Operation: Lobes & Liberties
Location: Over Subspace
Soral paced inside the ready room. The teams were off the ship and he was left with the C crew, if he were human he'd have feared for his life but still that did not scare him as much as talking with his Mother-in-Law. Sighing he reflected that Laura Kingsley was a formidable woman who would...probably lay the Borg out when mad and she was about to get mad.
"I am behaving illogically." He told himself that for the tenth time. Sighing he headed to the computer terminal and put in a call to Vulcan.
Far from the quiet confines of the Standing Bear’s ready room, Laura Kingsley was watching as a freshly baked batch of brownies disappeared from the plate at warp speed. Barely out of the oven, the three youngest members of the household had wasted no time in trying to divert her attention while N’Vek had piled enough to share onto a napkin and retreated with surprising stealth. Of course, she had seen his reflection the entire time, but she was not about to tell.
“Fascinating,” she agreed as Severine finished reciting from her paper on ancient Vulcan healing practices. And it was, not that she truly understood it all. What was most impressive was to see the siblings working together- even if it was to steal cookies before dinner.
Hearing the chime signalling an incoming call, Laura flashed the pair an apologetic smile. “Allow me
To tend to this and you can tell me more,” she promised as she headed for the door, adding over her shoulder, “and don’t let those cookies ruin your appetite. Dinner is in one hour.”
With that she left them to enjoy their spoils while she entered the study and seated herself. Touching the screen, she was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face. “Soral! We didn’t expect to hear from you for at least another week. I trust everything is well? The children are in the garden, but I can call them inside…”
Soral gave a nod. "Everything is well. The children can wait for a moment...I have some news that maybe...difficult to listen to."
With a sense of dread, Laura studied him for a moment. If he thought it ‘difficult’ then she would bet it would be an understatement. Perhaps of epic proportions. She quickly checked the door to the study was still closed, just in case any of the children were in earshot.
“It is best to rip off a band-aid quickly, as my aunt used to say,” Laura sighed. “You have my full attention.”
"As you know Alex and I have been struggling. I believe that part of that is my putting too much pressure on her. I realize that she needs space and she needs to discover her own strength. The best way, perhaps, is distance. I have made the decision to resign from Starfleet."
“Resign?!” Laura repeated incredulously. Lowering her voice for fear it would carry to more sensitive ears, she frowned, “isn’t that a little drastic? While I know it has not been easy, I always thought you valued your career and all you have accomplished in Starfleet….
So, what will you do? Return home to Vulcan? Your children would appreciate more time with you. Not that I’m sure distance is any way to rescue a marriage. I have little faith in that old expression- the one about absence making the heart grow fonder? It doesn’t dear. It makes the heart lonely.”
"Indeed, yet being here without her is even lonelier." He sighed. "I will be returning to Vulcan to close out my business there and to prepare the children and my house staff and you, if you will join me, for a move. I wish to leave Vulcan."
“Leave Vulcan? To go where, exactly?!”
"New Romulus. I will be connecting with my grandfather there to seek a seat in the New Romulus Senate."
“The New Romulus Senate?” Laura whispered, her heart sinking and her mind quickly shifting to the plans Severine had already made for her own future with the healers right here on Vulcan. What would she and her siblings think? “You want to move everyone to New Romulus? Have you considered if they want to?”
"I do this for their future."
“You are their father so of course the decision is yours. If this is your wish then I wish nothing but goodness in your futures but I believe I shall return to Earth,” Laura told him with a sadness in her eyes. “Besides, the children are older now, they hardly need a babysitter.”
"You are in every sense their grandmother. I know Severine wishes to join the Vulcan order, I will not take that from her the boys will come to New Romulus. I know that this is difficult for you, I did not forget Romulan involvement in with what happened with your husband and I will assure you that those responsible will be brought to justice. I will see to it personally. Our lives would be richer with you in them and there is always a place for you with us on Vulcan or Romulus." He paused. "I take it you have not accepted the Ambassador's proposal."
“We are… taking it slowly,” Laura told him. “So, if Severine wishes to stay on Vulcan, I would be happy to remain here with her.”
She leaned forward, “and what does my daughter think of your decision?”
"She seems supportive...but I do not know."
“Did she throw anything at you? Any other act of violence?”
"No. In all honesty I think she has given up on our marriage a while ago."
“Oh Soral….” Laura sighed, “for such a clever man, you sometimes do not see things clearly. If she had given up, would she have been calling me, upset, because of how a rumour about her and the engineer might hurt you? Or would the recruit be getting under her skin so much if she didn’t care about you?
I don’t know the future. And I know both of you are struggling to regain your sense of self. But I know Alex. She has never fallen so hard for someone as she did for you. But she is also young and I hardly set the best example in terms of having stable relationships. Her father was always more of a stabilizing figure in our family.”
"I fear I have complicated matters." He sighed and then told Laura of the mirror world and the children he brought here, some of which were his and Lexi's. "So, you see there is much on her mind, much to dislike and distrust." He paused. "As for the new recruit I have no interest there and the Engineer I must admit was cleaning the toilet tubes on a regular basis." He rubbed the back of his neck a green blush steeling his feathers.
Laura sighed, closing her eyes as she took a moment to try and process. “I… I don’t know what to say to bringing another family into this equation,” she admitted. “I think it speaks more to your own efforts to find balance. To merge both families. Although I worry what the impact will be on your children to see alternate versions of themselves.”
“And as for that obvious show of jealousy just now,” a small smile played at her lips, “it tells me you aren’t quite done trying to make this marriage work as you have said before.”
"Perhaps not...I relish, a little too much, passing by this young man who smells of waste."
“If you are not above taking some human advice,” Laura began, “ensure you both spend some time with each other. Free of distractions and other people, of rumours. Have a nice dinner, go on that holodeck of yours to visit somewhere special to you both. And listen to one another. Truly listen.”
"I will try." He sighed. "I will be bringing the other children with me when I arrive. Four of which are Alex...Lexi's and my mirror counterpart. If you do not wish them there I will arrange for them to stay elsewhere."
“This is your home Soral,” she reminded him gently, “I will make no such demands.”
"It is your home too. If you wish it, it will be your home forever."
“I hardly require a huge home. An empty house full of empty rooms is not my style. I prefer small and homely - or else I feel lonely.”
"Indeed. I can do that, a smaller home." Soral opened his mouth to say something further when the coms interrupted him.
"Bridge to Commander Soral. Sir we have a priority one distress call. USS Light Seeker."
Soral sat up straight. "Situation?"
"Badly damaged, no shields and no weapons. Hull breaches."
"Signal Captain Grams we are on the way."
There was a pause. "Light Seeker acknowledges and asks for speed. Sending you ship brief. Five confirmed fatalities amongst the crew including a grave injury to command staff."
Soral flinched. "Who? Find out who?"
"Captain Grams. Ship is under the command of first officer Commander T'Varis."
Soral let out a breath and sagged. "Push ships engines to the limit break speed restrictions if you have to take power from non essential systems to funnel to engines. I want us to break speed and get there as soon as we can. Leave now."
He shut of comms and sagged further into the seat seeming to forget that Laura was there. He looked up at pale and clearly sweating. "Apologies...This was unexpected news."
“Go,” Laura urged gently, “help those poor people. I’m always here if either of you need me.”
"It's alright. Not much we can do until we get there...Although I am not certain I want to be there as much as I do want to be there." He studied her. "Can I seek some advice from you?"
“Of course,” Laura nodded.
"Commander T'Varis Pren...she is my half sister...does not like me much. How do I extend an olive branch?"
“Coming to her aide is a rather significant olive branch. I guess the options depend upon why she dislikes you?”
"The short story is that my father left her and her mother on Bajor during the Cardassian occupation. She dislikes us all. Blames us all."
“Ah…. In that case I suggest acknowledging your father did not behave as he should and acknowledge how that has impacted her and perhaps her perception of you. And then allow her to decide how much or how little contact she wants to have with you.”
He gave a nod. "As you can see I...and my family have been a lot for Alexandra. There are times when I think she is too good for me."
“What a foolish notion!” Laura exclaimed. “Naturally I adore Alex but she was not raised to think of herself as better than anyone. So, I am certain she has never said such a thing. Why on whatever planet you want to name, do you think she is too good for you?”
"A simple reason. I am broken. My family is not stable I mostly raised myself. I have Gods know how many siblings and as Humans would say baggage."
“Everyone has baggage,” Laura pointed out, “it’s called life. And it hardly as if Alex has had a picture-perfect upbringing without any baggage of her own. What is important, Soral, is ensuring the baggage doesn’t consume your life. It isn’t easy I know. And sometimes it overwhelms the best of us.”
"It can, yes. I will let Alexandra decide. My love for her was never in question. But your daughters underestimate her strength and worth. This is a decision she must make. If she chooses to stay or go my feelings for her will not change."
“When it comes to matters of the heart, she has little experience and as you know, on occasion her temper gets the best of her. I blame myself; I always pushed her to focus on academic achievements. To do her father and I proud. And she did. But sometimes, she needs a little reminder that not everything is as black and white or as easy to prove or disprove as one of her research projects.”
"No blame is necessary. You raised a wonderful daughter." He paused. "I will need to go but please consider my offer of coming with me to New Romulus. You are and always will be family."
"And you mine," Laura nodded.
Soral ended the call and then took a deep breath. He took a moment to collect himself and placed a call into the CO. He had to tell the Captain they were leaving for the rescue mission.