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One Small Step...

Posted on Friday, 16 April 2021 - 9:36pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant Haru Hernandez & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley

Mission: Operation: Peace or P'Jem
Location: Various | USS Standing Bear
Timeline: 2394 - Just after Blue Wave


Haru sat in the tactical office finishing reports. He couldn't shake the uneasiness he felt. He'd rather be on the bridge but his place was here. He hoped Mac was alright.

Rounding the corner, Alex paused to catch her breath and attempt to project an air of calm. Her intention to come straight here and back to the bridge had lasted a whole four seconds. Instead she had spent the past four minutes working in deflector control hoping that she was correctly remembering that little trick Miko Chane had pulled during one of the tactical simulations. He had been a royal pain in the ass right until the day they kicked in out in third year, but you never could fault his ingenuity if he thought he could sneak an upper hand at literally anything in his life.

Chapping lightly on the bulkhead to announce her presence, a quick glance confirmed the office was otherwise deserted. That was good. This wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have. Especially not with an audience. Yet from his message, Haru knew something was going on and she owed him and Mac so much. “Hi.”

He looked up. "Alex! Welcome to my hobbit hole." He grinned.

“Haru...” the way she said it, it conveyed every range of emotion in just one word. Pain, worry and most of all an underlying grief and anger. “Your message.
It's the shuttle -“

Haru's head snapped up. "What about the shuttle?" He could feel his heard slamming in his chest.

“They were boarded. Andorians... they were captured and the shuttle destroyed.”

Haru closed his eyes a moment and then smacked the console. "Damnit!"

She could understand his anger. “I didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else or on a message...” she said quietly. “And I promise you that we are going to get them all back. I have to get back but I couldn't not tell you.”

"Tell me everything. How did you find what happened?"

"We picked up a distress call," she told him, pacing on the small patch of carpet, "the Andorian's attacked them then boarded. Soral told Mac and T'Lanna to surrender, not to fight them. Andorian's beamed in... they said to take Mac and T'Lanna to the Brig and - Haru, what is a mind sifter?"

He sighed. "It's a Klingon device, Romulans have one too but more powerful. It's meant to open the mind, peal it like an onion. It plays on the fears of the person and it breaks them down to the point where they have to speak. They are asked to speak and if they tell the truth they get a low jolt of pain, if they lie the sifter can pick it up and they get a massive jolt of pain. Why?" Suddenly he felt sick.

"They were going to put one of those things on Soral..." Alex breathed, sinking into a chair looking very lost. "They shot him, Haru. Stunned, hopefully. I'm telling myself that anyway. I mean it wouldn't be very logical to kill him and then torture him..."

Haru put a hand on her hand. "It's alright Alex. He's V'shar. He's trained to handle a sifter. As part of their training they go through the Romulan version and it's a lot worse then the Klingon one so he'll be alright. Mac is trained on them too." But they would be in a world of pain. He closed his eyes. He felt the bond knew mac was alright. "It's going to be alright."

She gave a small nod, took a deep breath and stood. "Trouble follows the four of us everywhere," she pointed out with a wry smile. "I need to go, Stillwater may throw me out an airlock for even being off the bridge. As soon as I know more, I'll tell you."

He gave a nod. "They'll come back Alex." He wheeled over to the tactical control hating himself for being in that damn chair.

He heard the door open and thought Alex had left. His anger and helplessness boiled so much that he slammed his fist on the console but in the process his body shot out of the chair. It was only for a few heartbeats that he stood but he had stood!

She had been about to leave when she had turned back, wanting to say something reassuring. Something hopeful. At first his display of anger had caught her off guard but what had happened after... "Haru?!"

He fell back into his chair. He turned the chair stunned. "I...I stood!"

"Are you alright?" she asked as she ran back to him, as happy for him as she was concerned.

"I...I think so. I stood!"

She gave him the briefest of hugs, "I need to get back. The deflector should be almost ready... Mac will be here before you know it."

He smiled. "Thanks."

“Anytime. I’m sorry I gotta go. There’s just one thing I need first...”

:: Personal Quarters::

Where was it... Time was running out as Lieutenant Kingsley tore through their quarters, tipping out the trinket box her mother hand given to her and quickly shifting through the small items of jewellery hidden within. Finally her fingers closed around the pendant she had sought and with care she rescued it and the necklace before fixing it around her neck and tucking it under her uniform.

Many things had changed - and gone to hell and back - since Soral made this for her. That day on the holodeck had marked a colossal shift in their lives and perhaps anyone else would consider the current crisis a sign that perhaps the universe wasn't overly pleased at the decisions they had made and the lines they had crossed. Turning on her heels she ran back out of their bedroom, feeling slightly more herself and most of all determined.

Soral, T'Lanna, Mac... they'd get all of them back.

The computer on the little desk in the corner flashed saying there was something that required attention, something that was not completed. Most likely it could have been a report as Soral used that computer to do reports now that he'd lost his office but the flashing was a bit different, insistent as if calling to be checked.

"Damnit," Alex groaned, about turning and tapping the screen. Blinking lights, demanding attention, was like an annoyance that spoke to her soul. The screen came to her life and her eyes swept the display to see what was wrong. Soral's log?

Checking the time to ensure they were not out of time she tapped the icon, Soral's face filling the screen.

"Personal log. I am about to head out on a shuttle mission. I cannot explain the feeling I have but I feel that this will all go very wrong. I regret dragging Mac into this. I don't know if this could be the mission that takes me. I know that I have to give my all to ensure that they come home I just do not know what that will be. I am recording this in case I do not return. Alexandra and my anniversary is coming up, our.. first kiss I found a song that I was going to sing to her for it...I will record it here in case I do not return."

Alex raised an eyebrow in surprise. Not that he remembered that kiss. It was pretty damn incredible after all. But in how he had apparently decided to immortalise the anniversary of it. "Please don't sing when I can't enjoy the moment," she whispered to nobody but herself.

Soral picked up a guitar, one that he kept in their quarters and began his song. An old earth one that he'd found but that made him think of his wife.

She listened in stunned silence. It was so beautiful. God, he was killing her... she moved her finger to pause the playback as the song ended. She had to go. "I have to get you home," she told his image on the recording. "Because if you don't come back, I swear I will hunt you down and kill you myself."



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