Title: The Sun Is Too Bright, And My Blood Too Cold Author: Dantana Skywalker Timeframe: Star Trek (2009) Characters: Anthea Mackintosh (OFC) Genre: angst Summary: Part of "Even The Stars Burn". Shortly after her initiation into Section 31, Anthea Mackintosh reflects on the results. Takes place in 2255. Notes: I only own Anthea Mackintosh. San Francisco, California 2255 California in August, even northern California, was hotter than Anthea Mackintosh was used to, being from England and all. She preferred cooler weather, overcast skies, and rain. It made San Francisco enjoyable for most of the year, but during summer . . . The stiff, red-brown uniforms they were required to wear as cadets didn't help things much. They were high-collared and long-sleeved, which made one sweat. The uniform jackets did, however, have one advantage right now: they hid the scars. Having finished her afternoon classes, Anthea found a shady spot near her dorm, one with a little bench she could sit on. She put her messenger bag down on the cement seat and heaved a sigh. Sweat slid down her neck, and she gave in to temptation, doffing the jacket to sit in her sleeveless Starfleet undershirt, the insignia black-on-black but still reflective. It was good she was alone, so that no one saw the livid red marks on her forearms. She could have visited a doctor and had them healed right up, but she didn't want anyone to see them. She couldn't tell anyone how she'd acquired them. Anthea knew what they looked like, but couldn't bring herself to use that convenient lie. She'd been so eager to say yes, so excited and honoured at the interest. She was special, she'd been told, so much more than everyone else. Stupidly, she'd fallen for it, and out of devotion, she'd agreed without thinking. And then this had happened. Three days she'd been strapped to that chair, with only water, while he'd dug the knife in, demanding with each torturous, slow drag of the blade over her skin that she give herself completely. Anthea couldn't remember a lot of what had happened after. She knew she'd lain on a narrow bed for a while, the cuts on her arms glued shut, fed high-protein, high-iron food to help her replace the blood she'd lost. She'd felt like a ghost afterwards, when she'd emerged back into the world, and everything had been too harsh, too bright. No one here could understand what she'd been through. And she couldn't confide in anyone. She lied so much these days, she was almost beginning to believe it herself. She ran a fingertip the length of one scar. He'd used an ordinary knife, cutting her for hours, effectively branding her. The red weal went from just above her wrist, along the radial side of her arm, to just above her elbow. It was the longest, and the last, inflicted when she'd been beyond pain, a seething rage filling the hollow of her gut, the empty space where she'd had no food turned to a hot ball of anger and hatred. When she gave her word, she meant it. There was little that could make her break a promise. Torture to secure her complete loyalty hadn't been necessary. She wasn't a blood-thirsty person, though she knew she had it in her. She'd already been tested on that measure, though she tried not to think about that particular exercise. Sitting on the bench in the warm sunshine, she made another promise: The man who had hurt her was going to die at her hand, just as slowly as he'd worked her over. And if she had any say in it, it was going to be sooner rather than later. The only problem was, she'd never seen his face, since she'd been blindfolded for those three days. She just knew his voice, knew it better than her own. And someday, even if she had to interview every member of Starfleet to find him, she would. And then she would kill him.