone, it’s a bit different. It’s—you can tell them things. And I’m sure everything is part of my medical records, somewhere. But at the same time, it’s just between you and them. You can’t—you don’t want to talk about it outside of that, if it makes sense.

WEISMAN: That’s a not uncommon story among the survivors. That they don’t feel comfortable talking about their experiences, that there’s a social stigma attached.

RILEY: Yes. Exactly! This idea that those of us who came off of Tarsus IV were culpable by extension. That because I’m alive, and my parents are not, that there’s a reason for it, and that reason was Kodos.

WEISMAN: But, as you said, you were only a child!

RILEY: Well, here’s the way I think of it. I—I’m sorry, it’s difficult to talk about it. [The sound of rough breathing, a stifled sob.] But, well. One of the things I remember was the rationing. We all had rations, and those were cut, and cut again. And, well, we had a farm, with cows, aye? Well those were slaughtered, one by one, until the last one, we kept her as she was a milk cow. And I remember the bottle of milk my mother kept in the refrigeration unit—she would parcel out the milk for my ration, because I was still just a little boy. But what I remember most is how much I wanted to drink that milk, like, sometimes I would just peek in to look at it, the glass of the bottle all frosty and that milk inside. And I remember the night they came for us, I wanted more milk but my mam wouldn’t let me have it, aye? She thought we had to save it for later. Of course there was no later for us, not really, and when the Guards came and took us off, I said to her, I said, “You should have just let me drink it, Ma! You should have let me drink it!” And that’s the last thing I remember saying to her.

WEISMAN: [Silence.]

RILEY: The next thing I remember is her pushing me through that hole in a wall, and telling me to run, and then the sound of shots and screams. I was angry with my mam and she died saving my life. So that’s something I have to live with, now. And for always.

WEISMAN: [A long pause.] I see. Tell me, Lieutenant—

RILEY: You can call me Kevin, if you like, Professor. My name is Kevin.

WEISMAN: Kevin. Is there a reason you reached out to talk to me? I—know what you wrote in our communications. But, I’d like to have it as part of this recording, as well. For the record.

RILEY: Ah. Well. You see, on one of our missions we stopped at Planet Q, and Thomas Leighton worked there.

WEISMAN: Another survivor. Like you. And one of the—

RILEY: Tarsus Nine. Like me. Aye, that’s right. And he’s friends with the Captain—Captain Kirk, you know, and, well, he’s one of us too. We were the last, though we didn’t know it then. But this theater troupe, the Karidian Company, was performing there, and the Karidians, well, it was really Kodos. And his daughter, Lenore. He’d been pretending to be a traveling actor all this time. Well, he was an actor, but he was himself, too, still. Kodos the Executioner. And while they traveled, if his daughter got the chance, she would kill those of us who knew what he looked like, to protect him, she said. She tried to kill me—put poison in my glass of milk, if you believe it. How’s that for irony, if you like? And she tried to kill the Captain, too. And I—I—

WEISMAN: Take your time.

RILEY: Well, the troupe was going to do a special performance of Hamlet for the crew, and I overheard Doctor McCoy talking about the Captain thought Karidian was Kodos, and—it’s kind of a blur, really. Part of it was the medicine the doctor gave me after I was poisoned, but a lot of it was me. All I could think of was how, because of them, my parents were dead, so many people were dead, they had killed Tom and they tried to kill me, and I wanted to make it right. But—murder’s never right, is it? No matter what people say to themselves to justify it.

WEISMAN: No. It’s never right.

RILEY: The Captain knew that. He ordered me—I had a phaser. He ordered me to give it to him, and I did, and he told me to go back to Sickbay, and I did. So I missed what happened next.

~

Excerpt from the Mission Report Statement on Planet Q and the Karidian Players, filed by James T. Kirk, Captain, U.S.S. Enterprise:

          After Lieutenant Riley returned to Sickbay, only I was left backstage; I saw Lenore confessing to her father what she had done. “All the ghosts are dead,” she said, dressed like Ophelia but speaking with the voice of Lady Macbeth. “I’ve buried them.” If I had had any doubt before, I had none after that; I stepped forward, and they saw me. Karidian knew it was over then; he protested that he was only a soldier, that there were things that had to be done. “I was only following orders” is perhaps the oldest story in the book, but the truth is, Karidian, or Kodos, had received no orders back on Tarsus IV, he gave them. And I saw in his face, he knew that, too.

          It was clear by then that Lenore was truly mad; she insisted that the play had to go on. “The play is over,” I said. “It’s been over for twenty years.” I felt that to be true when I spoke those words, but I know, recording this, that it’s only true now. There was a struggle: Lenore stole a crewman’s side-arm, and she was going to shoot me when Karidian stepped in front and took the blast himself. The phaser should have only been set to stun, but he was dead immediately; Doctor McCoy said it was a heart attack, maybe even just the stress of the encounter. Karidian, Kodos, had tried to protect his daughter from his past, but the past, the ghosts, catch up to all of us in the end.

          I had said that Kodos was dead for years, told Tom Leighton as much, but that was just something I told myself, a way to deal with—everything. But somehow I had always thought that, once I knew that Kodos was dead for certain, that the past could then truly be laid to rest. I don’t think that anymore. I saw Lieutenant Riley’s face when he spoke of his murdered mother and father, I saw how Tom still suffered from the facial reconstruct he had to wear. It was like an itching that would never stop, he said, not even when he was asleep. That was how I felt about Kodos, I realize now. An itch that could never be scratched, a pain that could never be eased. A ghost that could never rest.
~

From an interview with Lenore Karidian, taken before her death in 2318:

KARIDIAN: I was born in space. My mother was an actress—my father met her some months after he left Tarsus IV. I don’t think she ever knew who he really was; she died when I was a child, from complications with Xenopolycythemnia. After that it was just my father and I and…I always knew he was hiding something, something horrible. I used to tell my stories about it when I was little, pretending he was a King in hiding, that one day he would take his rightful throne back. Childish fantasies.

INT.: When did you find out…?

KARIDIAN: The truth? Let me see. I think I was fifteen, maybe a little younger than that. We were on a Starbase, performing The Tempest. I played Miranda. After the performance, I saw a man talking to my father and—he was angry. He threatened to reveal the truth, to have us arrested, all sorts of awful things. That man was Iqbal Lahore, and I followed him after, demanded to know who he was, why he was treating my father that way. He laughed in my face, laughed, madly, I know now. He was one of the Tarsus Nine, one of those who had seen my father’s face, reported him to the authorities. He called me, well, all sorts of things, really, but he told me who my father was, what he had done. And—I loved my father, you see. All children do. And I did what I thought I had to, to protect him.

INT.: You killed him.

KARIDIAN: Yes.

INT.: And the other members of the Tarsus Nine?

KARIDIAN: Yes. All but two: the man who would one day become Ambassador Kevin Riley, and the man who would become Admiral James T. Kirk. They were young then, not yet in their days of glory. They survived. They survived Tarsus IV, and me.

INT.: Do you have any regrets?

KARIDIAN: Oh, of course! I’ve played Lady Macbeth, but I’m not really her, you know. Or Ophelia. Why is it that so often women are evil or mad in tragedies? Well. I was mistaken. I did terrible things, but I know they were wrong. So did my father, for that matter. He knew it, too, in his heart of hearts.

[Video images of Lenore Karidian in a garden, picking flowers. Her hair is white, her face lined.]

INTERVIEWER/NARRATOR/RILEY: Shortly after this interview, Lenore Karidian died. She too suffered from Xenopolycythemnia, but she denied treatment. It’s a painful, wasting disease. Her last months were filled with unremitting torment, but she does not show it in these pictures. She looks peaceful. She had spent decades in the sanatorium where I spoke with her. She did not seem to recognize me as one of the men whom she had attempted to kill so long ago. Perhaps that’s only fair—until the orderlies led me to her, I didn’t recognize her, either. Time changes us all.

~

From the introduction to An Oral History of the Tarsus IV Disaster, edited by Dr. John Gill:

          Witnesses maintain that Kodos divided the names of all the colonists into two lists: one for those to be killed, the other for the survivors. Sometime before or just after the Federation Relief ships arrived, those lists were destroyed. The epithets appended to those lists, “The Drowned” and “The Saved,” were coined at around the same time, clearly referencing the memoirs of the twentieth-century writer Primo Levi, though rather less allegorically. Because of the destruction of records—not just of those lists but of other government registers, including the previous year’s census—piecing together the full casualties, and thus the consequence, of the Tarsus IV Disaster has been rather closer to the processes of historical archaeology than other recent documentary efforts.

          How is it that, despite all of our computers, our cameras, our technology and our ideals, that Kodos’s massacre took place? That he ordered the deaths of four thousand colonists, that men and women were ordered to kill their friends and neighbors—and then did so? Fear is powerful. Hunger is powerful. And power itself is not something to be taken lightly, and Kodos had power, power that was given to him, willingly, by the desperate.

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