Aah … I said Jenny Diver … whoa … Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town …
Look out, old Macky is back!!
– Bobby Darin (Mack the Knife)
Carmen put on a full-dress uniform. She did not love such tasks as the one she had ahead of her. In particular, she couldn’t honestly say that Helen Walker had died particularly heroically. A shuttle crash – and then the body had been incinerated on Berren One. It seemed an ignominious end.
Under such circumstances, she normally sought spiritual phraseology. Even irreligious people usually responded to something like the Twenty-Third Psalm or at least to the music or lyrics of Taps. But that wouldn’t do, as Milton Walker was a man of God himself. He’d be quoting scriptures to her, and not the other way around.
She engaged her communicator, “Boris, get into full-dress and we’ll walk together to Transporter Room Five in, um, ten minutes.”
Boris acknowledged and ended the connection. Alone in his office, with the door securely shut, he stripped down to briefs. He smiled to himself and called a certain someone, “Ah,” she said, “You took a while to call back.”
“Sorry, uh, it was a medical emergency.”
“Boris, you haven’t had a medical emergency in years.”
“Uh, well, in any event, tell me about what you are wearing,” he said, beginning to touch himself.
“You said the zebra-striped outfit,” she said, “And you?”
“Almost nothing,” he replied, which was true, “I am very, very hot for you right now.”
“Ooh,” she replied, more like a moan than a word, “Don’t you wanna save it for tonight? You know what I can do with my mouth.”
“Ah, yes,” he breathed, more aroused, “You are such a tease. Talented, yes, but a tease, nonetheless.”
“You like it,” she said, “I kinda like that it’s sound only. Not that I don’t like to see you aroused. It’s just, good to leave a little something to the imagination,” she cooed.
“Not to mention, this way is perfectly untraceable. Now, tell me what you would do with your luscious mouth.”
“Things your wife will never do.”
His door chimed, “A, a moment!” he called out, “So sorry, my love. I will be there as soon as possible. One order of boring business to attend to, and then I will be at your side in a flash.”
“Don’t be too long. You know how impatient I get.”
The connection closed, and he raced to put on a full-dress uniform as his door chimed a second, and then a third, time.
Boris and Carmen transported to the provided coordinates – a ship called the USS Saint Eligius.
There was a sound of medieval-style chanting. The ship’s interior was Spartan and devoid of any decoration or superfluity. A monk came to greet them, dressed in long red robes, with a cowl hood he had taken down so that his face could be seen, “I am Brother Simon. We spoke earlier. It is a most unfortunate bit of news that you carry,” he only shook Boris’s hand and Carmen remembered – there was something in this order about not touching women.
“Have you told him?” Carmen asked.
“No. I have respected your wishes in this matter,” Brother Simon said, “Brother Milton has been in silent reflection and meditation for most of the week. It was our intention that he not be disturbed, but naturally this news cannot wait.”
They walked to the rectory, which doubled as an office. A pair of monks, hoods on and heads bowed, silently walked by. Other than one being shorter than the other, they had no identifying characteristics whatsoever.
A monk was already there, “Brother Percival, fetch Brother Milton. This is –” Simon indicated Boris and Carmen – “a matter that cannot be delayed.”
“I don’t have much cause to go to monasteries,” Boris said, “What is Eligius the patron saint of?”
“Knife Makers, Minting, Numismatics, Agricultural Workers, Blacksmiths, Boilermakers, Cab Drivers, Carriage Makers, Cartwrights, Coin Collectors, Crafters, Cutlers, Farmers, Farriers, Garage Workers, Gas Station Workers, Gilders, Goldsmiths, Harness Makers, Horses, Horseshoe Makers, Jewelers, Jockeys, Laborers, Locksmiths, Metal Workers, Miners, Saddlers, Veterinarians and Wheelwrights,” Brother Simon recited from memory. Brother Percival returned with another monk, “Ah, thank you, Brother Percival. That will be all. I shall also take my leave of you. Brother Milton, the reason for the interruption of your meditations will become apparent soon,” he left.
Brother Milton just stared at them and did not even take Boris’s proffered hand, “I, sir,” Carmen ventured, “I regret to inform you that your daughter, Helen, is dead.”
Brother Milton looked a tiny bit stricken but said nothing.
“It, it was a shuttle malfunction. She was, uh, she had interviewed with us at the Temporal Integrity Commission today. The pilot did all that she could do,” Carmen added.
“Were there other casualties?” Brother Milton finally asked, after a long pause.
“No,” Boris said, “It is most tragic to lose one so young,” he tried to maintain a level of patience and decorum, but the clock was ticking and he really, really wanted to see the zebra-striped outfit modeled – and then discarded – by its owner.
“She was of the flesh,” Brother Milton said.
“Does her mother live?” Carmen asked, “Our information was rather incomplete, unfortunately. We would like to inform her as well, unless you would prefer to do that.”
“Enid,” Brother Milton said, “That name is from the Arthurian legends, the Idylls of the King.”
“And Helen is from the Iliad,” Boris pointed out, “The face that launched a thousand ships.”
“Both are vanities of the flesh,” Brother Milton said.
There was nothing to say to that, and Boris was looking antsy and uncomfortable, so Carmen said, “I am sorry we troubled you. If Helen’s mother is living, if you have any information as to her whereabouts, we would be most grateful. We will leave you to your, uh, grief,” she motioned to Boris and the two of them walked out of the rectory. They found Brother Simon quickly.
“He is at a purging stage,” Brother Simon explained, “The sins of flesh and wealth, as well as all temptations, are to be stripped away.”
“You’ll let us know if he provides any information on any other family members?” Carmen asked.
“I will. Safe travels,” he transported Carmen out.
Boris awaited transport, “Where to?” asked Brother Simon.
Boris briefly considered Kronos, his home, where Darragh would be waiting. She’d be peeved. She usually was that way with him, “Uh, Cardassia,” he said. And, the zebra-striped outfit and its hotter than hot owner. Now Darragh would really have something to be peeved about.
Their visitors gone, a short monk came into the rectory and removed a hood. So revealed, this monk was not a man, but a woman – a brunette, in complete violation of the monastery’s stated rules. Helen Walker.
“Nice job, Daddy!” she enthused, hugging him.
Brother Milton smiled at her, “I think saying you were of the flesh really put it over the top, eh? Now, you know you can’t stay here. The other monks will find you and there’ll be,” he glanced around for a second to make sure that no one could hear them, “hell to pay.”
“I’ll find someplace to go. Y’all won’t have to worry about me,” she drawled, “Maybe I’ll go someplace in the Solar System. Hide among all the other human and part-human biosigns.”
“Good idea. You know, Helen, they’ll figure out you’re alive very soon.”
“I know. And that’s all right,” she said, “I reckon if they think they’ve found me out, they could become complacent, think they’ve found the heart of the conspiracy.”
“Possibly,” he said, “We’ll have our other operatives, of course. Now, what about Daniels?”
“He scarcely touched me in 1959. I thought our intelligence said he was an unrepentant womanizer, Daddy.”
“He is. But he might’ve just been concentrating on the mission,” she looked a little hurt so he quickly added, “I’m sure you weren’t being rejected. Be patient. I’m sure your paths will cross again, and you’ll get a chance to work your wiles.”
“And y’all don’t mind?”
“Helen, I am your father, so I can’t say I don’t mind at all. But our cause is greater than the both of us – greater than all of us. If you can turn Agent Daniels by using your feminine charms, well…”
“He makes my skin crawl. But I can take one for the team, Daddy,” she said.
“That’s my girl.”
I don't have plans and schemes,
And I don't have hopes and dreams,
I don't have anything
Since I don't have you.
– The Skyliners (Since I Don’t Have You)