Haunting - Part I
Posted on Saturday, 3 July 2021 - 3:15pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley
Operation: Neu Reich
Location: Various (Memory Post)
Soral sat in the observation lounge. It had been a long day, one filled with reports and meetings and the ship was finally getting back underway after a brief stop. He thought about all that had happened over the last few days. It had been... fascinating, for lack of a better word. He reclined his chair back and watched the stars out of the window. He thought back to the lunch he and Alex had with T'Lanna just a while ago, the haunting, the revelations and the aftermath.
Soral sat in the café on the base waiting for Alex and T'Lanna to join him. They'd been shopping and now they were all to have lunch together.
"... besides, the outfits were too cute," Alex was saying as she led the way towards the table, somehow managing to avoid creating carnage in her wake as she negotiated her way through the table with an eye watering collection of shopping bags in hand. As they neared the table she set them down off to the side between a chair and the window where there was zero chance of anyone falling over them before she flashed Soral a reassuring smile as she sat, her two fingers resting on his for a moment before she settled back in her seat.
"Shopping," she declared with a grin, "is exhausting. Don't worry, it is mostly presents for other people so it is more than okay. Including Jayce who is going to look adorable. He is a born scientist. I can tell."
“Well you can see his little brain working as he looks at his favourite toys” T’Lanna grinned. “I’m hoping he’ll like this little teddy I found.” She pulled out a very cute doggy toy. “I treated myself as well but that’s for Raith’s eyes only!” She grinned as she looked at Alex.
Alex laughed, shaking her head. Thankfully the waitress appeared, taking their orders before hurrying off. "Pretty much everything," she told Soral as she gestured to the bags she had returned with, "is for shipping off to Risa. But if you want, I can totally go find that store T'Lanna went to -"
Soral who'd not really been listening looked at his wife. "I thought you two were shopping together. Did you separate?"
“I got held up picking up these,” Alex grinned as she reached into her bag and stood, holding up a cap, gown and an old fashioned scroll. “I got a message to say these arrived. I have - officially - graduated. Again. I know, sexy, right? Don’t get too excited, I’ve to send my mother the cap, she keeps them. And then I started buying gifts and got sidetracked until T’Lanna found me. By then the shopping gremlin had taken over.”
"I see. What did the gremlin take over and what does the creature look like?" Soral asked distractedly.
“It looks suspiciously like your wife when she is angry,” Alex said quietly, bundling up the graduation clothes and throwing them in the bag with more than a hint of temper. As the waitress passed, she caught her eye, “could you change my coffee to some wine please?”
Soral shook his head. "I apologise I appear to have upset you. You were talking about an evening gown?"
She stared at him in disbelief. And she was certain the hurt that was fuelling her rising temper had to be filtering through the bond… “no, I wasn’t. What is going on, Soral?”
"I...." Before he could continue he looked up, an image from the past hit him again. He'd been seeing it, her, all day. He stood walking towards the figure. Just as he reached her he took her arm. "You!" When he turned he saw that he was mistaken. He apologized and scurried back to the table. He sat down and put his head in his hands feeling confused, exhausted, perhaps a bit angry if he had to admit. He was working hard to keep that from the bond but was failing miserably.
Alex shared a long confused look with T’Lanna. Finally she turned her full attention back to her husband, her tone firm. “Soral, what is going on? The truth.”
He looked up at his wife. "My wife I am afraid you will have to be first officer for a while." He turned to T'Lanna. "Counselor you must remove me from duty, I am unfit to carry on my post."
T’Lanna looked at Soral curiously. “Before I can do that I need to know what’s going on Soral. Did you... think that woman was someone else?”
"I have been seeing someone that I know could not be here. I have been seeing someone I know who has died."
“Who?” Alex said quietly, although sure she knew the answer. Who else got under his skin like this?
“And how long have you been seeing this person?” T’Lanna looked at Soral concernedly.
"Evesta, for a few days now."
“Where?” Alex asked him. Sure, your husband hallucinating about his dead ex who was mother of his children was not a good sign. And him hiding it, also not a good sign. But Evesta was devious, a spy… and dangerous. And a constant shadow.
T’Lanna was listening carefully taking in the details. “Was there a preceding event? Did anything happen to start off these visions?”
"I have been having headaches the last few days and at night, nightmares. When we arrived shortly after de-boarding I thought I saw her but it turned out it was not her and over the times we'd been here I have seen her several times on the station."
Days. Alex listened with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Maybe I should let you two talk about this in private," she imagined T'Lanna was far more suited to give advice on this. And if he had wished to confide and share this with her, he would not have gone to so much effort to conceal it. Why would be an argument for another day, but for now he needed T'Lanna's help.
T’Lanna looked at Alex. “If Soral is alright with it, then I suggest you stay Alex. This is a matter that affects both of you.” She looked to Soral. “The choice is yours Soral, would you like Alex to stay?”
"I wish you to stay. I did not wish to hide this but I did not wish to admit I was hallucinating. Perhaps the Andorian mind sifter had more of an impact then I thought." He took Alex's hand.
Just then the waiter brought out the drinks and took their food orders. Soral opted for a veggie pizza. "Oh... I forgot." He pulled something out of his pocket, sliding the box to Alex. "I do not wish to forget this if I am going mad I wish to give this to you before I loose my mind."
“You are not losing your mind Soral.” T'Lanna offered a smile. “Granted there is something going on here that isn’t clear right now.”
While T'Lanna spoke, Alex picked up the small box, curious as she began to open it. "More secrets?" she commented as she pried the box open.
He shook his head. "A celebration." He had not, in fact, forgotten that she was a graduate. He had special ordered an item a little diploma scroll necklace engraved and a small card inside the box that told her of how proud he was of her.
"I suggest we have a meal, perhaps we can talk after in a more private place."
T’Lanna nodded. “Agreed Soral, a meal would benefit all of us and we can discuss in a more private place afterwards.”
Peering inside the box, a warm smile appeared on Alex's lips as her fingertip traced the engraving on the pendant. She saw the small handwritten note, resolving to read it properly later so she didn't get emotional over pizza. "It's beautiful, thank you," she said as she leaned over and kissed him briefly. It was not the Vulcan way but it was hers. "Eat so we can go figure out what is going on."
He gave a nod. The dinner was a quiet one and he felt bad that he'd brought the mood down. Each seemed lost in thought and the dinner went by quickly as did dessert. They were just heading out the restaurant door having called a crewman from the ship to pick up the shopping and take it to their quarters when Soral froze dead still just outside the restaurant. His eyes glued to a laughing woman. She was facing away from them but she was retying her pony tail and her neck was exposed showing a green Romulan symbol.
Alex was preoccupied as she ate. Vulcans - and therefore she assumed their genetic cousins - were not known for hallucinations. As far as she knew. Perhaps it was just as Soral guessed, a side effect from the mind sifter. Yet what if it were more. Although a part of her reasoned that a mind now prone to hallucinations surely would not be quite so adept at hiding said things. She hoped T'Lanna had ideas because she was coming up empty.
Now unburdened by shopping bags, she had been walking beside Soral until he stopped dead. Half a step ahead she frowned, half turning back and about to ask what was wrong when she saw the look on his face. Her eyes traced his line of sight to a small group of women who were talking nearby. "Soral, what is it?"
T’Lanna looked in the same direction as Alex, having noticed the look on Soral’s face. “Soral... tell me what’s going on. What are you seeing?”
To Be Continued...