January 11, 2021 at 12:04 pm #430666
Here’s the background story I’m working on for my main toon. It’s based on stories I wrote as part of a text-based simming group. The basic premises are more or less the same, but necessary modifications are made to better fit the STO universe. The story assumes that the current year is 2411 and begins fairly early on in the toon’s life. Admittedly it will be a somewhat long story, so please be patient. It will be worth it, Ferengi promise! =D
Well, without further ado, I present you, Themyscira: Future Lost . . .January 11, 2021 at 12:21 pm #430667
Part 1 – Faults
“Sometimes the words we don’t say hurt the most.”
– Zar’dan, How the Mighty Rise and Fall: A History of the United Federation of Planets
Location: USS Themyscira, In Orbit of Veron III
:: Classroom 2 ::
“Give it back! It’s Tarrac’s turn!”
The petite, blonde haired girl shouted at the top of her lungs. Grabbing one end of the hoverboard, she wrested it from the boy in front of her. The fire in her eyes was fierce and completely oblivious of the fact that the other kid was more than a full head taller than she.
“Hey, I won the game yesterday. So it’s my turn!”
The girl dismissed him with a sneer and handed the hoverboard to the Cardassian boy behind her. As she turned back, the fire in her eyes turned to contempt.
“It doesn’t count. You cheated.”
“No, I did not!”
“Yes, you did!”
“No, I did not!”
“Yes, you did! You cheated yesterday just like you cheated last week. You always cheat and take other people’s stuff. You are a cheater and a bully!”
James didn’t know what a bully was, but he didn’t need to. It had to be bad. Just look at those eyes. She was making fun of him. He couldn’t let her make fun of him like that i front of everyone, or every other kid in the class would start to make fun of him, too.
His jaw clenched, his cheeks reddened, James retorted with the first thing that rushed to his mind.
“Yeah? At least I didn’t kill my Mom.”
The words drew a collective gasp from the small, chittering group of kids who had gathered around them.
Smirking proudly, James surveyed the now deathly silent classroom.
Even his nemesis was at a loss for words. Just look at those cheeks. They were flushing red. Now that’s how you make someone feel stupid about herself.
Wait, what was she . . .
Before he could react, the little girl rushed at him with the ferocity of a provoked wild sehlat from Vulcan’s Forge and knocked him down to the floor with a loud bang. Then the pounding began.
:: Meanwhile, Outside the Classroom ::
Orm couldn’t quite believe what the man had just said.
“Thank you, Captain. I don’t know what to say, or how you did it, but I’m sure the kids will love spending the night at the museum.”
Captain Oliver Antoninus Lee, commanding officer of the USS Themyscira, shrugged slightly with a smile.
“Well, that’s the least I can do after we had to cancel your last field trip to Taurus IV. As for how, let’s just say the head curator owes me a few favors. Now, as soon as the peace accord is signed tomorrow, we will head to Betazed at maximum warp, and that should . . .”
Before he could finish, the doors to the classroom hissed open and an Andorian girl frantically stepped through.
“Mr. Orm, Mr. Orm, Terri and James are fighting again.”
The two men exchanged a quick look and rushed inside.
Orm had never seen such fury in a six-year-old’s eyes. Nor had he ever seen anyone, much less a child, beat up someone almost twice their size with such abandon.
He would have asked Themie to look after the kids for the few minutes he was gone, but the AI was undergoing a routine self-diagnostic, and protocols forbade nonessential use of the AI during the entirety of the process. Not that any of it mattered now.
But before the Bajoran could rush over to break up the fight, Captain Lee had already taken control of the situation with six simple words, words enunciated with the authority of a commanding officer and, worse, the dismay and frustration of a disappointed parent.
“Terri Cornelia Lee, that is enough.”
:: Later, the CO’s Quarters ::
“That’s not fair!” Terri protested from the couch where she had been confined for the moment.
The frown on Captain Lee’s brows deepened. “Not fair? Did you see how badly you beat up that boy? You are lucky I didn’t ground you for another two weeks.”
“But James was the one who cheated and took Tarrac’s hoverboard.”
“And you think that’s enough of a reason to beat him up like that?”
The girl hesitated.
“I . . . He . . .”
Oliver shook his head.
“How many times have I told you to use your head in a situation like that? How many times? You never listen. Every single time you start throwing punches without a second thought, just like your mo . . .”
The man stopped abruptly in mid sentence and found himself unable to finish it.
Just then, his XO’s voice came through the intercom.
=/\= L’Vor to the Captain, the ambassadors are ready to beam up. =/\=
Oliver responded with a tap of his combadge. “On my way.” Turning his attention back to the girl, he said sternly, “This is not over. We will continue later.”
Terri fidgeted on the couch as her father walked away, and it was not until the man was about to step through the opening doors did she finally blurt out, her eyes downcast, her voice shaking.
“He said . . . he said I killed Mom.”
Oliver paused his steps at those dreadful words. For a moment, he didn’t move. He couldn’t. All that anger, all that frustration, slowly gave way to tender regret.
Letting out a long, wistful sigh, he turned around and caught sight of the tears swelling inside the girl’s eyes. His lips moved, but nothing came out.
He sighed again and this time accompanied by self-loathing.
He had persuaded impeccable enemies to sign a peach treaty that would end five decades of planetary civil war, a peace treaty that no one thought was possible, and yet he did not know what to say to the girl, his own daughter, the spitting image of her mother, and a constant reminder of his failure as a commanding officer, as a husband, and now, as a father.
“Captain, is everything alright?”
Oliver turned and found Commander L’vor in the hallway outside of his quarters. Regaining his composure, the man tugged at the bottom of his uniform jacket to straighten out some imaginary wrinkles.
“Yes, Commander, everything is alright.”
The Vulcan first officer raised a barely noticeable eyebrow at the man’s response, but did not pursue the matter any further.
“I am on my way to Transporter Room One . . .”
Oliver did not wait for her to finish. “Let’s go.”
As the doors closed shut behind them, Terri sank into the couch. Her dad just walked away. He just walked away. Why would he do that? Did he . . . did he think she killed her Mom, too? But he couldn’t . . . she didn’t . . .
Terri felt something wet escaping the corners of her eyes, and she hated it. Falling on her side, she buried her face in her favorite pillow. She would not cry. She would not cry. She was strong. She was strong, just like her mother. Just like her mother . . .
[End. To be continued in Part 2.]January 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm #430670
Part 2 – Precocious
– Azmi al-Nasir, The Redemption of Antonin Forys in Three Plays
Location: USS Themyscira, In Orbit of Veron III
:: Outside of Main Conference Room ::
Oliver was incredulous.
“How did she get out? I locked the doors myself.”
Before Lieutenant Nami Ishikawa could respond, the Themyscira’s commanding officer shook his head.
“It doesn’t matter.” He said. Then he turned to the Vulcan commander next to him. “I swear, if she gets into the Jeffries tube again . . .”
“We should find her first, Captain.” L’Vor reminded her friend.
Oliver sighed and nodded. Looking up slightly, he asked,” Themie, which part of the ship did Terri get herself into this time?”
The ship’s AI appeared before the trio of officers in her holographic avatar, that of a young Andorian woman.
“I’m afraid she’s no longer on board, Captain. Transporter log shows that she accessed the transporter from the private terminal in your study and beamed herself off the ship about twenty minutes ago.”
Oliver exchanged a dumbfounded look with L’Vor before looking back to the AI.
“What do you mean she beamed herself off the ship? She’s only six, Themie. How in the four quadrants did she know how to access the transporter?”
Themie shrugged slightly with a small smile.
“She’s an exceptionally precocious six year old, sir.”
Most parents would be happy – even proud – to hear such compliments about their children, but the only thing Oliver was feeling now was frustration.
“What good is all that intelligence if she has no discipline and self control? Where did she transport herself to? ”
“The Tauran Ranges on the Eastern Continent.”
“Run a scan of the area.”
“Already done, sir.”
“Did you find her?”
“I’m afraid not. The mineral deposits make pinpointing her position impossible, but I just extrapolated a search perimeter. Two SAR teams should be able to cover the area within the hour.”
“Very well.” said Oliver before turning back to L’Vor. “Prepare the teams, Commander, and inform the local authorities of the search operation.”
“Aye, aye, Captain. Will you join us?”
Oliver shook his head. “No, I can’t leave the ship now.” Gesturing at the doors to the conference room behind them, he continued, “You saw what happened earlier. I have to get back in there and make sure the Herulians do not back away from the accord. Too many lives are at stake.”
“Captain,” said Lieutenant Ishikawa, “with your permission, I would like to lead one of the search parties. Terri might listen to me.” Turning to L’Vor, she added, “No offence, Commander.”
“None taken.” Said the Vulcan.
Oliver responded with a simple nod, his brows still knotted tight. With Nola on leave at a medical conference, he had been left alone to deal with Terri and her antics. And the last few days had been a non-ending string of frustration as the girl was every bit as stubborn as her mother . . .
At the thought of Korra, Oliver let out a quiet sigh, and the knot on his brows softened.
“I can’t lose her, too, L’Vor.”
“You will not, Captain.”
[End. To Be Continued in Part 3]January 11, 2021 at 2:32 pm #430672
Part 3 – Search and Rescue
“O, the story we tell!”
– Thalisar the Last, The Empty Throne
Location: Veron III
:: Somewhere in the Tauran Ranges, Eastern Continent ::
Terri sobbed intermittently as she caressed the small Klorian rabbit in her arms. She didn’t mean to hurt the bunny. She didn’t know its nest was under the bushes when she threw that rock in frustration after realizing she had lost her way in the forest.
It was not her fault. So why was she still crying? She shouldn’t be crying. She’s strong, strong like her mother, and her mother would not want to see her cry. But how would she know? She had never even met the woman.
Just then, the tiny rabbit in her arms squealed softly.
Was it still hurting? Did it miss its mom?
At that thought Terri began to sob again as tears trickled down her reddened cheeks.
:: Meanwhile ::
Petty Officer Narwitz gestured with the beeping tricorder in his hand.
“One human life sign, two o’clock.”
Nami nodded and motioned the team to follow her. As they approached, they began to make out a small, solitary figure sitting on a rock in the clearing a few meters away.
Nami tapped her combadge.
“Ishikawa to Commander L’Vor. We have located Terri. Stand by.”
=/\= Acknowledged. =/\=
The Trill announced her presence from a distance so as not to startle the girl.
“Terri, it’s me, Nami.”
Terri was already exhausted, having been walking aimlessly in the forest for the last hour or so, but at the sound of Nami’s voice, she sprang up from the grassy ground and began running away. She was not going back to the ship.
But she had barely made a few feet out when another squeal from the little rabbit in her arms stopped her in her tracks.
Terri looked down, and the bunny squealed again. All that running must be hurting it.
“Arrg.” The girl groaned in frustration. She was supposed to protect it.
Sitting down on one of the rocks nearby, she wiped the lingering tears off her cheeks with her sleeve and tried her best to stifle her sobs. No one was gonna see her cry.
“Wait here.” Nami instructed her team before making her way over to where Terri was.
Sitting down on a rock next to her, the Trill said, “You know it’s Burger Wednesday, right?”
Terri knew what Nami was trying to do, but she was not going back to the ship, no matter how much she’s starving for some of Mr. Gorgan’s hot, juicy cheeseburgers right now – not that her dad would let her have any. She had nothing to say.
“Burgers are stupid.” She murmured as she caressed the bunny on her lap.
Nami chuckled to herself. The girl was not fooling anyone. Her love of burgers was matched only by her stubbornness.
“Who’s your friend there?” Asked the Trill, gesturing at the rabbit on Terri’s lap.
Nami never understood children’s – and some adults’ – obsession with small animals and their “cuteness”. She had no time for useless sentimentality. But this was not about sentimentality; it was about getting the girl back to the ship safe and sound.
“It’s a bunny.” Terri said matter-of-factly before letting out a small sigh. “It’s hurt.” Looking back up at the Trill, she quickly added, “I didn’t hurt it . . . I mean, I didn’t mean to. I didn’t know it was there. I couldn’t see it. The trees were in the way. I . . . I didn’t . . . It’s not my fault!” the girl sniveled as she wiped the new tears off the corner of her eyes.
Nami smiled softly. “Of course. Can I take a look of Mr. Bunny? Maybe I can help him.”
Terri nodded and gently handed the rabbit to the Trill.
“Is he gonna be OK?”
Nami took out her medical tricorder and scanned the little rabbit.
“Looks like it’s just some superficial injuries. I’m sure Dr. Cooper can fix him in no time.”
The Trill motioned at Narwitz to approach and handed him the rabbit. Looking back at the girl, she asked, “So, ready to go?”
Terri looked down and kicked an acorn that had the misfortune of landing by her feet.
Nami signaled the petty officer to withdraw back to where the rest of the team was before turning back to Terri.
“Well, then do you want to tell me what happened earlier in Mr. Orm’s class?”
Terri wiped clean the traces of tears that she still felt on her cheeks. Kicking another acorn by her feet, she said, “It’s James. He cheated and took Tarrac’s hoverboard. It’s not my fault that he fell on his stupid butt when I took it back.”
Nami smiled and patted the girl on her shoulder.
“That’s my girl. Bullies and cheaters should ‘fall’ on their butt a lot more often if you ask me.”
Terri looked up and a small smile crept onto her lips.
Nami nodded. She waited for a second before asking, “But are you sure that’s the only reason why James ‘fell’ on his butt?”
The smile disappeared from Terri’s face. Looking back down, she kicked another acorn, this time with much more force.
“He said . . . he said I’m the reason my Mom died. He said I killed her! So I punched him. It’s his fault. He shouldn’t have said that! I didn’t kill my Mom. I didn’t!”
Her voice began to crack as she looked back up.
“But Dad wouldn’t even listen. He said I shouldn’t have punched James. He thinks . . . he thinks it was my fault. But I didn’t kill my mom. I . . . I didn’t! Why would he think that?! I . . . I . . .”
Tears began to swell up in her eyes again.
Nami wrapped one arm over the girl and pulled her closer.
“No, it’s not your fault, and I promise you that your dad doesn’t think it’s your fault, either. It’s just that he . . . he misses your mom. We all do. You know that, right?”
Terri looked up and hesitated for a moment before finally nodding. A few moments of silence passed between them, and then she asked, “What was my Mom like?”
“Your mother was the bravest and strongest person I have ever known.” Looking down, she asked, “Have I told you how your mom and your dad saved me from the slavers?”
Terri shook her head with a small yawn.
“What are slavers?”
Nami’s brows twitched slightly at the question.
“They are bad people who do terrible things to others.” Taking a quick survey of their surroundings, she continued, “They had kept me in their camp on Carion II since I was about your age, in a forest just like this one. One day your mom was passing by the system on a civilian transport. She was on her way to Deep Space 5 to meet up with your dad and the Bunker Hill. The slavers ambushed the ship and took everyone onboard. And that’s how I met her.”
“Why didn’t you run away?” Asked Terri, followed by another yawn. She could barely keep her eyes open.
“Well, fear was a very powerful deterrent, Terri. But your mom, she was fearless. She showed me that there was nothing to be afraid of in this universe except fear itself. She made a run for it one night and took me with her. We played hide and seek with Roy and his men for almost a whole week. It was exhilarating and . . . liberating. Then your dad and the Bunker Hill came. They found us, took out the slavers, and freed all the captives.”
Nami paused and smiled wistfully as she reminisced the first time she met the girl’s father. It was the fifth day after she and Korra escaped the camp. Roy and his men had finally caught up with them by the bent of a small stream. The fierce woman that she was, Korra held her own against two of their pursuers, but Roy got past the Marine and headed straight for Nami.
Staring into the eyes of the man at whose hands she had suffered such unspeakable evils, Nami froze and forgot everything Korra had taught her to defend herself. She tripped and fell down on her back as Roy reached out to grab her.
That’s when an orange-red phaser beam struck the man from the side and stunned him. With bated breath Nami watched her tormentor fell sideways onto the grassy ground. When she looked back up, she was greeted by a dashing Starfleet lieutenant commander.
With a smile the man stretched out his hand.
“My name is Oliver. You are safe now.”
And that smile, there was not a trace of cruelty or lust in it. Nami had forgotten that smiles could be warm and comforting, too.
The Trill lieutenant let out a small, wistful sigh.
“Did you know that . . .” She said as she looked to the little girl in her arms, only to find the kid already fast asleep. All that roaming around the forest must have tired her out.
Nami tapped her combadge.
“Ishikawa to L’Vor, Commander, I’m ready to bring Terri back to Themyscira.”
=/\= Acknowledged. I will inform the Captain. L’Vor out. =/\=
Holding Terri in her arms, the Trill stood up and carried the girl to where Narwitz and the rest of her team were standing.
She tapped her combadge again.
“Ishikawa to Themyscira, five to beam up . . . . Belay that. Five and a rodent to beam up.”
:: USS Themyscira, Transporter Room One ::
Oliver sighed in relief as the search party stepped off the transporter pad.
“Thank you, Lieutenant.” He said softly so as not to wake the girl. “Would you mind taking Terri to your quarters for the night?”
Oliver gently tugged a strand of loose hair behind Terri’s ear.
“She’s too much like her mother. I don’t think she would want to talk to me tonight. Nola should be back by 0800 hours tomorrow. I will have her pick up Terri then.”
Nami’s brows tightened slightly at the mention of the ship’s chief medical officer. Yet again, the Betazoid was not there for him when he needed her.
Nami simply nodded and made her way to the exit with Terri in her arms.
As they disappeared behind the closing doors, Oliver let a long sigh. How he envied the Trill.
[End. To Be Continued in Part 3]January 11, 2021 at 3:33 pm #430674
Part 4 – Promise
“The fickle words of the gods were all they had.”
– Aadah Va’am, The Labors of the Argonauts
Location: USS Themyscira, In Orbit of Veron III
:: A Few Hours after Part 3 ::
As she woke up from her sleep, Terri found herself on a couch under a thin, but comfortable blanket. She rubbed her eyes and looked around. It was Nami’s quarters – she had come here so many times that she could find her way around blindfolded; it’s practically her second home. And it might as well be. With Nola off the ship on some doctors’ meeting and her dad still mad at her, there was nowhere else on the ship the little girl would rather be at the moment.
As soon as internal sensors detected that the six-year-old had woken up, the ship’s artificial intelligence materialized next to the couch in her usual Andorian avatar.
“Feeling alright, Pumpkin?”
Terri giggled at the AI calling her by her nickname and nodded in the affirmative. Looking around the room, she did not see Nami anywhere.
“Lieutenant Ishikawa is filling in for Ensign Pryde on the bridge.”
“Is Arri OK?”
“The Ensign will be fine. It’s just a mild case of food poisoning.” Themie reassured the girl with a smile. Stepping over to the foot of the couch, the AI picked up a small cage and brought it to where Terri sat.
“Lieutenant Ishikawa told me that you made a little friend down on the planet.”
Terri grinned and jumped off the couch at the sight of the Klorian rabbit.
Themi opened the cage and gently brought the rabbit out with her hands. Handing it to the girl, she said, “Dr. Cooper gave Mr. Bunny a clean bill of health. He’s all yours.”
Terri grinned as she took the rabbit from the AI and hugged it gently against her chest. For a few moments, she quietly caressed the bunny in her arms.
It was not long, however, before her smile began to fade, and then the caressing stopped. Looking up, Terri hesitated for a moment.
“What happened to my Mom, Themie?”
Terri had heard bits and pieces from her Dad and Nola when they thought she was sleeping, but no one had ever told her what exactly happened. Whenever she asked Nola, she would only say it was an accident and then distract her with delicious cookies and burgers. And that one time she asked her Dad, he frowned and told her he was busy.
Themie’s antennae twitched slightly at the question. She was not the right person to answer it.
“It’s not your fault, Terri.”
Terri’s brows tightened slightly as she looked down at the bunny. She did not sound convinced.
“That’s what everyone says.”
Themie sighed before forcing a smile.
“I made you some of your favorite orange chocolate chip cookies.” said the AI as she lifted the cover from the white ceramic plate on the coffee table. “I know they are not as good as Dr. Elbrun’s, but they are pretty decent if I may say so myself.”
Terri’s eyes lit up a bit, though not as brightly as Themie had hoped. Perhaps she should have brought some of Gorgan’s burgers instead.
Holding the bunny on her lap with one hand, Terri picked up the biggest piece of cookie from the plate and bit into it.
“Well,” said the AI, “I’ll leave you and the cookies to yourselves then. Let me know if you need anything.”
Terri nodded. As Themie dematerialized, the girl let out a small sigh, but didn’t stop munching on the cookies, and mere minutes passed before the dozen or so cookies vanished into her tummy – they didn’t call her the Cookie Monster for nothing.
Wiping the cookie crumbs off her lips with the back of her hand, Terri fell back into the couch and began caressing the bunny again.
“I’ll take care of you, Mr. Bunny.” she said softly. “I won’t let anyone hurt you. Promise.”
That’s when she thought she heard something, something like a transporter being activated. Looking up from the bunny, she found a small metallic cylinder on the coffee table, right next to the ceramic plate. She swore it wasn’t there a minute ago.
Tilting her head to the side, Terri leaned forward and picked up the cylinder. As she examined it, the circular groove in the middle of the device flashed a blinding bright light.
Terri instinctively closed her eyes, but it was already too late.
“Ugh.” She cried as a surge of pain and nausea coursed through her head. Burying her head in her hands, she fell forward and dropped onto her knees.
Then just as suddenly the pain was gone, but a slight nausea still lingered and a faint, buzzy noise rang in her ears.
Terri opened her eyes. Instead of the coffee table, she found in front of her an equipment cart with the insignia of Starfleet Medical on its front panel. Pulling herself back onto her own feet, the girl surveyed the room. She’s in a sickbay, but not Themyscira‘s sickbay. It’s Bunker Hill’s. She had seen it in pictures before. But how?
As the ringing in her ears finally quieted down, she noticed the frenzied chatter behind her. Turning around, she saw a doctor and two nurses in surgical garbs working frantically on a blonde haired woman at the biobed. The woman’s face was obscured by one of the nurses, but the doctor’s voice was familiar.
Terri tilted her head to the side. “Nola?”
Her stepmother didn’t respond. Perhaps the Betazoid was too focused on her patient to notice the girl. In fact, no one seemed to have noticed her presence.
Stirred by curiosity, Terri walked closer to the biobed and found herself a spot where she could have a better view of the patient being operated on – she had never seen a live surgery this close before – but as soon as she saw the woman’s face, her heart skipped a beat and then sank.
It was her mother.
It was her mother on the biobed, and she looked just like she did in those holo recordings.
“Her vitals are deteriorating rapidly. We have to deliver now.”
“Prepare for fetal transport.”
“Locking onto the baby’s coordinates. Initiating umbilical cord separation. Energizing.”
Blue transporter beams shimmered inside a nearby medical incubator and mere seconds later a clarion cry of life reverberated throughout the sickbay.
“The baby’s vitals are stable.”
“The lieutenant is going into shock.”
“Increase chlorofine to 22 milligrams.”
“It’s not working. Her basal ganglia is depolarizing at a much faster pace than we can compensate.”
“Prepare for neuropolaric induction. Set the cortical inhibitor to 85%, and bring me the neural modulator.”
A fleeting moment of dreary silence stifled the air as the biomonitor flatlined.
“. . . she’s gone.”
“I said bring me the neural modulator!”
“She’s gone, Doctor. There’s nothing we can do.”
Nola let out a long sigh. Still seemingly unaware of the little girl standing on the other side of the biobed, the Bunker Hill’s chief medical officer took off the suffocating surgical mask and looked over her right shoulder.
Quivering, Terri followed Nola’s glance to the man on the other side of the operating room’s observation window. “Dad?”
Nola walked over and unlocked the doors. “I’m so sorry . . .”
Captain Lee did not say a word as he stepped inside, but the pain in his countenance, the barely contained tears in his eyes, he was broken.
The man walked over to where his wife lied and paused his steps next to Terri. He looked dolefully over the Marine on the biobed and tugged a strand of loose hair behind her ear. Melancholy was his voice.
“She was the love of my life. She was my best friend.”
His voice turned bitter as he looked up to Nola on the other side of the biobed.
“But now she’s gone, and it’s all because of . . .”
The look in his eyes turned cold.
Nola frowned. “Oliver . . .”
The man ignored her and turned. He’s clearly not interested in what the doctor had to say. But as he walked past the incubator, he paused and glanced at the baby, whose cries only hardened the look in his eyes. Resuming his steps, the captain did not waste another second.
Nola took off her surgical garb and tapped her combadge.
“Elbrun to the bridge.”
=/\= L’Vor here. =/\=
“The baby is safe and sound, Commander, but we couldn’t save Lieutenant Ymir. The captain is headed to the bridge, but he’s not himself.”
=/\= I thought you said there were no more residual signs of the Vesuvians inside the captain.”
“And there weren’t any, but we simply don’t know enough about the psychological effects of the Vesuvian merging process. Besides, the man just watched his wife die. Prepare for the worst. I’m on my way.”
=/\= Acknowledged. =/\=
Still shaken, Terri didn’t know what to do. None of this made any sense. And that look in her dad’s eyes when he glanced at the baby, at her . . . it was terrifying. Did he think she killed her Mom? Did she? . . .
Terri snapped out of her own terrifying thoughts as her stepmother rushed past her. She hesitated for a second before running after the Betazoid, but as soon as she stepped through the sliding doors, she was again struck with excruciating pain in her head and fell on her knees.
Just as quickly as it struck, the pain subsided. Her ears still ringing, Terri opened her eyes. She was back in Nami’s quarters. Was that . . . was that a dream? No, it couldn’t be. She had just slept and she wasn’t feeling tired . . . the cylinder, where’s the cylinder?
Springing back on her feet. Terri looked around frantically for the cylinder, but all she found was Mr. Bunny lying motionless on the coffee table next to the ceramic plate, where she had first saw the mysterious cylinder.
“No!” She cried. Taking the bunny into her arms, she gently nudged the little creature with her shaking hand. “Wake up, Mr. Bunny, wake up . . .”
There was nothing. Not even a faint squeak. There was nothing.
“No . . .”
Terri fell back on her knees, tears streaming down her cheeks.
[End. To Be Continued in Part 5.]January 11, 2021 at 3:58 pm #430675
Part 5 – Vengeance
“Vengeance was her name, hatred her sword.”
– Mallim Tars, The Two Realms
The small room was dimly lit by the pale glow of the blue holographic displays that completely encircled the small human female in the middle. Her pixie cut blonde hair contrasted sharply with the black and dark grey colors of her garb. The impassive expression on her face was interrupted only by the terrible, burned scars that covered almost her entire lower face.
At the hissing noise of the opening doors behind her, the woman gently pressed a small attachment behind her right ear, and as soon as her hand pulled away, a holographic mask of the same dark shades as the rest of her attire materialized and covered her entire face below her emerald eyes. Turning around, she found a towering Romulan man before her.
“Let me guess, El’nar Ascendant is still looking for us?”
The Romulan nodded and joined her in the middle of the room, temporarily disrupting the coherence of one of the holographic displays as he walked through it.
“They are running a second sensor sweep of the area, but as long as we remain under cloak, we will be fine.” A pause. “How did it go?”
“Lee is as predictable as ever: she just can’t resist touching things she has no business touching. She activated the trigger, and now she will pay for it. They all will.”
“And the timeline?”
“See for yourself.” said the woman as her right hand swept over the circular device on her left wrist. At that simple gesture, the holographic displays surrounding them coalesced into a flowing, abstract representation of the changing time stream.
As the Romulan examined the data, the woman continued, “The new timeline will take some, well, time to solidify, but rest assured, the Federation will fall, and Lee will lose everyone and everything she has ever cared about.”
There was a slight tinge of unease as the Romulan spoke.
“You sure that was the best insertion point in her life? She was only six, Ayana. The trauma . . .”
“Is exactly what she deserves.” Retorted the woman. “Or did you forget what she did . . . what she would do?”
“Of course not.” said the Romulan. He hesitated for a moment, as if unsure whether it was wise to say what he was about to say. “But why kill the rabbit? It was not necessary.”
A sadistic smirk crept onto Ayana’s lips.
“Oh no, it was not necessary at all.”
[End. To Be Continued in Part 6.]
January 13, 2021 at 3:20 pm #430681MarcaseCommand Staff
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Prolibertate.
Enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing. 👍
"Boldly bashing Borg to bits since 2012..."January 14, 2021 at 10:40 pm #430686
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the continuation of the story. =)January 14, 2021 at 10:47 am #430688rgmen1907Fleet Member
This was a very good read.
Eagerly awaiting the next chapter 😀
aka @ulynneJanuary 15, 2021 at 2:09 pm #430698
Part 6 – Pain
“He marched on, bearing that unbearable anguish. Alone, he marched on.”
– Iloja of Prim, Meditations
Time: 2418, A Few Days after Part 4 – Promise
Location: USS Themyscira, On Route to Trion Nebula
:: CMO’s Office ::
“So?” Asked Captain Lee as soon as the door closed behind Dr. Nola Elbrun.
Setting her tricorder down on the desk, the Betazoid said, “Terri is fine, Oliver. But the scans . . . I consulted with Dr. Vas at the Denobulan Science Academy . . .”
“Dr. Elor Vas? The specialist in temporal mechanics?”
“Yes.” Nola nodded. “Long story short, Terri’s brain scans show residual traces of what Dr. Vas believes to be a rare variant of chroniton particles in the parts of her cerebral cortex responsible for dreams.”
Oliver frowned. “I don’t understand. Did she have a nightmare or did she actually travel back in time somehow?”
“That’s the million credit question, I’m afraid.”
Oliver shook his head and began pacing around the office.
“I’m no expert in temporal sciences, but If she did travel back in time somehow, shouldn’t you and I have memories of her being there six years ago?”
“I don’t have an answer for you right now, Oliver, but Terri is not a liar. She can be a difficult child at times, but she’s not a liar. Besides, her description of what she saw is almost an exact match of what happened. I know that. You know that. We were both there.”
Oliver paused his step and sighed.
Nola walked over to where he stood and intertwined her fingers with his.
“Whatever happened, she needs you, Oliver.”
The man knew what he should do, but he hesitated nonetheless.
“I . . .”
Reaching out, Nola caressed his left cheek with her free hand.
“I know how much Terri reminds you of Korra. She’s a spitting image of her. I see that, too. But whatever happened last week, the girl believes she witnessed the death of her mother, and she might not admit it, but at least part of her thinks it was her fault. No six-year-old should go through that on her own, Oliver.” Gently squeezing his hand, she added, “You need to be there for her, just like I’m here for you. I will always be here for you.”
The frown on Oliver’s brows loosened, and he nodded with a small smile. Maybe it was the warmth of her voice, maybe it was her subtle use of telepathy, whatever it was, he felt perhaps he could do it this time. Perhaps he could finally be the father Terri needed him to be. Perhaps.
Letting go of Nola, he habitually tugged at the bottom of his uniform jacket before heading out of the office and into the main sickbay where Terri had been left to rest after the last round of tests.
Terri watched from her biobed as Nola talked to her dad in the CMO’s office. She couldn’t hear what they were saying. Nor could she tell from his facial expressions if her Dad was still mad at her and, more important, if he believed her.
When she saw the two of them leaving the office and coming her way, the girl suddenly realized she was still holding pieces of the dermal regenerator she had found and disassembled while she waited. Quickly hiding the pieces under the pillow, she held her breath.
She had told them everything, so instead of trying to defend herself right away and looking guilty, she decided she would wait and see what her Dad had to say first. For all she knew, he might have believed her. After all, everything she had told them was true. So he had to believe her. Right?
Oliver paused his step next to the biobed. With Nola by his side, he managed a small smile and opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Terri preempted him, throwing out of the window her whole plan to remain quiet.
“I wasn’t lying.” She insisted. “I was telling the truth. I saw you and Nola on Bunker Hill. I saw . . . I saw Mom.” Turning to her stepmother, she pleaded, “Nola, tell Dad I wasn’t lying. Tell him I’m not lying.”
Oliver’s heart sank at the girl’s desperate plea. Had he been such a terrible father that her first instinct was he would not believe her?
Reaching out, he caressed the girl’s cheek with his hand. Softly he said, “It’s alright, Terri, I believe you.”
“But I was telling the truth. I wasn’t ly. . .” The words had already come out before Terri finished processing what her father had just said. She blinked and then blinked again. Finally a long repressed sigh escaped her throat, and she threw herself at her father and buried her head in his chest. She was a strong girl, and no one would ever see her cry.
Terri held onto her father until she thought his uniform jacket had soaked up the few drops of stupid tears that escaped her eyes. Looking back up, she wiped clean the moisture that still lingered.
“I’m not crying.”
Oliver smiled gently as he patted her head. “Of course, not. You are strong, Terri. You are strong. Just like your Mom.”
Terri let out one last snivel and hesitated for a second.
“Dad . . .”
Terri quickly glanced at her stepmother as if looking for support, but just as quickly she looked back at her father again.
“Did I . . . did I kill Mom?”
A sense of inescapable dread washed over Oliver as Terri asked the one question he had hoped he would never have to answer. It’s not that he didn’t know what the answer was – he knew exactly what he should say – and yet nothing came out.
Suddenly, an even more dreadful thought struck him: deep down did he actually blame Terri for Korra’s death? No, it couldn’t be. It was not her fault. None of it was her fault. Then why didn’t he tell her that? Why couldn’t he?
His heart sank and would have sunk to the bottom of the bottomless abyss if not for the gentle, but firm encouragement he felt in his hand and in his mind from Nola.
He looked into the pleading eyes of his daughter. He had to say something.
With bated breath Terri looked into her father’s eyes, hoping for something. Anything.
Just then the ship shook slightly, breaking the oppressive silence.
Almost relieved, Oliver tapped his combadge.
“Lee to the bridge, report.”
L’Vor responded through the intercom.
=/\= We have just entered the nebula as scheduled, captain. We are adjusting shield frequency to compensate for further spatial disturbance. Once Commander Singh finishes recalibrating the probes, we will begin collecting the exotic particles as requested by the Vulcan Science Academy. =/\=
“Keep me posted, Commander.”
Turning back to the girl, Oliver took a deep breath. He had to say something. Anything.
Terri’s heart skipped a beat as his father’s lips moved, but before anything came out of them, a familiar wave of pangs coursed up her spine and struck her head.
Crying out in pain, she fell forward from the biobed, but instead of her father’s embrace, she felt the cold, metallic surface of a guard rail.
Her eyes still closed, Terri held onto the rail tightly as the spasm of pain receded. A few moments later, it was gone, and she opened her eyes. She was on the bridge, Bunker Hill’s bridge. Commander or rather Lieutenant Commander L’Vor was sitting in the captain’s chair, and there was Nami, manning the tactical station with an ensign’s pip on her uniform collar. And just like before, no one seemed to have noticed her sudden appearance.
“No, not again.” Terri murmured under her breath.
Just then the hiss of the opening turbolift on the other side of the bridge caught her attention as well as the attention of everyone else on the bridge.
Her father stormed out of the lift, followed by the Betazoid doctor who would become her stepmother.
L’Vor vacated the captain’s chair for its rightful occupant, but Oliver didn’t take his seat. For a few moments, the Bunker Hill’s commanding officer fixated his eyes on the viewscreen and the lush blue planet below.
Then he took his seat and spoke. His voice was calm, frightfully calm.
“Ensign Ishikawa, arm quantum torpedoes and target the Vesuvian portal on the planet surface. Full spread. Fire when ready.”
Nami arched an eyebrow at the order. Like everyone else on the bridge, she had heard what the doctor told L’Vor through the intercom, and she would gladly fire those torpedoes – the Vesuvians deserved far worse for what they did to Korra – but that’s not Oliver. The man was not a cold-blooded killer.
“Belay that, Ensign.” L’Vor instructed the Trill tactical officer. Turning back to Oliver, she said, “Captain, destroying that portal would collapse the pocket dimension the Vesuvians inhabit.”
The reply from Oliver was as cold as the polar iceberg of Andor.
“We cannot allow them the opportunity to possess anyone else, Commander.”
“But sir, it would condemn their entire species to death. They will all die.”
“Then let them die!” Cried Oliver as he slammed his fist into the armrest of his chair. Stabbing his fingers at the view screen, the man howled from the bottom of his lung. “She’s gone, L’Vor! She’s gone! And they will pay! They will all pay!”
He turned to the tactical station.
“Ensign, I gave you an order. Fire quantum torpedoes!”
Nami glanced at L’Vor and then Nola before looking back to Oliver.
“I can’t do that, sir.”
“Then you are relieved, Ensign.” Said Oliver as he made his way to the tactical station. He would fire those damned torpedoes himself if he had to.
Nola signaled L’Vor to restrain the captain as she plucked a hypospray from her medical utility belt. Normally a Vulcan nerve pinch would be sufficient to diffuse the situation, but if Oliver was indeed still under the influence of the Vesuvians, nerve pinch would be quite useless as they learned the hard way a few days ago.
L’Vor acknowledged the doctor’s signal with a slight nod and proceeded to intercept the human before he reached the tactical station. Firmly placing her hand on the man’s shoulder, she said, “This is not what Lieutenant Ymir would want, Captain.”
Grabbing the Vulcan by her uniform, Oliver yanked his XO closer. Menace pierced through the little distance between them as he enunciated every syllable.
“Don’t you dare mention her name.”
Nola did not wait for the situation to escalate any further. From behind him, she gently pressed the hypospray against the base of Oliver’s neck, and the tranquilizer took effect almost immediately.
As his grasp on L’Vor’s uniform loosened, Oliver stumbled backward and fell into Nola’s waiting arms.
“Ensign Ishikawa.” The doctor called out to Nami and signaled the Trill to help her move the unconscious captain to his ready room.
L’Vor walked over to the slightly raised platform in front of the viewscreen and addressed the bridger crew.
“Captain Lee is still grieving and was not acting on his own free will due to residual Vesuvian influence. Nothing to the contrary will be entered into the log. Is that clear?”
Without any hesitation, the entire bridge crew nodded in unison.
Terri watched the ready room doors close behind her stepmother and Nami. She had no idea who the Vesuvians were or what they did. In fact, she had no idea what was going on. At all. Everything was so confusing and made little sense . . . except she had never seen her Dad this angry, this scary, and it was all because her Mom was gone. And her Mom was gone all because . . . because of her?
“No . . .” She murmured defiantly just as tears began to swell up in her eyes, but this time she did not get a chance to wipe them away before another spasm of pain struck her. It was less severe than before, but much more disorienting, and everything slowly faded to black as she felt her knees weakening.
:: Later, Sickbay, USS Themyscira ::
Nola handed the PADD to Oliver as she spoke.
“Her latest episode might have been triggered by the exotic particles we were collecting in the nebula. Some of them have properties similar to those of the chroniton particles that showed up in the first brain scans.”
Oliver ran through the data on the PADD, half of which were beyond his comprehension.
“Where did those chroniton particles come from in the first place?”
“That we don’t know. But first thing first, we should move Terri to a facility with more specialized and better equipment than what we have here on Bunker Hill so that we can conduct a more thorough examination. Dr. Vas has everything we need in his lab. I already asked him, and he’s happy to lend a hand.”
“I will contact Admiral Ro. I don’t think she would mind us making a detour to Denobula.”
That’s when they both noticed that the little girl lying on the biobed between them had begun to wake up.
Oliver rested his hand on Terri’s shoulder and smiled.
“Hi there, Pumpkin, how are you feeling?”
As soon as Terri saw her dad, she jumped from the bed and threw herself at him. Burying her face in his chest, she sobbed uncontrollably.
“It was not my . . . I didn’t . . . I didn’t kill Mom. I didn’t . . .”
Oliver’s heart sank as guilt washed over him. Dropping the PADD on the biobed, he held Terri tightly in his arms.
“I’m here, Pumpkin. I’m here.”
Sighing heavily, he cursed himself under his breath. Was that all he could say? Was that the best he could do?
[End. To Be Continued in Part 7.]January 15, 2021 at 2:33 pm #430700
Part 7 – The Future That Time Forgot
“What is time? Is it an oppressive tyrant or a loving parent?”
– Yoshiki Toyoda, A Brief Treatise on Temporal Mechanics, Vol. 5
Time: 2450, In A Future That Time Forgot
Location: Khija Nebula
:: Captain’s Ready Room, USS El’nar Ascendant ::
“You still haven’t answered my question.” Said the older woman on the holographic view screen. A pause. “It’s just a treaty signing, Terri. It will be over before you know it.”
Captain Terri Cornelia Lee rolled her eyes. “Oh please, it’s not just a treaty signing. I saw the program for the ceremony, Mom. It’s horrifying, as in horrifyingly long and boring.”
Major General Korra Ymir chuckled.
“Yes, that it is, but you know how important the treaty is for your father. It could be the beginning of something even greater than the Federation. And don’t tell me you are on some top secret mission. I might have retired from the Marine Corps, but I still have friends in high places, and I know El’nar Ascendant is scheduled for a shoreleave on Accion IV two days before the signing ceremony. Accion IV is only two hours from Khitomer at warp 5.”
Terri grumbled something unintelligible before giving her mother a half-hearted nod. “Fine, I’ll be there.” She paused for a moment and then asked, “Why did Dad leave Starfleet in the first place? I mean, come on, he was the hero of Elfa III, for heaven’s sake. He could have easily made it to the Chief of Starfleet Operations if he had not retired and joined N’Verix’ cabinet. Now all he does is talking, shaking hands, kissing babies, and more talking.”
“As much as I like a good fight, and you know I do, Pumpkin, but this treaty would not have been possible if your father had not stopped another war with the Dominion twenty-five years ago, and he didn’t stop it at the head of an armada. He stopped it with nothing more than, well, talking and shaking hands.”
Terri shrugged. “We would have trounced the Dominion in under a year.”
Her first officer’s voice came through the intercom and interrupted the conversation.
=/\= Takath to the Captain, we have arrived outside of the nebula. =/\=
Terri tapped her combadge. “On my way.” Looking back at her mother on the view screen, she said, “I have to go.”
Korra nodded. “Give them hell, Pumpkin.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Terri responded with a chuckle before terminating the call and turning off the display.
:: Meanwhile, Romulan Reconnaissance Vessel Nurel ::
Durek watched in amazement as the holographic representation of the time streams began to coalesce into a single timeline around them.
“I don’t believe it. It actually worked.”
“Of course, it did.” Said Ayana. “Just like my simulations predicted, all we needed to do was remove Lee’s mother from her life and then trigger her temporal cognition ahead of schedule. Her father might be a great man – even I have to admit that – but he’s a lousy parent. Without her mother, Lee will never become the woman that she is. And she will pay for everything she did and for everyone she took from us.”
Letting out a sneer, she continued.
“And as an added bonus, her father will now start the Second Dominion War instead of preventing it. The Lees and their self-righteous arrogance bringing about the destruction of their beloved Federation, now, that is quite the poetic justice, wouldn’t you say?”
Suddenly the ship shook violently, nearly knocking Ayana and Durek off their balance.
Tapping the circular device on her left wrist, Ayana terminated the temporal observation protocol and opened a channel to the bridge.
=/\= El’nar Ascendant just sent out a resonant tachyon pulse. The cloak is still holding, but once they get the frequency right, they would be able to pinpoint our location. We should get going if you two are done down there. =/\=
“On our way.”
A few moments later, Ayana walked onto the bridge of her ship, followed closely behind by Durek. They both grabbed onto a guard rail just as another wave of tachyon pulse hit.
“It won’t be long before they figure out the frequency.” Warned Las at the tactical station.
Ayana took her seat at the center of the small bridge.
The bluish nebula on the small oval viewscreen was replaced by a front view of their adversary, the USS El’nar Ascendant, a Federation heavy strike wing escort refit, poised to pound as soon as it found its prey.
Ayana tapped a few controls on her wrist mounted device and brought up a small holographic display indicating that the solidification of the new timeline was 98.2 percent complete.
She had already won.
“Deactivate the cloak.”
Durek raised an eyebrow.
“Are you crazy? Our temporal shielding might protect us from timeline changes, but it won’t hold up to a few quantum torpedoes, much less the few hundreds in El’nar Ascendant’s weapons pod. As soon as we drop the cloak, we are as good as dead.”
Ayana dismissed the Romulan with a wave of her hand.
“They are the Federation, Durek, and the Federation never fires first. Besides, have I ever miscalculated?”
Durek grunted under his breath, but the human was right: she had so far proven herself correct at every turn.
“Deactivating the cloak.”
:: Meanwhile, Bridge, USS El’nar Ascendant ::
Terri was growing impatient. She had not spent the last six months chasing down Ayana just to lose track of that homicidal maniac now. The monster would pay for all the destruction she had left behind. She would pay for every life she had taken. And most important, she would pay for leaving Adella to die on that forsaken planet.
“Still nothing.” Reported Lieutenant Zaar Mith at the science station.
“Damn it.” Terri groaned from her seat. “Fine, you want to play, Ayana. Let’s play.” Turning to the Tellarite science officer, she said, “Focus the tachyon particles through the axionic modulator and reset the resonant pulse to continuous firing cycle.”
“Aye, aye, Captain.”
Then she looked to the human lieutenant commander at tactical. “Sasha, lock weapons on them as soon as their cloak fails. If they so much as power on their weapons, fire quantum torpedoes and blow them back to whatever hellhole they crawled out of.”
Commander Takath, on the other hand, was less certain. With a slightly raised eyebrow, the El’nar Ascendant’s executive officer objected from his seat.
“Our order is to take them in alive, Captain. Starfleet Intelligence wants as little damage to that ship as possible.”
Terri snorted as one end of her lips curled up in a smirk.
“Come on, Takath. What kind of Klingon warrior are you, walking away from a glorious battle like this? Just imagine all the statues they will honor you with in the First City for taking down the Butcher of Kaldin V.”
“First of all, Captain, I’m from Toronto.” The Klingon officer reminded his friend. “And second of all, I would die a coward before setting foot on Qo’nos.”
“Oh, yeah? Then why . . .”
Before Terri could finish her retort, Sasha interrupted her.
“They have decloaked. Locking onto target . . . wait, we are being hailed.”
The smirk quickly vanished from Terri’s face.
The nebula on the view screen was immediately replaced by the bridge of a Romulan reconnaissance vessel, where Ayana stood up from her seat and stepped forward.
“Terri, it’s good to see you again.”
Terri mirrored the other woman’s move and positioned herself in front of the much larger view screen of her own ship.
“Save it, Ayana. Surrender now before I wipe the floor with your ugly face. Or even better, don’t surrender, and we will settle this the old fashioned way. Just you and I. Or do you prefer the way of the coward, hiding behind your cloak and your mask?”
“A duel? Oh, come on, Terri, don’t be silly. We might hate each other, but we are not savages.” She paused for a moment as if to reconsider the other woman’s offer. “On the other hand, since I already won, I suppose it’s only fair that you know who beat you at your own game.”
“What the heck are you talking about? I have 271 quantum torpedoes ready to fire on your pathetic ship. And what do you have? A couple of plasmas?”
Ayana didn’t answer the question. Instead she pressed the small metallic disk behind her right ear and deactivated the holographic mask that covered her disfigured face.
The sight of Ayana’s uncovered face drew a collective gasp on the El’nar Ascendant’s bridge, and none was more dumbfounded than the ship’s captain herself.
Having recollected her composure, Terri stood up from her seat and stepped closer toward the viewscreen, her teeth grinding, her jaw clenched.
“This is not possible. I blew you up together with your ship in the Corin System.”
“Ah, yes, you did, and thank you for that because if you had not . . .” Ayana paused and her eyes fell on her nemesis’ left wrist. “I see you still have that bracelet on.”
Terri raised an eyebrow at the non-sequitur.
Ayana looked back up and straight into the other woman’s eyes.
“That’s why you are destined to lose to me, Terri. You have a gift, a gift to bend time to your own will, but instead of using it to seize the greatness that could be yours, you suppress it with that bracelet. You can hide behind the Temporal Prime Directive all you want, but we both know why you deny the gift inside of you: just like your precious Federation, you are a coward, Terri Cornelia Lee, a coward.”
Before Terri could respond, Zaar reported from his station.
“The sensors are picking up a massive build up of spatial distortions.”
“What? From where?” Asked Takath.
“I . . . I’m not sure . . .”
Without wasting a second, Terri rushed over to the science station and examined the myriad of data streaming through the holo displays.
“These are not spatial distortions. They are . . . temporal . . .”
Looking back up at the woman on the view screen, she bellowed.
“What did you do?!”
Ayana rolled her eyes at the question.
“Ah, yes, always blame others first. But I suppose none of that matters now.” A pause. “Oh, I do hope you have had a chance to say goodbye to your mother.”
Terri’s countenance turned from bewilderment to horror.
“No . . .”
Fire burned furiously in Terri’s eyes.
“I will kill you, Ayana! You hear me?! I will kill you!”
Ayana shook her head.
“No, you won’t, Terri, no, you won’t.”
As she watched the El’nar Ascendant and everyone on it fade into oblivion on the viewscreen, Ayana smirked and savored her bitter moment of triumph.
“Long live the Princess.”
[End. To Be Continued in Part 8.]January 15, 2021 at 2:35 pm #430701
Again thanks for reading, guys! =D I will upload the next few parts as soon as I get a chance.January 16, 2021 at 12:56 am #430706ShohomCommodore
Loving it, eagerly waiting for the following parts!January 26, 2021 at 9:00 pm #430926
Sorry for the delay. I was having some trouble with parts of the story, but here they are, parts 8-11. Starting with Part 8, there is a time jump of about seven years to when Terri’s thirteen. Terri will always be the protagonist, but from here and onwards, focus will shift to other characters from time to time in order to better flesh out the supporting characters as well as the universe in which the story takes place. As always. thanks for reading! =DJanuary 26, 2021 at 9:03 pm #430927
Part 8 – Pumpkin Love
“Youthful infatuation, is there anything more pure and awkward in the universe?”
– Mzuzi, The Book of Lores
Location: New York City, Earth
:: Apartment of Rear Admiral Oliver A. Lee and Captain Nola Elbrun ::
James smashed his hands frantically on the controller as his holographic avatar, a bloodied Captain Neutrino, struggled to fend off the blistering attacks from the Red Streak, his health bar dropping precipitously until a Super Lightening Smash Combo from the speedster obliterated what was left of it.
James threw the controller down on the couch in frustration. He didn’t even want to come to his nemesis’ stupid thirteenth birthday party, but his parents practically dragged him here, and now she had humiliated him again in front of all the other kids. Life sucked.
An exuberant Terri threw up her hands in the air. As the small group of kids cheered around them, the girl stabbed her controller in Jame’s direction as she mimicked her avatar’s catchphrase from the comics.
“I just kicked your butt! Bwhaaaaa!”
That’s when she felt her father’s hand on her shoulder.
“Alright, Terri, that’s enough.” Said Oliver. “Be nice. You are the host, remember?”
Terri turned around and blinked. Sheepishly she said, “But I won.”
Oliver gently ruffled the girl’s short, blonde hair.
“Yes, you did, Pumpkin, and great work, but real winners don’t brag about their wins. They don’t have to. Isn’t that right?”
Terri lowered her head. She never wanted to disappoint her dad, especially not today: it was the first time in years he was able to make it for her birthday party.
Somewhat reluctantly, she nodded. “Yeah.”
Oliver cupped the girl’s cheek with his right hand and gently lifted her head until their eyes met again. He smiled.
“That’s my Pumpkin.”
Before letting her go, the man sighed wistfully as he saw the girl’s mother in those emerald green eyes. Swallowing hard, he looked back up at the group of chattering kids and forced a grin.
“Who wants to help me decorate the cake?”
All the kids raised their hands amidst a cacophony of “Me!” “Me!” “Me!” Even James’s eyes lit up at the mention of the cake decoration.
“Alright, everyone to the kitchen, on the double!”
As the other kids rushed out of the game room, Terri tugged on father’s sleeve. “Can I come, too?”
Oliver brushed a strand of loose hair behind the girl’s ear.
“You know you can’t come, Terri. You are the birthday girl. The cake is supposed to be a surprise. But you can help me find Korin. Captain L’Vor will be here soon to pick him up.”
That’s when Terri remembered that her best friend was supposed to leave early for some ceremony thingy back on Vulcan. And she still hadn’t had a chance to tell him yet.
“I know where he is.”
Dashing out of the game room, Terri made her way through the living room, where several adults chatted among themselves. Just as she passed the front door, the chime rang. Pausing her steps, the girl smashed her palm on the control panel nearby. The doors slid open and revealed a slender Trill with a lieutenant commander’s pips on her uniform collar.
“Nami! I mean, Commander Ishikawa.”
The Trill smiled.
“It’s your birthday, kiddo. I think we can drop the formality. You look like you are in a hurry. Going somewhere?”
“I’m looking for Korin.” Answered Terri. “I thought you said you couldn’t make it to the party.”
Nami hesitated for a moment.
“Well, I’m here now. Where’s your dad?”
“He’s in the kitchen with Nola. They are decorating the cake.”
Nami’s brows tightened slightly at the mention of the Betazoid doctor.
“I see. Alright, now go find Korin.”
Terri nodded and continued on her way to the study. Once inside, she quickly located Korin on the balcony. The Andorian boy was sitting on a small bench with a paper book in one hand and a tofu shish kebab in the other. And he was all by himself.
As she made her way over, Terri could feel those tiny little butterflies fluttering their tiny little wings in her stomach. But with no one else around, this was her chance.
You can do this. The girl reminded herself before stepping onto the balcony with a goofy smile.
Korin looked up from his book.
“Terri. Did you win the game with James?”
Terri beamed and punched the air between them with her fists, mimicking one of her favorite superhero’s attack moves.
“Of course! I’m the Red Streak! I kicked Jame’s butt so hard he didn’t even see it coming.”
Korin smiled slightly, but the even tempo of his voice was almost Vulcan.
Taking a bite of his tofu, Korin offered the rest of his shish kebab..
“Do you want some? Captain Elbrun’s grilled bean curd is quite good.”
Terri let out a small sigh and shook her head.
“No, it’s alright. I’m allergic to tofu.”
“I see. That is unfortunate.”
“Yeah, I actually really liked tofu.”
Terri hesitated as her hands fidgeted behind her back.
“So, Korin, I need to tell you something.”
Terri could feel her cheeks burning. This is it. She told herself.
“Korin, I . . . I like . . . . . . your shirt.”
“Oh, uh, thank you.” Said a mildly puzzled Korin.
Her cheeks burning red, Terri pinched herself on the arm behind her back. Ugh, stupid Terri.
“What I meant was, uh . . .” You can do it, Terri. “What I meant was . . . your mom will be here soon.”
Terri pinched herself again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Korin closed his book and took another bite of his tofu shish kebab. “I see. I will get ready then.” With that he got up from the bench.
Terri watched Korin walk past her and into the study. She groaned. Once Korin left for Vulcan, who knew when she would see him again. If she didn’t tell him now . . . but every time she tried to tell him, she said something stupid instead. Maybe . . . maybe she should just show him. Yes, she would show him that she liked him.
Spinning around, Terri ran back into the study and caught up with Korin before he reached the door that led to the hallway.
“Wait.” She grabbed the boy’s arm.
As Korin turned around, Terri closed her eyes and leaned in, smashing her lips against his.
That’s how you kiss someone, right? Who cares? She finally did it. And his lips were so soft and tasty and . . . wait, why did her lips start to feel weird and itchy? She only ever felt that when . . .
Opening her eyes in horror, Terri found Korin’s confused, pale blue eyes inches away from hers, and between their lips was the last piece of tofu on his shish kebab.
“What the . . .” As Terri panicked and stumbled backward, she lost her footing and fell onto the hardwood floor with a thud.
Korin didn’t know why his best friend didn’t just ask him for the tofu or why she would want to eat something she was allergic to in the first place, but he quickly reached down with his free hand.
“Are you alright?”
Her cheeks burning from allergy and embarrassment in equal measure, Terri slapped away the proffered hand. She sprang back onto her own feet and scurried off into the hallway, leaving behind a visibly confused Korin.
L’Vor was a few feet away from the study when the doors swooshed open and Terri dashed out and down the hallway. Raising a curious eyebrow, the Vulcan entered the study and found her adopted son in the middle of the room with a mostly finished tofu shish kebab in his hand.
Korin scratched the back of his head and looked down at his last piece of tofu.
“Terri is allergic to bean curd.” A pause. “I think?”
[End. To Be Continued in Part 9.]
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