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Posted on Monday, 27 December 2021 - 11:45am by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Commander Soral

Mission: Operation: Mirror of Madness
Location: Various | USS Standing Bear
Timeline: 2394

In the immediate aftermath of the latest transmission from the surface, the Bridge of the USS Standing Bear was almost completely silent. From the command chair, Lieutenant Kingsley studied the image of Vulcan on the viewscreen - completely lost in thought. Even by her own admission, their newly appointed Commanding Officer would be out of contact for some time while their former captain was still - in all likelihood - somewhere on the surface keeping a low profile.

Finding him was the task of the authorities on Vulcan but also the newly appointed Lieutenant Eberhardt. Whilst heavily pregnant, the intelligence officer had been relentless in pursuing all possible leads and utilising resources in an effort to track down Stillwater. There was no doubt that she would succeed given time and then … what?

Yet it wasn't the ship’s current or former captain's which occupied her thoughts.

It was Soral.

Her relief at seeing him alive and well had been short lived with Soral and his companions ordered to Sickbay before she had the chance to speak to him alone. A deliberate act, she suspected, given what Captain Whitley had confided. And it seemed the good Doctor had spent endless hours running every test known to medical science which had kept the new arrivals essentially confined to sickbay until recently. A 'precaution' which Soral and the other Vulcans had endured with seemingly endless patience.

A smile played at her lips as she felt the familiar presence of her husband through their bond before she frowned. She felt the headache that had been nagging her for weeks flaring up. Yet it was more than that. Something was wrong…

“Lieutenant, you have the conn until I get back," she ordered as she stood and vacated the command chair, heading for the turbolift without waiting for a response. She knew Adrianna was more than capable or Whitley would never have granted her the rank she now held nor would she have named her acting XO.

Once inside she impatiently waited as the turbolift carried her through the ship. A few moments later and she found herself inside their quarters, certain she would find him there. Yet she was met with silence and a quick check confirmed he was not home. Just as she was about to ask the computer to locate him, she heard the door open and spun around to face him.

Her eyes widened, feeling his disquiet as one the Vulcan’s from the shuttle followed him inside. No, almost more like … “Soral? What’s going on? Are you alright?”

Soral sighed. "Indeed, it has been an interesting day." He ignored the man he'd hired to be a guard and stepped towards Alex lifting her into his arms. "I have felt lost without you."

"I've missed you too," she whispered, wrapping her arms around him as she kissed him. Shocked when she felt tears stinging at her eyes. So much sorrow, grief and guilt swelled inside of her and mostly for reasons she did not quite understand. What if your husband isn't your husband... she had almost laughed at that statement from their captain. Because that wasn't so far from the truth except for a few details.

I am sorry, ashayam... the thought echoed through the bonds, one weak and all but gone, the other strong. The sentiment true to both of her loves for very different reasons.

Soral smiled holding her close. "I have missed you my Lexi." Gently cupping her face he looking into her eyes trying to bring out his Lexi. "Do you remember...the knights?" He said using the name for their triplets.

Her eyes widened, memories of three almost identical boys vying for attention. So full of life, energy, spirit and promise. So often they pretended to be guarding their mother from dragons and whatever fanciful creature that she began calling them her ‘Knights’.

“Our knights,” she breathed, “and our princess… T’Paris!”

The last word was said like a curse, full of anger and a fury that almost took her breath away. A flare of power sending a nearby glass shattering into a thousand pieces. “You should never have left them,” she whispered, “it isn’t safe!”

"T'Paris is taken care of." He held her face. "Are you really with me Lexi?"

In response she closed her eyes, showing him through their bond the one place where as a family they felt truly safe and at peace as a family, the place she had taken him to in their last moments together. The meadow. It was a fleeting glimpse but it was a place known only to them. The effort made her almost go weak in his arms but was as clear a message as any that his wife, his Lexi, was very much present and growing stronger.

Soral closed his eyes finding that special place. He opened his eye and fiercely held his wife. His wife was almost back and together they would have the life they deserved. Before he could speak the coms interrupted.

"Haru to Alex."

Soral stepped back and raised an eyebrow.

After a brief hesitation, Alex replied, “go ahead.”

"Are you alone Alex?"

Soral gave a slow nod hoping Lexi understood.

“Yes,” she lied with surprising ease. Keeping her voice as light and natural as possible she added, “what’s wrong?”

"Soral, he's not himself and I don't care what the scan's show. I asked him something he should have known cold and he didn't. That's not Soral."

Her husband looked at her a cold smile playing on his lips wondering how Lexi would handle this news and if she was strong enough to override Alex. He reached with his mind touching that part of Lexi that was his.

“Do you have anything more concrete?” Alex said after a long moment, fighting the urge to laugh and tell him how ridiculous he sounded even as she spoke.

"Alex I know you don't believe Hamura but I'm starting to. Just be careful okay?"

“There is no universe where Soral would never harm me, Haru,” Alex replied with confidence. She looked at Soral, her eyes filled with concern. If Haru were calling her, then undoubtedly he would not stop there. Haru would do absolutely anything to protect this ship and crew, especially those he thought of as family.

Soral knew it to. She could see it in that smile, a coldness as he listened. He would never harm her, but she was not alone on this ship.

“Thank you for your concern,” she went on, “but I am my fathers daughter. For now, I need you to trust me and do nothing. I’ll record your concerns in the ships log, but let me speak to him and then I’ll come see you.”

There was a pause. "Alex be careful, okay?"

“You too. Kingsley out.”

Soral sighed. "Well I believe a change of plans is in order."

Alex frowned, “what do you mean?”

"You and I," He motioned to the other Vulcan, "And our friends must leave this ship. But before that the last sliver that holds you to this universe must be broken."

His words sank in slowly, taking time to dispel a numbness in a part of her that was trying to just be. Her eyes widened as she saw the Vulcan step closer, her confidence in what she said to Haru beginning to waiver. “No! You can’t, he’s dying… please! Don’t do this to him,” she pleaded, unable to break free of his grip. She glared at the Vulcan as she felt his fingertips find the touch points on her face, felt her rage building as his intrusion sought out the already weakened threads of the bond.

Not again! She struggled, unable to bare the thought of losing either Soral or of severing the bond to her Soral in this universe. She was oblivious when her rage caused every item of glass around them to shatter but felt the incursion pause, on part of her relieved, the other amused at such a weak attempt to defend a bond that was undoubtedly about to end anyway.

And then boredom as Lexi quelled the rebellion and both of them felt the bond tear and then break as if it were a physical pain, slumping into the arms of their Soral, unconscious.

"Her bond to your mirror version is broken. Hamura will take care of the rest."

"Excellent. The ship?"

"Broken just as Hamura advised. They should be on the asteroid now to take care of Soral and then they will join us in our verse."

"Excellent." Soral lifted Alex into his arms. "Let us get on our way before Stillwater is able to catch up to us...he's proving as tenacious as his counter part.

The path to the shuttle was mostly clear. Haru, as Soral had expected, had been there to greet them with a phaser that was set to the highest setting. His Romulan Vulcan band of merry monks took care of Haru quickly and then he was setting Lexi down on the chair. "Get the shuttle moving, blast the doors if you have to. Let's go."

He gently put a hand on her cheek. "Lexi, wake up my love. We are going home now."

“Home,” she whispered with a tired smile, placing a hand over his as she stirred. “Yes… home…”

"It will not be long. Our children await and this time we will have a life, a good one. No worries, no fears." He kissed her forehead feeling the bond he'd forged with her getting stronger now that the Soral of this universe was not a thought anymore.

“I’ve missed them so much,” she confessed. “And you. I’m so sorry… I should have been more careful- I never wanted to leave you -“

"We are together now my love." He kissed her hand and then looked up at the pilot. "Go! Hurry."

The ship launched forward. He smiled at her. "We're going home."

She smiled up at him as she gripped his hand, “home… what about the ship? The Bear?”

"It is not important. Rest my wife, you must rest." He watched as the shuttle left the helpless shift behind and when clear it hit into warp. The journey to the doorway would be but an hour and then another few to get home. His excursion to this mirror verse, a pale reflection of his own, had been a success.



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