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 Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1

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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:56 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.


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Last edited by Lillian Crae on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:08 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:34 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.


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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:25 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians." said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realisation that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."
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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:28 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:59 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honestly, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."
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Lars Janssen
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:04 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honestly, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."
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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:37 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:28 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:45 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.
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Lars Janssen
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:33 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:18 am

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:33 am

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realised that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."
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Lars Janssen
Lieutenant Commander (G)
Lieutenant Commander (G)
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Posts : 95
Join date : 2011-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:02 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realised that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"
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Sergeni Kostev
Lance Lieutenant
Lance Lieutenant
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Posts : 593
Join date : 2011-10-28
Age : 27
Location : Scotland

PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:19 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realised that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."
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Lars Janssen
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:42 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realised that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."

Lars frowned for a moment at that news, then did his best to look unfazed. He glanced over to regard Taylor, noticed Sareth for the first time, and chewed his lip. Decorum limited his responses at this point, so he smiled and responded with exaggerated patience. "Well Colonel, believe it or not we can still learn a lot from even a decoy. Microscopic signatures can reveal clues to who might have planted it. A whole wealth of knowledge can be gained by looking over even the tiniest of scratches. Isn't that neat?" he asked in slow manner of speaking that suggested that he was talking to a child, ostensibly Sareth, but he really meant it condescendingly for Taylor's ears.

He gazed directly at the marine then and smiled wolfishly. "And I will be sure to mention Ensign Pena in my report, don't worry." Nothing more was said on that subject, leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions from that potentially ominous statement. The point hopefully made, Lars turned to Minas to make some meaningless conversation and clear the air.

"So is there any news on how the recent unpleasantness has affected the planetary grav-polo leagues? Last I checked the Starbursts led the Central Division, but I suppose that could change if some of their players are out recovering from that nasty virus." He shrugged, and hoped that even if the man wasn't a sports fan the comment would be taken as an indicator that Lars was the one trying to be sociable.
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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:01 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realised that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."

Lars frowned for a moment at that news, then did his best to look unfazed. He glanced over to regard Taylor, noticed Sareth for the first time, and chewed his lip. Decorum limited his responses at this point, so he smiled and responded with exaggerated patience. "Well Colonel, believe it or not we can still learn a lot from even a decoy. Microscopic signatures can reveal clues to who might have planted it. A whole wealth of knowledge can be gained by looking over even the tiniest of scratches. Isn't that neat?" he asked in slow manner of speaking that suggested that he was talking to a child, ostensibly Sareth, but he really meant it condescendingly for Taylor's ears.

He gazed directly at the marine then and smiled wolfishly. "And I will be sure to mention Ensign Pena in my report, don't worry." Nothing more was said on that subject, leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions from that potentially ominous statement. The point hopefully made, Lars turned to Minas to make some meaningless conversation and clear the air.

"So is there any news on how the recent unpleasantness has affected the planetary grav-polo leagues? Last I checked the Starbursts led the Central Division, but I suppose that could change if some of their players are out recovering from that nasty virus." He shrugged, and hoped that even if the man wasn't a sports fan the comment would be taken as an indicator that Lars was the one trying to be sociable.

"Yeah, Ensign Pena. The Orion slave girl I bought." said Taylor with a snarl who put down Sareth on the sofa so he could tower over Lars once more. It was like a battle to him; take away the weapons of your foe and he'll have nothing to fight you with. Take away his cover and he'll either surrender or die. He wasn't going to let Lars have the satisfaction of bleeding Nayla's existence bit by bit. Time to do something unexpected. "The girl who I bought so instead of having to shake her ass on a stage to feed herself and her older brother, I taught them how to survive. Both of them. The girl who is now a Starfleet officer free from all ties other than to the uniform. The girl who managed to give me more information in an hour than you could pull up during this whole fiasco."

Again Taylor loomed over Lars but this time he was calm, collected. Lars was an enemy and therefore emotions couldn't be brought into it. "You're also in uniform lieutenant commander." said Taylor in the same child-appeasing voice that Lars had put on. "That means you call me sir. And since you're so sure about being able to find evidence on the device and have already taken full responsibility for its well-being, I'm ordering you as of this moment to start your investigation. Which means you leave this house and follow orders given to you by an officer of higher rank. Dispute the order...and I'll have you arrested and thrown behind a forcefield. I'll delay the process so someone else gets the chance to present that device to Headquarters. Off you go, lieutenant commander.
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:56 am

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realized that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

"I think if you took him in the Holodeck with you guys or just showed him around the armory on a slow day he would be just as impressed as he would be on the bridge." Lillian laughed as she injected Megan with the cure.

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."

Lars frowned for a moment at that news, then did his best to look unfazed. He glanced over to regard Taylor, noticed Sareth for the first time, and chewed his lip. Decorum limited his responses at this point, so he smiled and responded with exaggerated patience. "Well Colonel, believe it or not we can still learn a lot from even a decoy. Microscopic signatures can reveal clues to who might have planted it. A whole wealth of knowledge can be gained by looking over even the tiniest of scratches. Isn't that neat?" he asked in slow manner of speaking that suggested that he was talking to a child, ostensibly Sareth, but he really meant it condescendingly for Taylor's ears.

He gazed directly at the marine then and smiled wolfishly. "And I will be sure to mention Ensign Pena in my report, don't worry." Nothing more was said on that subject, leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions from that potentially ominous statement. The point hopefully made, Lars turned to Minas to make some meaningless conversation and clear the air.

"So is there any news on how the recent unpleasantness has affected the planetary grav-polo leagues? Last I checked the Starbursts led the Central Division, but I suppose that could change if some of their players are out recovering from that nasty virus." He shrugged, and hoped that even if the man wasn't a sports fan the comment would be taken as an indicator that Lars was the one trying to be sociable.

"Yeah, Ensign Pena. The Orion slave girl I bought." said Taylor with a snarl who put down Sareth on the sofa so he could tower over Lars once more. It was like a battle to him; take away the weapons of your foe and he'll have nothing to fight you with. Take away his cover and he'll either surrender or die. He wasn't going to let Lars have the satisfaction of bleeding Nayla's existence bit by bit. Time to do something unexpected. "The girl who I bought so instead of having to shake her ass on a stage to feed herself and her older brother, I taught them how to survive. Both of them. The girl who is now a Starfleet officer free from all ties other than to the uniform. The girl who managed to give me more information in an hour than you could pull up during this whole fiasco."

Again Taylor loomed over Lars but this time he was calm, collected. Lars was an enemy and therefore emotions couldn't be brought into it. "You're also in uniform lieutenant commander." said Taylor in the same child-appeasing voice that Lars had put on. "That means you call me sir. And since you're so sure about being able to find evidence on the device and have already taken full responsibility for its well-being, I'm ordering you as of this moment to start your investigation. Which means you leave this house and follow orders given to you by an officer of higher rank. Dispute the order...and I'll have you arrested and thrown behind a forcefield. I'll delay the process so someone else gets the chance to present that device to Headquarters. Off you go, lieutenant commander.

"I think we've all heard quite enough," Minas said suddenly, having kept his tongue long enough. "There's no need to talk to any of us like we are children, Lars, and Taylor, in my house no one outranks anyone else--as much as I appreciate your protectiveness and integrity, we are all equal here."

He had been trying to form opinions on the two men that his daughters seemed to be so enthralled by and he was honestly a bit appalled by the behavior. Minas and Leona had welcomed the men into his home and they were picking fights left and right. Mostly he was stunned by the way Lars talked around a subject, and he wanted to make it clear that this had gone on long enough.

"Taylor has been fighting for those that couldn't fight for themselves since he put that uniform on and you will show him some respect, Lars--as he will show you respect for your Starfleet position." Minas explained to them slowly. "Anyone who has helped in this matter will be given all of the credit that they deserve and I will vouch for every one of them. They helped to save a planet and no one will be short-changed. On top of helping to secure the bomb location, Taylor took care of a threat that not only threatened the lives of many, but the lives of Megan, Sareth and Lilly on a more personal level as Jason personally infected them in the first place and Lilly...that's complicated. You two have a past and you can deal with it somewhere else but here...here we are family. We are going to eat dinner and be civil and accommodating and then you will go about your business...if we're pulling rank here than I have it as an Ambassador of Betazed and as master of this house. Lars, kindly help my wife to put food on the table and Taylor? I need to talk to you up in my study. Everyone clear?"

Lillian, Megan and Sareth all nodded as this was a routine for them and Lillian spoke. "We're clear, Daddy. Sareth? Help Aunt Megan to the table and then help Lars to set it and I'm going to check on something. Taylor? Good luck."

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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:26 am

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realized that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

"I think if you took him in the Holodeck with you guys or just showed him around the armory on a slow day he would be just as impressed as he would be on the bridge." Lillian laughed as she injected Megan with the cure.

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."

Lars frowned for a moment at that news, then did his best to look unfazed. He glanced over to regard Taylor, noticed Sareth for the first time, and chewed his lip. Decorum limited his responses at this point, so he smiled and responded with exaggerated patience. "Well Colonel, believe it or not we can still learn a lot from even a decoy. Microscopic signatures can reveal clues to who might have planted it. A whole wealth of knowledge can be gained by looking over even the tiniest of scratches. Isn't that neat?" he asked in slow manner of speaking that suggested that he was talking to a child, ostensibly Sareth, but he really meant it condescendingly for Taylor's ears.

He gazed directly at the marine then and smiled wolfishly. "And I will be sure to mention Ensign Pena in my report, don't worry." Nothing more was said on that subject, leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions from that potentially ominous statement. The point hopefully made, Lars turned to Minas to make some meaningless conversation and clear the air.

"So is there any news on how the recent unpleasantness has affected the planetary grav-polo leagues? Last I checked the Starbursts led the Central Division, but I suppose that could change if some of their players are out recovering from that nasty virus." He shrugged, and hoped that even if the man wasn't a sports fan the comment would be taken as an indicator that Lars was the one trying to be sociable.

"Yeah, Ensign Pena. The Orion slave girl I bought." said Taylor with a snarl who put down Sareth on the sofa so he could tower over Lars once more. It was like a battle to him; take away the weapons of your foe and he'll have nothing to fight you with. Take away his cover and he'll either surrender or die. He wasn't going to let Lars have the satisfaction of bleeding Nayla's existence bit by bit. Time to do something unexpected. "The girl who I bought so instead of having to shake her ass on a stage to feed herself and her older brother, I taught them how to survive. Both of them. The girl who is now a Starfleet officer free from all ties other than to the uniform. The girl who managed to give me more information in an hour than you could pull up during this whole fiasco."

Again Taylor loomed over Lars but this time he was calm, collected. Lars was an enemy and therefore emotions couldn't be brought into it. "You're also in uniform lieutenant commander." said Taylor in the same child-appeasing voice that Lars had put on. "That means you call me sir. And since you're so sure about being able to find evidence on the device and have already taken full responsibility for its well-being, I'm ordering you as of this moment to start your investigation. Which means you leave this house and follow orders given to you by an officer of higher rank. Dispute the order...and I'll have you arrested and thrown behind a forcefield. I'll delay the process so someone else gets the chance to present that device to Headquarters. Off you go, lieutenant commander.

"I think we've all heard quite enough," Minas said suddenly, having kept his tongue long enough. "There's no need to talk to any of us like we are children, Lars, and Taylor, in my house no one outranks anyone else--as much as I appreciate your protectiveness and integrity, we are all equal here."

He had been trying to form opinions on the two men that his daughters seemed to be so enthralled by and he was honestly a bit appalled by the behavior. Minas and Leona had welcomed the men into his home and they were picking fights left and right. Mostly he was stunned by the way Lars talked around a subject, and he wanted to make it clear that this had gone on long enough.

"Taylor has been fighting for those that couldn't fight for themselves since he put that uniform on and you will show him some respect, Lars--as he will show you respect for your Starfleet position." Minas explained to them slowly. "Anyone who has helped in this matter will be given all of the credit that they deserve and I will vouch for every one of them. They helped to save a planet and no one will be short-changed. On top of helping to secure the bomb location, Taylor took care of a threat that not only threatened the lives of many, but the lives of Megan, Sareth and Lilly on a more personal level as Jason personally infected them in the first place and Lilly...that's complicated. You two have a past and you can deal with it somewhere else but here...here we are family. We are going to eat dinner and be civil and accommodating and then you will go about your business...if we're pulling rank here than I have it as an Ambassador of Betazed and as master of this house. Lars, kindly help my wife to put food on the table and Taylor? I need to talk to you up in my study. Everyone clear?"

Lillian, Megan and Sareth all nodded as this was a routine for them and Lillian spoke. "We're clear, Daddy. Sareth? Help Aunt Megan to the table and then help Lars to set it and I'm going to check on something. Taylor? Good luck."

Minas' intervention was rather unexpected since it seemed to come out of nowhere. Rather than challenge the man's authority which Taylor would rather charge a repeater nest than to, Taylor just turned to Minas with a parade ground precision. "Yes sir." he said calmly, walking away from Lars while whispering the word Mudak to Lars. Winking at Lillian to let her know he was ok he walked into the study with Minas. He didn't know what to expect. He expected to be shouted at which was something he could take. What he couldn't take was Lars' serpent like ways.

"Ambassador, I'd like to offer my apologise for my behaviour. I hope you believe me when I say I'm not normally this unprofessional. It's just...him. He got one of my men killed because of his crap. While I respect your family enough to eat at the same table as him don't think I can sit there and forget all he's done and all he will do."
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Lars Janssen
Lieutenant Commander (G)
Lieutenant Commander (G)
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Join date : 2011-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:42 am

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBA


Leona was busy making dinner with Taylor while Lillian tried to get the cure made and ready to bring over. Minas was in his study getting some things done, and Megan was trying to figure out if she had the strength to go downstairs to eat or if she would need it brought to her again. She was feeling better, but she was also feeling exhausted still and wanted to be around people rather than alone.

"Can you hand me the knife please, Taylor?" Leona asked him.

"Of course." said Taylor who had taken the liberty of taking off his blood-soaked armour and placed it in a neat pile along with his weapons somewhere out of sight within the house. Before dinner he had washed off the dust and blood from his face and replaced his combat fatigues that he had under his armour with a newly replicated marine duty uniform. Now that he was presentable Taylor didn't feel all that bad attending dinner with his in-laws to be.

Making a show of tossing the knife and catching it by the blade without cutting his hand open Taylor handed Leona the knife with a small smile. "If there is nothing I know better, it's how to handle a knife." he said cheerfully.

She nodded at him. "I can see that...that why you chose to be a marine?"

Leona didn't know as much as she wanted about Taylor, but she knew what Lillian did...more so even from his own memories, but she knew you had to have actual conversations to know people. So she was making small talk as she cooked the stew, less inclined to give a blessing than Minas was.

"Actually I joined the marines to kill Cardassians," said Taylor rather abruptly as he tried to remember how he had went from a student with excellent grades to tumbling into marine enlisted ranks' training. "When I was growing up the Federation-Cardassian war was coming to an end yet the conflicts on planets and in space were still as harshly fought as they had been at any point during the war. When the war officially ended in 2360 I was ten years old and alive with the thought that Cardassians were alien monsters looking to come take me and my family away from Earth. I was sixteen when that childish fear had turned into hate and I enlisted with the marines against the wishes of my father who wanted me to become a doctor."

Taylor paused his story to collect his thoughts, take breath and lean against the wall rather casually. "I enlisted as a grunt, a ranker rather than for an officer's commission. I had the grades to do anything within Starfleet but I, like most children without sense, wanted to follow my heart. I wanted to be one of the first to set foot on the ashes of Cardassia. Every blank faced target hologram, every bayonet dummy...I imagined them as Cardassians. After my training and the realization that I'd never get to give the Cardassians the bloody nose that I wanted all that hate turned to discipline, temperance and skill. Come the Dominion War...the victory was a bitter taste."

"Here your parents wanted you to be a doctor, and we wanted Lilly not to be one," Leona mused as she tossed the vegetables and meat into the stew. "We supported her eventually but we honestly never wanted her to leave Betazed...we wanted her to be here with us doing something diplomatic but instead she was destined to heal people. She once explained it to me like this, 'any of these men could have known or fought with Taylor. They have his spirit and his goodness and they deserve to have someone care for them and give them their lives back as best as someone can'. Whatever your drive is to do something doesn't really matter in the long run. What does matter? Knowing at the end of the day that you've done something good."

She smiled a little bit at the marine standing in her kitchen and shrugged a little bit. "I'd say it was more bittersweet overall, the Dominion War. More bitter than sweet, but you got a pretty good deal when you helped here and all of us will be ever grateful for and to you for what you did then. You made a difference." She meant with Lillian specifically but she also meant with every life he'd ever touched. "Just out of curiosity though...what drives you now? What keeps you putting the uniform on every day?"

"Ma'am the marine presence on the ground during the Dominion War is what it currently stands at now; two regiments. That's around six thousand marines. Infantry regiments mind you no armour or artillery so our role in the Battle of Betazed was merely to keep the Dominion off balance while you lot did your...thing." replied Taylor ever modest. If anyone directly questioned the marine's capabilities he'd defend their corner to the end but he'd never take credit for what others did. "I was merely one officer amongst many. I led my platoon to the best of my abilities which is all the Corps has ever asked of me. They have faith in me and I in turn give them my own faith."

Taylor took a while to answer what drove him to put himself in harms way constantly, to put on uniform and armour and charge towards victory or death. "Duty." he said at once as if it was the only thing that mattered to him. "Duty to the Corps, to the Federation. Duty to my captain and my wife to be. To protect those who I live and work beside and to protect my family. Means I can do something to keep those I care about safe. Until discharged by the Marine Corps I will continue to do my duty to the best that I can. They took me in, gave me honesty, honour, loyalty...and in turn they gave me a chance to make a difference, to meet my future wife. The Corps has been good to me and I will be good to it."

"Except those times when it hasn't, eh Colonel?" Lars asked jovially, strolling into the kitchen. "Couple of missed pickups, fire support lacking, commandants who won't stand up to the Fleet bigwigs on personnel allocations and such." He leaned on a counter and waved a hand airily at the mention of such 'minor' inconveniences.

"But I suppose that's reason enough to go AWOL every now and then and play pirate for a while. Every man needs some time to sow his wild oats, and it should be fine as long as he reports back to duty eventually," he said with a shrug. Lars' tone towards Taylor was cheerful, as if the two were old friends who could make such humorous accusations any time without animosity.

He turned to Leona with a charming smile on his face. "Good evening, ma'am. I'm Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. Lovely home you have here."

"Commander Janssen here represents officers that the rules of honesty, honour and loyalty are but strange words." said Taylor darkly, not even bothering to play along with Lars' charade of mutual respect. Even Taylor's attempts at hiding how he felt about the man. He hated him, there was no two ways about it. Hated how he sleazed around as if he was a law unto his own, how his ambition would ruin lives all for the sake of an extra rank pip. Oh he could have killed him then and there if it wasn't for that uniform. Taylor eyed the knife in Leona's hand as if it was a life-raft on a sinking ship, with longing and purpose.

He played the memories of Lars' failure and deception for Leona's viewing, of how he asked Taylor to trick Marlo and recover the cannon so Lars could return to whoever was his backers like a faithful hound, how Reneé and Taylor tried to preach caution for the Sigma III mission while Lars wanted to be involved and take charge, how he learned that Erlin died because of Lars' incompetence and egotism. "You see ma'am...Commander Janssen here once decided that he knew better than the marines." began Taylor as he edged towards Lars with a murderous gleam in his eyes. "We told him that on Sigma III an enemy waited. We didn't know who...we didn't know why...but we knew. We asked him to be cautious, to trust in our judgement. But the lieutenant commander knew better and so only two squads were sent. Mine...and his. I wanted orbital support and a full company but I knew he'd have none of it. He wanted to go back to the captain with his head held high saying how his leadership saved people from disaster. Instead...an enemy was waiting. Commander Janssen accuses me of being unable to compromise. Well I did...I made my protests and then held my tongue. Because of his stubbornness and my willingness to compromise a man is dead and I got to spend weeks being tortured by Tholians. I even bet he protested against the search and rescue that your daughter sent for me."

Taylor loomed over Lars like a storm of hate and fury. There was no shouting, no hitting. Just the words of thunder building up to lightening. "I believe Betazoids prize honesty. Well I'll be honest here ma'am. I'd kill him without a thought. If it wasn't for that Starfleet uniform over his unworthy hide I'd kill him as if he was my enemy. He schemes and he plots and lies. He'd sacrifice a regiment or a starship if it got him a promotion or accolade. Because Lars isn't loyal to anyone but Lars, isn't that right? You see, I don't hate you for me being left behind. It was my choice to stay behind and hold them back. For you...for Megan. I knew it had to be someone so I chose me. I hate you because you are a disgrace for everything that uniform stands for."

Leona looked at the two men in her kitchen and tried to come up with something to say to them, but found that she had nothing for a moment. They both seemed like they had a lot of past and a lot of issues to work out but she didn't see either of them as better than the other--just men who made mistakes and were slowly changing because of what they wanted. She didn't know or trust either of them, but her daughters did and that was enough for her in that moment.

"Part of being human is forgiving and giving second chances," she said finally, looking Lars and Taylor over. "Neither of you are perfect and you've both made mistakes and if his being here doesn't mean that he's trying, Taylor, I don't know what else does. If Lilly had just given up on you then you wouldn't be half the man you are today and Meg isn't about to give up on Lars. He came all the way here under false pretenses just to make sure she was okay and while I don't agree with everything he does, that's his affair...he has to decide to change or not."

Leona took a deep breath and looked at Lars. "I know that Lilly cares about you and that she understands that Meg adores you, so I'm going to understand too. Just clean up your act a bit. And you," she said looking at Taylor, "need to find a way to get through these issues with him. You both have strong feelings for my daughters and they have strong feelings for you two. Who knows...maybe one day you'll both be part of this family and in turn somewhat related, so work it out--not in my kitchen, but try it."

"He just came to check his investment, nothing more." said the marine harshly before walking out of the kitchen. Before doing so however he struck Lars harshly with his shoulder without another word. Instead he paced around the dining room looking at Minas, Sareth and Megan before peering out of a window. It was obvious that he was angry and more obvious to them with their empathic abilities but he couldn't just forgive like that. As long as Lars kept up his pompous yuppie-like attitude there would always be something that annoyed Taylor. It was more than that however, his undeserving sense of superiority. Lars didn't have one scrap of a redeeming factor within him and Taylor knew that he'd give an excuse for the marine to end him.

Lars ignored the shoulder bump and sneered at Taylor's retreating back. "Come on now Colonel, I've always liked you! Ever since we first met and you were betting me you could bed any number of pretty young counselors! Remember the good times, won't you?" he called out, trying to sound sentimental, but inside he was grinning with delight. This was exactly what he'd hoped for, that Taylor would be full of bluster and recriminations so that Lars could present a calm exterior and use the marine's own temper to discredit him. And it sounded to him like Megan and Lillian's mother might already have a glimmer of understanding and even favor for the suave Intelligence officer rather than the boisterous marine, and that was an advantage that needed to be pressed.

So he turned to Leona with a look dripping with sympathy. "You must forgive him the attitude. He's been through a lot, to put it mildly. Sometimes he just needs to vent, and it's not always pretty. I assure you, none of what he said is true, and you can verify that with Starfleet. But he clings to these delusions for some reason." He sighed and shrugged tragically.

"Those of us who care about him just have to put up with it and let him make some progress in dealing with his past. Lillian and I have spoken about this before, and she agrees that it's healthy for him on some level," he continued in a tone that bespoke of his taking Leona into his confidence. Lars was confident that some highly classified training he had undergone of late allowed his emotions to match his words, and thus shielded him from any Betazoid monitoring his mind to a dangerous extent. And for good measure he piled on the 'concerned friend' talk.

"Although…I worry sometimes about this whole fortress mentality that he's developing, where he can only trust fellow Marines. That's not healthy, especially not in a professional environment like Starfleet where cooperation is key. I'm just concerned that his distaste for other departments will spread like a disease and infect his personal relationships too." He deliberately used the metaphor of a disease for effect, the memory of the real one affecting Betazoid being so fresh. "I'd hate for it to affect your family," Lars said quietly, hoping he had planted a seed of doubt before changing the subject.

"Your daughter seems to be doing well," he put in, purposefully not specifying which daughter he meant. He wanted to use this brief chance to learn more about the senior Craes, to in turn better understand their children.

"As long as he loves and protects my Sareth and Lilly I am not too concerned--you two have a history I will not touch." Leona told Lars with a sigh. "If I actually had control over who my daughters were with they'd still be betrothed but as it is...they picked you two. To a certain degree that means I have to let it happen and as long as you keep them safe I'm not going to interfere. It would serve you both better to fix things between you though...it really would."

"There's my baby!" Lillian cried as she came through the door, Sareth running to her.

She held him close to him and stroked his hair, setting her medical bag down gently and then pulling back to look at him. He looked a little bigger than he had been when she had left before and she couldn't wait to have him on the ship. He was pale and clammy and he was in a little bit of pain, Lillian feeling Megan's weak pulse just feeling it--she was very connected with Megan.

"I'm going to fix Aunt Megan first and Taylor will give you this," Lillian told him as she got the cures out of her bag and then went to Taylor and kissed him lovingly, nipping at his lips a moment, glad he was safe. "Baby...you seem upset--Lars is here. Why is Lars--Megan."

Nodding, Lillian handed Taylor the cure for Sareth and went over to her sister, who looked about like she was going to keel over.

"Yeah...he's here." said Taylor flatly as he fiddled with the hypospray in his hand. While Taylor could hide emotions from most people not even he could mimic happiness for the sake of Lillian. However when he realized that he was now in control of the very thing that would save Sareth's life. Without a moment's hesitation he pressed the device to Sareth's neck and injected the cure, placing the hypospray on the table before sitting on the sofa with the boy on his knee.

Taylor watched Lillian get to work helping her sister and with the family all together he was able to keep his cool. For now anyway. "See, this is why I want you to go to work with Mum." he told Sareth. "Bringing your Son to Work Day would be a pain since we don't have body armour small enough."

"I think if you took him in the Holodeck with you guys or just showed him around the armory on a slow day he would be just as impressed as he would be on the bridge." Lillian laughed as she injected Megan with the cure.

Lars strolled across the room and rested a hand on Megan's shoulder, addressing Lillian as she tended to her sister. "Looks like the situation is close to being under control, Captain. I believe congratulations are in order, to you and to the heroic forces that secured the second device." He knew Taylor had been part of that team from the reports coming in but did not specify that, deciding to remain vague and avoid pushing any more buttons for the moment.

"I've been in contact with Captain Wierzbowski. The defused bomb is being taken up to the Mitterand by secure transport for eventual delivery to an undisclosed location for analysis. We'll proceed to Starbase 56 and transfer it to a specialized vessel there. I'll take personal responsibility for it then and see that it reaches the right people." Lars smiled enthusiastically as he spoke, already looking forward to debriefing the Admiral after that and receiving praise for his efforts.

"Anything special you'd care to add to the after-action report?"

"Two points commander." said Taylor with Sareth still on his knee. "One, It was actually Ensign Pena who was able to filter the information to us so she should receive most of the accolades for anyone involved in the strike. Two, the defused 'bomb' is a dud. No detonation sequence or biological agent. It was a dummy, a fake. They wanted us to run around chasing after them. I'm surprised you weren't able to spot that...being a seasoned Intelligence veteran."

A useless bomb would probably put a stint into Lars' daydream of laurel wreaths that Taylor wasn't aware about but if the marine knew or not about what the Intelligence operative was gleefully hoping for was irrelevant. Hopefully someone would pick up that Lars should have read the signs and voiced his thoughts but obviously he was lingering under the impression the bomb was a real threat. "Guess you delayed your journey for nothing. Your superiors will probably not like that."

Lars frowned for a moment at that news, then did his best to look unfazed. He glanced over to regard Taylor, noticed Sareth for the first time, and chewed his lip. Decorum limited his responses at this point, so he smiled and responded with exaggerated patience. "Well Colonel, believe it or not we can still learn a lot from even a decoy. Microscopic signatures can reveal clues to who might have planted it. A whole wealth of knowledge can be gained by looking over even the tiniest of scratches. Isn't that neat?" he asked in slow manner of speaking that suggested that he was talking to a child, ostensibly Sareth, but he really meant it condescendingly for Taylor's ears.

He gazed directly at the marine then and smiled wolfishly. "And I will be sure to mention Ensign Pena in my report, don't worry." Nothing more was said on that subject, leaving the listener to draw their own conclusions from that potentially ominous statement. The point hopefully made, Lars turned to Minas to make some meaningless conversation and clear the air.

"So is there any news on how the recent unpleasantness has affected the planetary grav-polo leagues? Last I checked the Starbursts led the Central Division, but I suppose that could change if some of their players are out recovering from that nasty virus." He shrugged, and hoped that even if the man wasn't a sports fan the comment would be taken as an indicator that Lars was the one trying to be sociable.

"Yeah, Ensign Pena. The Orion slave girl I bought." said Taylor with a snarl who put down Sareth on the sofa so he could tower over Lars once more. It was like a battle to him; take away the weapons of your foe and he'll have nothing to fight you with. Take away his cover and he'll either surrender or die. He wasn't going to let Lars have the satisfaction of bleeding Nayla's existence bit by bit. Time to do something unexpected. "The girl who I bought so instead of having to shake her ass on a stage to feed herself and her older brother, I taught them how to survive. Both of them. The girl who is now a Starfleet officer free from all ties other than to the uniform. The girl who managed to give me more information in an hour than you could pull up during this whole fiasco."

Again Taylor loomed over Lars but this time he was calm, collected. Lars was an enemy and therefore emotions couldn't be brought into it. "You're also in uniform lieutenant commander." said Taylor in the same child-appeasing voice that Lars had put on. "That means you call me sir. And since you're so sure about being able to find evidence on the device and have already taken full responsibility for its well-being, I'm ordering you as of this moment to start your investigation. Which means you leave this house and follow orders given to you by an officer of higher rank. Dispute the order...and I'll have you arrested and thrown behind a forcefield. I'll delay the process so someone else gets the chance to present that device to Headquarters. Off you go, lieutenant commander.

"I think we've all heard quite enough," Minas said suddenly, having kept his tongue long enough. "There's no need to talk to any of us like we are children, Lars, and Taylor, in my house no one outranks anyone else--as much as I appreciate your protectiveness and integrity, we are all equal here."

He had been trying to form opinions on the two men that his daughters seemed to be so enthralled by and he was honestly a bit appalled by the behavior. Minas and Leona had welcomed the men into his home and they were picking fights left and right. Mostly he was stunned by the way Lars talked around a subject, and he wanted to make it clear that this had gone on long enough.

"Taylor has been fighting for those that couldn't fight for themselves since he put that uniform on and you will show him some respect, Lars--as he will show you respect for your Starfleet position." Minas explained to them slowly. "Anyone who has helped in this matter will be given all of the credit that they deserve and I will vouch for every one of them. They helped to save a planet and no one will be short-changed. On top of helping to secure the bomb location, Taylor took care of a threat that not only threatened the lives of many, but the lives of Megan, Sareth and Lilly on a more personal level as Jason personally infected them in the first place and Lilly...that's complicated. You two have a past and you can deal with it somewhere else but here...here we are family. We are going to eat dinner and be civil and accommodating and then you will go about your business...if we're pulling rank here than I have it as an Ambassador of Betazed and as master of this house. Lars, kindly help my wife to put food on the table and Taylor? I need to talk to you up in my study. Everyone clear?"

Lillian, Megan and Sareth all nodded as this was a routine for them and Lillian spoke. "We're clear, Daddy. Sareth? Help Aunt Megan to the table and then help Lars to set it and I'm going to check on something. Taylor? Good luck."

Lars had weathered Taylor's tirade with an innocent expression on his face, but there was the briefest flash of a smug smile when Minas spoke up. He nodded respectfully to the older man and strolled to the kitchen without further comment though.

"Reporting as ordered to set the table, madam. Something smells delicious, I know that much. Oh…do you by any chance have a liquor cabinet?" he inquired of Leona with an affable grin.


Minas' intervention was rather unexpected since it seemed to come out of nowhere. Rather than challenge the man's authority which Taylor would rather charge a repeater nest than to, Taylor just turned to Minas with a parade ground precision. "Yes sir." he said calmly, walking away from Lars while whispering the word Mudak to Lars. Winking at Lillian to let her know he was ok he walked into the study with Minas. He didn't know what to expect. He expected to be shouted at which was something he could take. What he couldn't take was Lars' serpent like ways.

"Ambassador, I'd like to offer my apologise for my behaviour. I hope you believe me when I say I'm not normally this unprofessional. It's just...him. He got one of my men killed because of his crap. While I respect your family enough to eat at the same table as him don't think I can sit there and forget all he's done and all he will do."

(I guess that's where that post fits best without out interrupting the flow, change if needed)
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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Re: Lars/Taylor/Craes - Dinner Part 1   Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:09 am

It's totally fine--to make it less super long there is now a Part 2 for us, and Taylor/Minas have a JP to go in the middle...next mission will be up next week as soon as the bomb thing is sorted out with Gabe. ^.^

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