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Brief Encounter

Posted on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 - 1:34pm by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Petty Officer 1st Class Siana Ilian & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali

Mission: Operation: Crimson Kaleidoscope
Location: Mirror Universe - Soral's vessel
Timeline: current


With her hands clasped behind her back, Petty Officer Ilian gazed out at the stars in silence as the wait continued. From the moment they arrived, welcomed by familiar yet unfamiliar faces, she had been unsettled. Especially when the group had been separated. While she and Lieutenant Vali had been brought here, Lieutenant Hamura had been taken somewhere else. They had protested, of course, but they were outnumbered and not as well armed as their hosts.

Patience was a virtue many of Ilian’s previous hosts possessed but this entire situation was unsettling. For while the stars were identical, they were far from home. And in truth the decision to send her on the away team had surprised her but she had followed the Captain's orders and now there was nothing to do but wait.

They had then been left alone, with their ‘cargo’ and with zero indication of how long they would be waiting or why they were stuck in here. Needless to say they could see guards on the other side of the door and she did not doubt anything said or done would be monitored closely.

“Maybe -“

She had been in mid sentence when finally the doors opened and after exchanging words with someone they couldn’t see, a familiar figure appeared.

T’Lanna was feeling perturbed at having to face this Soral, he’d fooled her once before and done a damn good job of it. She knew he wasn’t a fool, she just hoped she wasn’t getting in deeper than she planned. As the door opened she turned to look who it was entering.

Entering the room, her heel of her boots striking the floor with each step, Alex stopped short at the sight of who was waiting for her. “T’Lanna?!” She almost didn’t believe her eyes, would have refused to if Soral had not already hinted at her supplying nanotechnology for her research.

“That’s me!” T’Lanna smiled as she greeted her friend, “it’s good to see you Alex! I’m just sorry it’s under these circumstances.”

“You shouldn’t have come,” Alex said quickly, “it isn’t safe.”

“We err ... have an arrangement” T’Lanna looked at Ilian then back at Alex. “We need your help Alex, Soral needs your help. I ... we can’t fail him Alex. We need your research Alex, and I want you to consider coming home with us, where you belong.”

An arrangement. Soral, the one of this universe, had clearly been busy. And she wasn’t going to lie, the part about her returning felt so secondary that it did hurt. A little. “My research,” she replied slowly, her hands resting on the back of a chair. “It isn’t finished. What there is, is aboard the Standing Bear. You should take it to Vulcan. Our Vulcan, I mean. They can finish it, I’m sure of it.

But I can’t go with you. I made an arrangement of my own. This way you, Jayce… actually everyone... gets to leave safely.”

"We can't just leave you here Alex" T'Lanna looked at her friend in defiance. "If we leave you Soral ... your Soral, wont ever be the same! Can you honestly tell me that you don't love him? Or has Lexi already won?"

“If you don’t leave, he will kill everyone,” Alex told her with complete certainty in her voice. “No matter how I feel, I won’t risk all of your lives. The needs of the many, right?”

Even as she said it she sank into the seat beside her. “Lexi isn’t in my head, not anymore. For now. She was too much, and for now this Soral needs me, the scientist just a little bit more than her. It kind of feels like my head wants to explode but at least I’m me. As for our Soral…”

Her voice trailed off. Again she was thankful that the inhibitor would stop T’Lanna sensing everything she was feeling. “He let go of our bond, and I don’t blame him. I failed him in every possible way. But if you take him back, take my research to Vulcan, then maybe he stands a chance.”

"Do you know what I had to do to get Soral back?" T'Lanna looked at Alex angrily. "I had to go into his mind, I had to bring him back from the dead! I even went so far as to tell him how I feel about him. It's not me he wants, it's you!! Soral loves you!!" she paused getting a grip on her emotions. "I err ... I'm sorry."

“Lieutenant, I would also encourage you to return, given any promises made by anyone here are likely to be broken,” Siana interjected. “It isn’t safe to stay.”

“Believe me, I know. I’ve had another person in my head, then gone then everything I know about my research virtually ripped out of my head and I’m in no doubt about my fate once this Soral has what he wants,” Alex told her. Her gaze shifted to T’Lanna. “I know you care about him, a lot. So do I. I’ll never ever forgive myself for any of this. But I am keeping my promise. If I can keep you all safe, then at least I know I’ve done what I can.”

“Alex I ...” T’Lanna paused. Right now she couldn’t see a way out of what her friend was saying, no matter how much she wanted to. “Soral wanted my nanotechnology” She picked up what she’d brought with. “As promised ... there’s only so much I can spare without risking my own systems. What I want to know is what Soral intends to use it for.”

“My research, as far as I know. In theory I believe nanoprobes could be used but it is untested and I honestly do not know if I can make it work,” Alex sighed. “A bond helps to negate the symptoms, slows progression. Essentially we need to replicate that and improve on it. But without the tech, we can only do so much. But is that his only reason for wanting your nanoprobes?

I don’t know. Things are different here. Through my bond with him and Lexi’s memories… here the Borg are still a huge threat. They are edging closer to Earth and Nivar, but here there is no Federation- no fleet to make a stand like at Wolf 359.”

"The Borg!" T'Lanna couldn't help but look alarmed. The thought of coming face to face with the Borg again was a very worrying, and frightening prospect.

“Yes. They are one of the few unifying forces here. They attack anyone and everyone,” Alex told her. “And they will undoubtedly be curious to know everything that has been happening here.”

"I hope they don't find out about me" T'Lanna looked worriedly at Ilian, "The last thing we need is the Borg taking an interest in the ship."

“I agree,” Siana nodded, “I have had a few close encounters with them in Ilian’s lifetime. I’d rather not do so again.”

"Well we can't worry about them now, we have to deal with the matter at hand. We need you to complete your research Alex, no one else knows any of this as well as you do."

“I’ll do what I can but there is no magical fix,” Alex stressed. “It takes time. Especially cut off from my own labs and other scientists. Your best chance is still to leave and enlist the help of the Vulcan Science Academy.”

T'Lanna shook her head. "Soral maybe pretending that letting you go is best, but we both know that isn't true. Without you we'll loose that part of him that goes with you, his heart and his soul. I won't watch that happen. Can we convince this Soral that I need you back in your own lab?"

“Unlikely. I’ve had people watching my every move,” Alex said, touching the back of her neck, “after Lexi was… removed for want of a better word… things happened. And I got a neural inhibitor to help me heal faster. I think it makes this Soral nervous, since it mutes our bond.”

“Your bond?” Ilian repeated, her surprise clear.

“Yeah, it’s... a complicated mess,” Alex confirmed.

"When Lexi took you over you became bonded with this Soral, but now she's .. gone that bond is too." T'Lanna nodded. "In other words you're free to do what you want to do. We can fight Alex, we can take you home."

“You don’t understand. Before he put Lexi in my head, he bonded with me. And then, before he took me from the Standing Bear, he had someone there to break my bond with our Soral. And our Soral allowed it. As soon as this inhibitor comes off, the bond with this Soral will be there waiting.”

T'Lanna nodded. "I understand. You know me I'm no expert on anything Vulcan considering I'm half Vulcan. I'm still learning and I've got a long way to go. You do know that you're stronger than Lexi don't you? If you chose to fight her for possession of your body, you'd win I know you would."

“Lexi has a few years on me and a long time mastering her … abilities,” Alex pointed out with a rueful smile. “Even with minimal influence, I don’t think I’d like that version of me. At all.”

T’Lanna smiled. “Then do something about it Alex, put up a fight! As acting First Officer I’m not willing to let you go without doing everything in my power to convince you to come home.”

“I have been fighting with her since day one,” Alex snapped. “And I hate that he is making me make this choice, but he has and it is too dangerous to play games. He will be listening to us right now, just to be sure you aren’t here to stage a daring rescue. He has guards everywhere. I’m asking that you listen to me and trust me to do what is right. I know it isn’t what you might choose, but I am not endangering any of you. I want to stay.”

That was a lie, but a necessary one. It was exactly what this Soral - or whoever would be watching over this reunion- wanted to hear. And she badly needed T’Lanna to agree to leave her behind.

T’Lanna sensed the lie but nodded nonetheless. “If that’s what you want, Soral told me it would have to be your decision and if that’s it then so be it.” She wasn’t going to leave it at that, but she needed to get back to the ship to set a plan in motion to bring Alex home .. somehow.

“Thank you,” Alex said quietly and with a grateful smile. There was so much she wanted to tell them, both of them, but it risked everything.

"Are you sure you want to do this Alex?" T'Lanna looked at her friend. "There has to be a way to work this out."

“Just trust me, it will work out,” Alex assured her.

T'Lanna nodded. "I certainly hope so. In that case let's get on with this. If Soral wants what I brought with then he's going to have to come and fetch it."

The door opened and they all turned towards it in unison, the Hamura of this universe remaining in the open doorway and signalling for Alex to follow her back out as two guards came in to stand watch over the guests. Alex stood slowly, as if the weight of the universe was trying to keep her down. "Be safe and tell Soral... well, hopefully he knows," she said quietly before taking a deep breath and following Hamura out of the room. Hoping she had done enough to ensure Soral kept to his word.

Assuming he intended to keep his promise at all.



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