[Werthers] The Truth in Communication
Posted on Saturday, 24 October 2020 - 5:40pm by Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Baciami was back in her quarters, relaxing. It had been a long day. The young Italian was almost dozing, her head lay back on the back of the couch in a position certain of instilling regret if she remained like this much longer. The computer disturbed her dozed state rather obnoxiously. "Cosa!?" she barked.
"One day you will answer a call politely to me, piccolina."
Adrianna opened an eye, "Giovanni, hello."
Adrianna's brother smiled on the screen, "hello."
The woman sat up, now awake fully, though remained speaking in her native tongue, thankful of it really as her brain power was running scarily low, "I love that you now feel we can talk again, but you and I both know that there is something you are omitting."
Giovanni's warm smile, suddenly turned eerily cold. In fact, the whole of his being did, "you were always had one hell of a gut instinct and aside from your choices in love interests, you were always right."
Adrianna just remained silent, knowing Giovanni would break the silence first.
"It's our father," he sighed, "he wants to talk to you. I told him you'd say no. He's recorded a message which he said he'd finish after the verdict and as if Wednesday, he did. I'm trying to butter you up so I can give you the message and I can be honest and tell him I did."
That wasn't something she was expecting, though wasn't surprised, "what did he say?"
"Hell if I know," he replied, "he's encrypted it. Said you'd know how to crack it."
"You know, one day, cucciolo, you'll call me just to say you missed and there be no 'buts' or 'alterior motives'," Adrianna smirked paraphrasing his words from earlier.
"I wanted to keep you safe. I was waiting for a nod from Starfleet. I wouldn't jeopardise that without reason. I think now a verdict has been passed, we may have more freedom," he almost pleaded with an apologetic tone.
Adrianna felt a little sadness creep into the pit of her stomach. She did long for home. Hiraeth was making a comeback since Giovanni had made contact. "Send it, I won't promise to listen to it, but you can say you passed the message on," she sighed, now not feeling much love for her brother, rather just obligation to family business, or rather what was left of it.
Giovanni did just that but begore he could talk, Adrianna interrupted him with a glare like her father's and an unapologetic, order like tone, having learnt from the Don himself, "Don't contact me again unless it's to speak to me like a normal family." At that, she cut the call.
Adrianna ran a hand through her curly, brunette hair, eying the message from her father. She looked to the still behind the decryption key input. Her father looked as murderous and psychopathic as ever. The woman muttered to herself, "Potrei aver bisogno di più della grappa!"
One bottle. One shot glass. One woman requiring courage or idiocy.
It had been almost a week of sleepless nights and days filled with endless distraction. It was almost like the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment but with consequence not a double reward for passing such test. The anxiety and circling questions brought her to where she was that evening: sat in her bed with a bottle of grappa and no need to get up in the morning.
"Computer use encryption 'Nightingales are magpies." It was an odd expression, but one her father used to describe a doctor when Adrianna was little and had her appendix out: someone that helped, but only for gain. It instantly became an inside joke between the pair everytime they made deals with someone perceived as 'morally good'.
The message unlocked. Baciami hesitated, pressing play, filling the shotglass instead and drinking it. A moment of silence passed and she groaned, "maybe another one." She hovered the bottle over the glass before shaking her head. The glass remained empty. Instead, the bottle touched her lips. Gasping at the burn, hotter than usual she finally held a semblance of courage, "play message."
The image pixilated a moment. Once it had figured itself out Dario Baciami filled the screen. He look like he was ill. No longer was he clean shaven, and looking around well-grooned; no longer was he clothed in an exoensive and luxurious suit; no longer did her look young. His eyes and mannerisms were familiar though. They held a psychopathic cold tone, encouraging even those unfamiliar with Don Baciami to only show respect through instilled fear.
"Adrianna," came the course tone, "I must say, I never thought I would be contacting you again. Not without a mortician anyway.
The day you left, I'll never forget: I thought it was a joke. I'd often heard whispers that you were not like your brothers. I chose to ignore, grooming you to be the first female Don. As it turns out, I did. And for that, I am proud.
It seems we are the same, you and I. We both decided that our predecessors were not fit to remain in control. You betrayed me, as I betrayed my uncle. The difference was our true reasoning. For me, I saw weakness. For you, it was your stomach."
Adrianna let a small sigh fall from her lips, before taking another slug.
"You know, I used to think what I did was wrong," he continued, "I remember, I was maybe nineteen. I had been given orders to kill this man. I didn't know the reasoning, only that he had disrespected your uncle. It was my first time being a Capo," Dario Baciami's expression faded into one of nostalgic bliss, "when we got there, this man begged and pleaded. He explained that he had fallen on hard times but could make amends the following week. I let him go. Your uncle, he admired my compassion, letting it go, but warned me of the repercussions. I shrugged it off, but a week later and the man had started a protest with others. Kindness showed weakness. They though they had an in and consequently, a few civilians lost their lives.
In life, there must be a balance. Showing mercy must only come if the respect is solidified. Respect only comes from action. If any of that is taken away, consequences must be upheld. We have all made the mistake of not looking at the bigger picture. It's how you grow from that mistake. I hope you will grow to learn that what we have is not evil, though unconventional in this age. I hope you will see that my aim was to ensure a future for all generations."
The screen flickered and Dario turned to look weiry and his eyes screamed rage. A look Adrianna had rarely seen, but knew what it meant. The woman felt like she was thirteen again and was about to be shouted for talking back.
The next words he almost spat. His anger and hatred bubbling over like milk left unattended on a stove, seeping through the where the lid was lifted by the froth, exploiting the power over the raging, molten dairy bubbles. "Guilty. I have been tried guilty. I may be behind bars, but I will find a way to ensure that you pay for betraying our family and way of life.
The scar you have from my gun-- since I know you survived, will be an insight for what you have to come. If I see daylight again, I will finish the job myself.
Dio Santo! You would have made one hell of a Don, but instead you chose to see only chaos and not the organised stream of a working and thriving economy without crime.
I hope my message haunts you.
I hope my disappointment weighs you down. Gran’ disgraziato!
You signed my death warrant, so I have signed yours.
At that, the screen went black.
Adrianna sat in stunned silence, processing. Her stomach turned. There was no at she'd go back to Earth now. Nor would she ever leave the security of her cremated be it with this ship or another. For now though, she hit forward on the message - to Starfleet, to the courts and to Soral. Adrianna was not afraid, rather empowered but without naivety.