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Old March 31 2014, 02:56 AM   #5
Rear Admiral
Re: UT-TFV: The Quality of Mercy

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Guest Quarters
Starbase Bastion
The Next Morning…

This part always made Lt. Yori Shibata nervous. It was always easier to get into situations than to extricate yourself from them.

He propped up on one elbow and looked down at last night’s lover. The stunning blonde was wiping sleep from her olive-green eyes. Both of them were still tangled in a purple bed sheet. “Ah, listen,” he began, a bit reluctantly-he always thought putting a hitch in your voice worked best-“Last night was fun.”

She nodded and smiled. “It sure was.” The woman mimicked him by propping herself on one elbow to face him.

Shibata resisted the urge to reach out and brush an errant strand of hair from over her eyes. What’s wrong with me? He wondered. Attachment scared him, but there was something about this woman.

“I’ve-uh-got to go,” Shibata began, eager to nip whatever incipient feelings might be sprouting for this woman. It wasn’t like he was going to have time for them to grow anyway. The Delta Quadrant awaited. “I’m due back on my vessel. We’re shoving off soon.”

“Oh really?” The woman’s eyes brightened. “So am I.”

“You are?” Shibata’s heart thumped, with both dread and possibility. He hadn’t considered that the woman might be part of Taskforce Vanguard, or even in Starfleet. Admittedly neither had spent much time talking.

“Are you in Starfleet?” Shibata asked. The woman nodded.

“What ship?” he followed up.

“You first,” she said, a playful gleam in her eyes.

“The Aldebaran,” he said proudly. It had taken him a long time to work his way up to a Galaxy-class vessel. Even if it did take Command almost a little too long to recognize his abilities.

“Impressive,” she observed. “You’re into communications.”

His eyes widened. Now he was the one impressed. “How did you know that?”

“You’re a good talker,” she smiled. “Seemed like a good fit.”

“Okay,” he nodded. “You got me there. Enough with the mystery. What ship do you serve on?”

“Well, umm,” she grinned, “Oh, I’ll just come out with it; I also serve on the Aldebaran.”

“Get out of here,” Shibata tried to control his racing heart. He wasn’t sure why it was galloping. Was it fear or excitement? “Small galaxy huh?” He tried to sound nonchalant.

“You could say that Lt. Shibata,” she replied.

“How do you know my name?” Now confusion was thrown into Yori’s emotional cauldron.

The woman sat up halfway in bed and extended a hand. “I’m guessing we should’ve done this first. I’m Lt. Commander April Thayer, first officer of the Aldebaran.”
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Ready Room
USS Aldebaran

April Thayer smoothed her uniform more out of nerves than necessity. She gathered herself, took a quick breath, and pressed the door chime.

The ghosts had been haunting her as soon as she saw Aldebaran on her approach to the station, but now they were screeching something awful, as well as pulling and clawing, doing their damnedest to pull her back into the past.

“Enter,” she heard the voice call out strongly from the other side of the door. “Here goes,” she muttered, right as the door opened. She stepped across the threshold, holding the apparitions at bay.

She had had some fun this morning, unfortunately at poor Lt. Shibata’s expense, but now playtime was over. Captain Banti Awokou stood up from his chair, laying a padd onto the neat stack of others on his desk. He came around his desk and clasped her hand in a firm grip. He nodded as he spoke, “Commander Thayer, welcome to the Aldebaran,” he paused, “Or should I say welcome back?”

She winced uncontrollably and the other man grimaced. “Was that impolite?”

“No, no sir, it wasn’t,” she said, “It’s me, I mean; this is all…” she waved her hands, at a loss for words. “Permission to speak freely sir?”

“Of course,” Awokou said, taking a step back from her, as if he was expecting a blow.

“Why did you request me?” She asked.

“Your sterling service record,” he said bluntly, “which was only embellished by your actions during the Talarian Incursion.”

“My second chance I guess,” she said, with a nervous smile. “I never asked to be thrust into the spotlight.”

“Many, who are, seldom do,” he replied, “But it’s what you do with that spotlight that matters.”

“Or what the Fleet decides to do with a newly minted hero,” She said, “which I find it a bit odd that they would want to stick me back on the ship that tarnished that sterling record.”

“You didn’t have to take me up on the offer,” Awokou said.

“No sir, I didn’t,” she admitted, “But I felt I owed my friends and crewmates, I owed this grand ship more.”

“Redemption is a powerful incentive,” the captain nodded, “I should know.” His gaze was imploring, “You’ve heard about my mission to Lakesh?”

“But sir, what happened to you at Lakesh wasn’t your fault,” she offered.

“Tell that to my nightmares,” he shook his head, his expression becoming hooded. “Or the overconfidence that fed into the disaster. We all have our crosses to bear Commander.”

“I see sir,” she said, feeling a bit less apprehensive and grateful to feel the tension ease between her shoulders.

“Have a seat,” the captain gestured as he made his way back around to his chair. “We have a lot of things to discuss before we disembark.”
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