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 Episode 3: Prodigal Children

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Lars Janssen
Lieutenant Commander (G)
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Join date : 2011-12-16

PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:41 pm

|| Intelligence Offices
|| USS Fenris
|| 1705

Still a bit agitated from his meeting with Nayla, Lars strode out through the Intelligence offices, but paused when he realized he didn't know where the CIO's private office was on this type of starship. His mind was filled with much more important things, he reassured himself. Still, he scowled as he flagged down a crewman to inquire the location of the office. After receiving a hasty reply, he made his way around cubicles with encrypted LCARS and gray-shirted officers working on sensitive data to arrive at the private office.

With his usual bombast and disregard for others' privacy, Lars typed in an override code on the door and started forward, but was surprised to find that his code did not work, for the first time in memory. Whoever this CIO was, he or she had their act together. He regretted the fact that he didn't even have a name to put to his fellow Intel officer, but the unexpected nature of this whole mission had left him a bit flat-footed. So he politely keyed the door chime and waited for an answer, curious as to who would emerge to greet him.

Marlena looked up as she heard her door chime and then got up and typed in the pass code so that the doors would slide open. They revealed a man in a gray uniform that she didn't recognize, but soon she'd have all the information that she needed to continue with what she was doing. She was only CIO on this ship because Marshall had sent her there and now she was a 6 and her privacy was even more important.

"And who do we have here?" Marlena asked him in her business tone.

She looked him over as she tried to figure out to whom she owed this meeting and then walked back over to her desk so he could make his way into her office. It was decorated and yet simple, but it had a rather comfortable charm to it and she found herself more at home there than in her own quarters. Sitting down in her chair she motioned for Lars to sit and then folded her hands in her lap and looked at him.

"Anything I can do for you?" She asked him.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Lars responded cordially, a bit taken aback by her appearance. He'd been expecting a craggy Efrosian or severe looking Vulcan or some battle-ax like that to be CIO, but instead he was treated to the sight of another well-proportioned woman today. Sizing her up as he sat and crossed his legs casually, he wondered if she could hold her own against all the competing personalities on board this ship.

"I'm Lieutenant Commander Lars Janssen, currently working as auxiliary Intel personnel on the Mitterand. This mission has diverted my team and I from some other tasks, but that's just fine. The situation on Betazed is much more important. As such I've been focusing on coordinating analysis and presentation of intelligence across the two ships in support of the ground team…if they'll even use it," he added under his breath.

"Now then…I need to discuss some issues that have come to light that would seem to involve you, Lieutenant…" he paused, hoping she'd fill in her name.

"Cross," Marlena told him. "Lieutenant Cross."

Marlena was no stranger to men looking her up and down and so she just looked at him and pieced together the information she was given, turning to her console and bringing up all the information that Starfleet had on him so she wouldn't be caught of guard. She knew not to rely on Starfleet Intelligence as she knew they were lacking information on her and on all of Doclin's crew, but still, it would give her a general idea and she hated being caught off guard.

"Our ground teams need all the help that they can get, Commander Janssen," Marlena agreed as she nodded slowly. "What with Captains Crae having family infected and Colonel Lucas' lack of disregard for anyone other than himself when it comes to information on such things, they could use us. You'd think perhaps he might have changed as he has a friend here in the Intel department, but as good as the young Ensign is at what I assign her to do the simple fact is that she wasn't here when things happened and my department was swamped with information on Betazed and the attack--she was off with the Colonel and I wish she took her job more seriously but as you and the Colonel both served on Starbase Seven together, I'm sure you understand his complete lack of respect for our uniform so perhaps he likes having young Pena under his wing because she also has a problem respecting our uniform."

They were things that she didn't need to be telling Lars as they didn't know each other, but at the same time he was worried about the ground team and so was she. She felt like there were people handling things that were rather incompetent and yet they were lucky and she didn't want anyone finding out about her quite yet. So while she had no cares in the world about who came back and who didn't, it was good she was worried for any reason at all so it seemed as if she was actually worried about the team itself.

"So these issues...please inform me," she told him with an almost smile on her face. "It'll be nice to hear something from someone competent even if it means berating me for some of my more questionable crewmen. You are competent, right?"

"I assure you, I am competent," Lars sniffed. "Or at least, I am competent enough in the eyes of the Director of Starfleet Intelligence to be appointed to the Admiral's executive staff. That must count for something." He sounded a bit haughty, as he was quite proud of that accomplishment. But that soon evaporated as he grinned genuinely at Marlena's incisive analysis of the situation he had recently uncovered.

"Wellll…you've hit on one of these issues already. I just had a meeting with dear Ensign Pena, and I am sorry to report to you that your department is effectively compromised, worse so than if you had a Changeling infiltrator or Romulan deep cover operative spying on you." He stood and took a step forward, leaning on the edge of her desk so he could lean in for dramatic effect…and also get a closer look at her.

"Because I am afraid that viridescent ensign will be the Colonel's inside woman, and likely undercut any of your intelligence plans by revealing more than is healthy to him and his…grunts. He will use her as a weapon against you, and continuously undermine your authority and ability to function aboard this ship, grinding you down until you're more compliant and submissive than a Marine fresh out of boot." Lars gazed at her in mock sympathy. "And I don't think you want that, do you?"

He straightened, and his face hardened as he discussed the practiced art of counterintelligence."Now, you might try to get a man inside his detachment, but I wouldn't bet on it; marines make poor double agents. And his special relationship with the Captain means you might have difficulty reassigning that little green floozy of his. So you might be stuck with just limiting her access to mission intelligence, an imperfect solution at best." Lars paused then, looked up at the ceiling, then looked back at her and leaned in conspiratorially.

"Or…you might try to do something to undermine that special relationship with the Captain the Colonel has. Something involving that little green floozy, perhaps. Seems like there's something more going on there than any of them would care to admit." Lars turned his back to her and clasped his hands behind his back, adding in a low voice. "Just a thought."

"Trust me, I've got a plan in motion to through a wrench in the wheels," Marlena said with a laugh and a genuine smile. "Gotta say, I love the way you think, Commander."

She knew that something had to be done about Taylor undermining her authority because she had a feeling that it was really only a matter of time until he did just that. Marlena needed to keep the upper hand and if that meant getting to Nayla, then that meant getting to Nayla. Anything she could use to knock Taylor Lucas down a peg was definitely worth considering at this point. How else would she get to Lillian?

Marlena knew what her main objective was and she was going to see it through, but Lars was giving her insight into Taylor that she didn't already know. He had served with him and knew a thing or two about Lillian as well so he could be a useful resource to her and she knew not to turn away a chance to get an upper hand. This was like a gift that had fallen into her lap and she leaned forward a little.

"See, I've already got the Captain on alert about his market availability and I have a plan in motion to loosen her up to what I need from her. She just needs the right push to really put her into a place of true commanding and once she's there Taylor won't have his perks anymore--she'll treat him more like her MCO and not her lover or whatever it is that they are." Marlena said happily. "Eventually she'll think he's like all the other ones before him whether she shows it or not and everything will fall into place. What I'm more worried about is her ability to see clearly right now. Word through the grapevine is her sister got infected and it's probably only a matter of time before her parents or her brother are targeted...her parents are the ambassadors of Betazed." Marlena sighed loudly and then leaned back in her chair. "What I want is more information about this virus so that I can keep her focused and alert and not try to do this for some personal gain or vendetta against this Doclin character."

What more she knew about Doclin she would keep to herself...her want to know more about the virus, however, was completely genuine.

"Got the Captain on alert about his market availability, eh? How ever did you manage that?" Lars chuckled, turning to gaze out the viewport but also to watch the CIO out of the corner of his eye.

But as her words came to him his face suddenly went blank. "Did you say…her sister got infected? Well…that's unfortunate," Lars said impassively, but his insides had just turned to ice. The possibility had been in the back of his mind ever since he had heard Megan was involved, but to hear confirmation of his worst fears left an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach.

He knew that he could show no weakness in front of the cunning woman next to him though, so Lars changed the subject slightly. "You mentioned this Doclin character. That is the other issue I came to discuss with you. If he is in any way connected to this attack, I am sure that he presents a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the Federation, and this ship in particular. I've spoken to the Captain about this, and it turns out she's got some kind of history with the man. I'm just not sure about the extent of it, but it does seem to me that she's a bit hesitant to pursue him in an…appropriate manner. And that is a situation we cannot permit."

Lars turned to gaze at her directly once more, a mild scowl on his face. "What's more…I'm concerned that he might have agents aboard this ship," he said ominously. "We'll need to utilize all our resources to locate these sleeper cells and expunge them, or Doclin will always be one step ahead of us. And frankly, I don't know that Captain Crae is up to the task, so we may have to do this on our own and under the radar."

Perhaps it was her Intel uniform, or perhaps it was her looks, but either way Lars was unwittingly confiding a great deal in Marlena, and that she might be one of the sleeper agents he spoke of hadn't occurred to him. Living the soft life of a desk jockey on Earth had dulled his instinctive paranoia a bit, perhaps.

When it came to things that involved taking down Doclin, Marlena was less than enthused but she couldn't let that show to Lars. Marlena and Marshall had a rather complicated past and honestly Marlena had been surprised to be picked to be a six after Taylor took care of Norin but she was happier to be that much closer to Marshall because she loved him...very much. She was only here to do his bidding and with the promotion that meant she had to take her job that much more seriously.

"Yes, trust me...the Captain and the Colonel will be at odds soon enough and if that helps you in any way then feel free to swoop in and wound them even further," Marlena said with a wave and then she studied Lars a little--he didn't look like he was enjoying the conversation as much anymore and neither was she.

She didn't know what she had said to make him seem less interested, but at the same time Doclin made enemies wherever he went and Lars was high up on the Starfleet food chain now. So perhaps it was just her mention of Doclin that was making him lose interest. After all, she was certainly not happy anymore either about having to pretend as if she hated everything that Marshall had chosen to be.

"You don't think maybe that Doclin is a little too hard to get to? Starfleet has been after him for years and they're no closer." Marlena reminded him and then she nodded slowly. "Though, perhaps smoking out the operatives is a good idea...someone is bound to crack right? Even though so far they kill themselves before they give up their information. Still, there's always a weak link. If you want, I could set up something but for now I'm focused on Betazed even if telepaths aren't really my favorite people."

He shrugged and nodded at her comment about not liking telepaths, missing a slight coincidence there. "Yeah, I don't really like the idea of having my mind read either, but with any luck they'll have other concerns at the moment and be too busy to pry into our classified thoughts. Besides, they're on our side. Unless you're worried about them reading other, less professional thoughts of yours," he offered jokingly, to try and lighten the mood again. Lars was in fact enjoying this conversation with Marlena for the most part, thinking he had finally found a like-minded officer aboard the ship.

Other things were worrying him at the moment though. "Me, I think Doclin might have overplayed his hand this time around, and attracted the attention of people more dangerous than Starfleet. People who don't care how hard to get at he is, because they make it their business to deal with people like him who interfere with their interests." Then, sensing he might have said too much, he shrugged again and waved a hand dismissively. "But that's just me speculating." He eyed her with a cooperative expression again.

"Anyway, you're right, we can work on sniffing out any double agents once the situation on Betazed has been resolved. And on that note…I think I'm going to arrange a secondary Intel team and head down to the surface. There are some things I want to make sure get addressed satisfactorily, and I'm concerned the present Marine and Security teams lack the…finesse to do that. What are your immediate plans?" he asked, trying not to sound too authoritarian about it. Lars wanted to remain on good terms with the ship's CIO for the duration of his stay at least.

"Maybe...I like my privacy," Marlena said with a laugh and then while she kept the smile she felt a little bit on guard for a moment as Lars said something about attracting the attention of more dangerous people. "Doclin has been around long enough that I think that by now he probably knows what he's doing. After all, he still hasn't been able to be tracked yet and I'm sure he knows who his enemies are. Underestimating him would be a mistake."

She laughed again to try and wave off that she was very much standing up for him, and decided it was time to just act like a member of the Fenris. If she blew this cover, Marshall would be more pissed at her than if she 'accidentally' killed Lillian in the process of all of this and she knew when it was time for a good subject change. So she nodded at Lars and took in his words so that she could give him a proper response and make it seem like she was trying to be helpful.

"Just stay in contact with me," Marlena told Lars gently. "I like to know what is going on and I guarantee that if Lucas screws this up he won't be coming to us about it so that we can help so I trust you far more than I trust him. At the moment I am making sure that Captain Crae has all of the information that she needs, both past and present of this virus and then I have to contact Lucas and see how the assault team is doing as I need to know more than Ensign Pena. Once we get readings of the bomb, we also have to work to figure out how to diffuse it."

"Right. I'm going to look into linking up with the people on the ground, but I have to be careful about that. I might just wait until they've secured the bomb and then take charge of the transport. At this point it's all still very much in the air, and it all depends on the intel we get. I'm counting on you for that," Lars said respectfully, giving Marlena one final visual inspection and liking what he saw more and more.

"And, if you come across any information that looks really important…" he leaned in close, giving her his best winning smile, "…then why don't you run that by me before you spread it amongst the foot soldiers, what say?" He clicked a finger at her affably, then straightened, admiring her office one last time. "This could be the start of a beautiful friendship…we'll be in touch."

With that he nodded once more to her and turned to make his way out of the Intel offices, whistling a jaunty tune.

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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:30 pm

||Betazed
||Bomb Location
||1730


Leonard and the marines got ready to get into the building they'd found in the forest, setting up a perimeter and watching the armed men outside. It looked like there were about a dozen out there and there was no telling how many more were inside--at least not by just watching. Leonard could tell there were still quite a few inside and he wanted to get through this with as little casualties as possible.

"What do you think we should do?" Leonard asked the Colonel.

Colonel Grelik looked at Leonard and then at the marines. "Flank them from both sides--they deserve no honor. Find a way inside."

With hand signals and series of whispered orders Taylor got his marines into a line since the other marines were watching the flanks. Instantly he could see why the marines and Betazed Security Forces had decided to set up shop outside the building. All in the middle of nowhere there were armed men outside a building with a possible biological device which was a clear indication that they were up to no good. Related? Probably.

Though he didn't recognize that the Klingon officer was indeed a colonel through a glance Taylor's helmet HUD did display all that information for him. "Colonel." he said after creeping up beside him, his armour had long taken a woodland camouflage but movement would still catch the eye.

"Lieutenant Colonel Lucas of the Fenris, what have we got here?"

"Our readings have led us here. This is a research facility under normal circumstances but not it harbors a bomb." He explained to Taylor, shaking his head. "There are a dozen armed personnel outside and inside we were still calculating, but there are at least a dozen if not more inside of the building guarding this weapon of destruction. Your aide is welcome."

The Colonel had nothing much more to say on the matter as he wanted in and he wanted in as soon as possible to make this threat no longer a threat. There was a bomb of a biological nature threatening an entire species and there was no honor in cowardice. It needed to be stopped.

"Move in," he told his men over their comm link, assessing that they were all in their designated areas. "Leave no survivors, they do not deserve our mercy."

"You heard that, we're flanking, so give them whatever assistance it is that they need," Marissa informed her men. "Leave no survivors."

She didn't know how she felt about that but her men were ready for anything and she also had an ulterior motive: protect Gabe with her life. Of course he knew how to fight on his own but she had feelings for him and they all needed him to diffuse this device and his safety was top priority.

"Keep an eye on Sharpe at all times and lets show these cowards what Starfleet is made of." Marissa said.

"Belay those orders." hissed Taylor into his comm unit. The Klingon's marines were now caught between two sets of orders but they held their ground. Even Taylor's own marines were confused about what the man was thinking. "We have no intel on this building or the forces occupying it and you just simply want to charge?" said Taylor with a low voice. "This isn't the Dominion War Colonel, we need to think several steps ahead. If these guys get too easy spooked they could set off the bomb we need to be quick, fast and lethal but above all we need to be smart. Put your muzzle back on Garren before I weld it on."

The words were barely out of Taylor's mouth before Gabe turned and shot him a look that clearly said. Watch it Though he didn't actually say anything this wasn't the time to have words with the Colonel but he had to make his point clear.

Shaking his head Taylor used his visors zoom to scout the location to get a good indication of the enemy strength. Like Grelik had said there were about a dozen lifesigns in and out of the building. All Betazoid and all armed. However upon closer inspection there were a pair of heavy phaser repeaters all set up in dug-out positions. That did little to cure his ill mood about the situation.

"Enemy has heavy suppressive weapons but no marksmen. Looks like they were expecting some form a fight. Colonel I suggest a simultaneous flanking attack. Lieutenant Garren and her security team along with the Betazed Sec-For flank the right, you and your marines flank left. Lieutenant Commander Sharpe and I will each take half of our marine unit and move up the middle. Tri-angle attack will keep them locked down. Upon breaching Sharpe will take his marine squad and flank around the back while I hit the front door. You and Garren will set up a perimeter around the building. How does that sound?"

"Show some respect, Lieutenant Colonel," Marissa told him with anger in her voice. "I am not a dog and you will treat me with respect. We were sent her to assist and I was informing my men to assist--that happens to be my job."

Gabe said nothing as he dropped to one knee. Like Taylor he zoomed in on the scene before as he pulled his combat knife from it's sheath. Unlike Taylor he was looking deeper he took the scene in, "Two repeaters in positions west of the door. Two teams of two patrolling at semi regular intervals in a rough circle 50 metres from the building. One path to the building coming from the south." He told the group as he etched it into the soil near his knee with his knife.

"Tripwires set up 100 metres from the building, no doubt connected to an alarm system. Deeper brush to the north and west. They knew we were coming, this is more than some random terrorist attack. This little scene was set up for us."

"Good eye for the tripwires." mused the marine officer who nodded since he was impressed that Gabe had picked up what he had missed. "But they are irrelevant. It's a strike, not an infiltration. As for their alert status the guards and defenses are standard procedure. They didn't know we were coming, just that someone was. Don't look at something too deep lieutenant commander. Keep it simple."

Seeing the crude drawing in the soil and took out his own obsidian-coloured knife. He carved four arrows into the dirt. "Still the same plan; the colonel here on the left, Garren on the right and we're up the middle. Two snipers take out those gunners and keep the repeaters free from enemy control. Those trip wires could be connected to an alarm or an explosive device. Best to avoid it rather than defeat it."

"Almost missed the tripwires myself, It was more luck then anything I saw the light reflecting off 'em." Gabe said, "The plan was sound before, just making sure we had all the Intel we could get, from a source I'm willing to trust."

"Not once did I say I did not understand the situation," Grelik told Taylor, Gabe, Marissa and the others. "I know what is at stake here and in case you are deaf, Lucas, I said flank from both sides. I am a Colonel. I have seen more battle than you and handled harder foe so do not act as though you are the only one here that can command these troops. You follow my orders. Tri-angle attack it is but next time do not try and weasel over what I say or you'll found yourself rank-less before you can blink. Our foe have readied themselves for battle and a battle is what they are going to get. We marines have been here longer than you assessing such things and you have to believe me when I say I know what to do. We attack and we attack hard and we don't leave anyone to go and tell the boss. You were sent to us for back-up so back us up the best way you see fit without crossing me. Clear?"

Marissa had a feeling that she really needed to just find an order and stick to it and not make anymore tension than there was. Pissing off a Klingon. Real smart.

"I don't see why we can't do that." Marissa told them. "Do we have an actual plan to adhere to now?"

With a sniff of indifference inside his helmet Taylor just sighed and shook his head. The guy was a colonel and Taylor expected some form of tactical common sense from him but obviously the marines suffered from poor officers just as the fleet did. "You did say flank from both sides, yes but that's a bi-sector attack, not a tri-sector. Less fields of fire, less free forces to manoeuvre. It's infantry tactics one-oh-one and I will not have you rush ahead and have my marines killed simply because you want to satisfy your need for a fight. Marines fight smart, start applying that logic into your plan making process. You say you've been here longer yet you failed to mention the presence of heavy phaser repeaters or a trip wire that my esteemed colleague here has pointed out. If you want to get cut down by heavy weapons then go ahead because our armour shields? Yeah, stand up and walk slowly and I guarantee you you'll be dropped quick."

Still shaking his head he called up Arcadian 3. "Bring up the sharp shooters." he ordered simply. Two of Taylor's marines carrying phaser snipers set up on their bellies beside the group of officers. All they needed now was targets and orders.

"Heavy weapon operators, two of them. Shout out when on target."

"On scope." said one of the snipers.

"He's in my crosshairs colonel." piped up the other.

"Good." replied Taylor with a nod. "Colonel, set up your men along the left flank. We attack simultanously on my 'Zulu'. Garren...I respect you as both a woman and an officer of Starfleet but I hate to tell you we're all someone's dog and right now you're my dog. Set up along the right and wait to hear 'Zulu'. Go on."

Gabe nodded as he pulled his phaser from its holster and motioned from his fireteam to follow. He slowly made his way through the forest, keeping low to avoid detection. His visor switched to black as he pushed through the bushes, sure his marines were behind him. He took position near the tripwire and followed it to a nearby tree but he couldn't see what it was connected to. He hated not knowing but Taylor was right, it was better to avoid then cut right at the minute. He watched the patrol as they made another circuit of the building and quickly made some calculations.

"Takes 'em roughly 90 seconds to make a circle of the building, we have around 50 seconds til they come round again."

"I suggest we take action as soon as the moment warrants it," Grelik told them all signaling to a few of his men. "In and out--then your man here diffuses the bomb and we tell Starfleet the threat is neutralized and make it back to the ambassadors. I assume we can all agree on that at least?"

The question was mostly aimed at Taylor but Grelik didn't care one way or another who answered it at this point. Taylor was underestimating the troops and being cautious when the Klingon was sure they could simply strike, but he just wanted this done. The longer they wasted, the closer the deadline to detonation neared and they needed to get a move on.

"Just get to your position and await my signal. We don't need to stay here overnight so I want this taken care of ASAP. The difference is the planning. You plan to be fast but you plan slow. Let the details sink in. After this you can tell Starfleet whatever the hell you want. Get a medal if that tickles your fancy. All I care about is getting rid of that bomb and not getting ourselves killed in the process. Go. Now. Left flank."

Narrowing his eyes at the man, Grelik waved for his men to take position, waiting for Taylor's signal in their appropriate location. He had been heading towards the position in the first place but Taylor wanted it all to be perfect and Grelik was going to let this slide for now. What mattered was the bomb, not their rivalry on the subjects at hand.

"Garren shift yourself to the right and wait for my Zulu command." ordered Taylor as he slid his bayonet underneath his carbine, fixing it into position. If he and Gabe were going to lead marines into close quarters battle Taylor wanted every edge at his disposal. This was not going to be an operation either he or one of his marines was going to end up in a body bag. In, out, disarm. Simple. Though simple plans often had underlying complications amongst them.

Marissa nodded at the order and then moved her men to flank from the right as Taylor had instructed her to do. While she still wanted to keep an eye on Gabe at all times, she knew she also had men to look after and Taylor would be near him.

"In position," Marissa informed Taylor over the comms.

So this was it; the big push. Taylor's forces were now in position and set up for his very word to unleash hell. The feeling was surreal yet familiar as was the calm before battle. Judging by the lack of fire no one had seen the marines or security officers move to the flanks of the building which was just as well. "Sharpe your fireteam stays on my three o'clock. We bound and fire till we reach the building then we hit both entrances." he said by way of a reminder. Taylor knew Gabe was probably aware of the plan anyway but he felt better for saying it.

"Marksman, fire."

There wasn't a trail or pulse. Just two cracks as the pair of phaser sniper rifles snuffed the life out of the heavy gunners in an instant. That alerted their comrades to take up arms and a fresh duo stepped up to the guns to be dropped. After that they seemed to get the hint. As soon as the first two shots had fired Taylor was up and running towards the building, his marines in tow. He dived onto his stomach which each of the armoured figures followed and began to pour orange coloured pulses towards the defenders. The idea was to cover Gabe's fire team as they bounded forward, after some distance they'd stop and do the same for Taylor.

"Gabe! Your bound!" he called into his comm unit within his helmet. "Zulu, zulu, zulu!"

On command Gabe surged forwards, his pistol pouring fire into the defenders as he ran. He watched his first few shots as they went wide before he 'got his shit together'. He chuckled as he remembered Marissa's words before they'd left Fenris. Okay, maybe I AM rusty. He thought as adjusted his aim.

He came to a halt as he slid through the dirt and took cover behind a tree. "In Position, covering for next bound." He said as he started to fire again.

"Let's move!" called out the marine officer to his fire team as he jumped to his feet and stormed forwards. Taylor gave suppressive bursts from his carbine just to keep the enemy Betazoids' heads down. They had obviously got wise to the fact there were snipers out amongst the trees since they were taking cover. That meant they could deploy greater and more accurate firepower on the advancing marines. Several shots even hit Taylor's armour causing the shields to shimmer blue before he and his fireteam threw themselves into their cover position.

"In position, waiting for flanking forces." said Taylor as the dirt was kicked up around him. "Where the hell are my flanking forces?!"

Kalen had gone with Taylor's squad of marines, but stayed near the rear. Not an actual member of the rearguard, he couldn't stick in the very back, but despite what he had learned in the last few weeks, he would leave the combat to people who were more experienced with it. He had heard all the orders and had decided to stick with Taylor through thick and thin. He had followed the marines into the combat zone, his own carbine out and dove when he had. They looked like people. Humans. He knew somewhere in his mind that they were the enemy, but he didn't know in his heart if he could fire back. These were thinking feeling living beings, what gave him the right to take their lives away? He hesitated for a moment and took shots as Taylor had to keep the heads of the enemy down, but unlike the man, Kalen never intended to actually hit anything. If it came to his life or theirs he would probably be able to. But as it was now, this was just a firefight where they outnumbered their enemy. He just didn't know if he could, at this moment, pull the trigger in an attempt to shoot to kill. As he reached the cover, he hoped that they would make it through this ordeal unscathed.

The side flanks weren't that far behind Taylor's little assault flank, taking out men as they went and making it into the main area where the bomb was supposed to be. Honestly, seeing the others that were very obviously guarding something just made Grelik smile a moment when he realized he really was fighting for a cause here and then he was completely focused on getting to the bomb. Taking cover a moment, he got his bearings straight before he began to advance, losing a man on his right to a direct shot to the face, but moving toward the six Betazoids guarding the large device they'd been searching for.

"For Betazed!" Grelik cried with a fierceness in his voice and while something was off when no one went for the device to detonate anything, Grelik continued his assaulting fire.

Taylor watched the flanking force led by the Klingon marine with a satisfied feeling inside. With the enemy's outer defences collapsing under the pressure Taylor saw his moment for the main force to move up. Raising himself so he was now kneeling Taylor gave a few suppressive bursts with his carbine before directing with his hands and shouting into his comm unit.

"Gabe circle round and stack up for breeching! My guys do the same! Grelik and Garren establish a blocking perimeter while we breech and do our thing! Flyboy you stick to my ass like glue, don't wander!"

With the orders given Taylor stormed ahead with his marines in tow. They fired as they ran, HUD crosshairs drifting onto the enemy Betazoids before their lives were snuffed away. Taylor vaulted over a barricade when one of the defenders attempted to club the marine with his rifle. Deflecting the blow with his carbine Taylor stuck his bayonet into the man's chest before giving a close-up burst of phaser fire. Withdrawing the blade from the man's smoking chest Taylor kicked him down without batting an eyelid. His marines stacked up around the door, waiting for the rest of the force to get into position.

"Breeching!"




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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:28 pm

||Betazed
||Bomb Location
||1718

The breaching charge placed by one of Taylor's marines blew the door open like a tin can, kicking up dust and dirt. Knocked back and stunned by the sheer force of the charge the next thing the enemy Betazoids heard was a photon grenade clattering amongst them. Set for flash it illuminated the room in a bright light causing them to temporarily be greeted by a vision of white. As soon as the grenade had detonated a marine stepped through the door letting rip with her carbine on full automatic, Taylor right behind her. The marines in the squad moved like fluid to get through the door and spread themselves out. A doorway was a killzone or 'funnel of death' that a defender could use to cut down an attacking force. With rapid entry techniques marines and security officers were able to dislodge even the most stubborn defenders.

Four Betazoids had gone down to phaser fire while the rest made a fighting retreat deeper into the complex. According to the Klingon colonel there was only a dozen enemies but Taylor always knew to expect more. Some even ran towards the back door where Gabe was breaching, thinking their exit had been secured. They waited for Taylor to chase but instead he and his marines focused on securing their entrance.

"Sharpe, front entrance secure. Hit it!" he said into his comm unit.

" 'Bout time I was getting deadarm." he joked as he thumbed the breaching charge's trigger. As the flash did it's work he and his team moved in, he thumbed a switch on his pistol and pulled the trigger. He smiled as the near invisible wave of kinetic energy threw the escaping guards backwards down the corridor. He switched the pistol back to normal firing mode and slowly made his way down the corridor. A door slid open in front of him and another guard came out, his rifle raised. Given his current location Gabe had a few seconds before the Betazoid saw him, but it was all he needed as the guard turned Gabe hit him in the chest with a pair of bursts from his phaser.

"Rear Entrance secure, and I made a bit of a mess." He said, looking at the group he'd sent into the wall, "Starting search."

Grunting in acknowledgement without adding to the banter Gabe was putting out when shots were flying inches from his face, Taylor's squad continued to move through the complex shooting anything that held a weapon and wasn't friendly. Two more targets went down to his marksmanship before he spotted some of the enemy running down a corridor. He was about give chase when one stepped out of cover swing his rifle.

Using his carbine Taylor deflected the blow before cracking the butt of his phaser against the man's skull to knock him out cold. Not wanting him to wake up to rejoin the fray Taylor shot him dead without batting an eyelid, stepping over the body and chasing down the two runners.

"Sharpe I've got two guys making a break for and I'm in pursuit. Secure the area and wait for my words."

"Have that, good hunting." Gabe repiled as he pulled a handful of cables from the wall and quickly used it to tie up the guards he'd knocked out by throwing them into the wall.

"Ok people, you heard the Colonel. Fan out and secure the area." he ordered the marines under his command as he tied up the last guard. He stood up and lifted his pistol in a two handed weaver grip, slowly making his way through the building. He opened the door that the guard had come through. He motioned to the marine behind him to cover him as he stepped inside the makeshift barracks. The three cots sat empty as was the room. Shaking his head he left and returned to the corridor. He heard weapons fire fom somewhere in the buiding but on his side it seemed empty.

"We're looking a little empty this side, hows that jog of yours going Tay?"

Phaser shots flew over Taylor's shoulder from the people he was chasing down causing him to duck and give suppressive fire. Gabe's question wasn't helping the matter but he kept the comm chatter going. "I'll tell you after I'm done." he said sharply. His shots had done nothing since they were running anyway so he continued the chase deeper into the complex.



Last edited by Taylor Lucas on Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:58 pm

||Betazed
||Medical Center
||1715

Alyssa walked out of the room, closed the door behind her, and leaned against it. She was freaking out a bit. She knew how to do this, but was losing confidence fast. She had already misunderstood a few of her signed patients.

She sighed. "I don't think I'm doing much." She was speaking to herself, not really noticing that another counselor was standing next to her.

"You're doing well." The counselor pipped out.

She jumped. "Sorry, I didn't notice you standing there. I'm Alyssa Shields, Chief Counselor from USS Fenris."

"I'm Counselor Daniel Rickson." He replied. "Your thoughts are interesting. You're doing better than you think. Why don't you try to not judge yourself so hard?"

She blushed. "I forget that you guys read minds. It's a bad habit that I've developed, and it's a hard one to break."

"I figured. You're doing well, and helping out a lot. Just keep up the good work, and try not to judge yourself. It's important that you stay positive and calm. Everyone will know if you don't keep your confidence." He smiled.

"I feeling that you just read my mind about something that I don't want you to know." She remarked. "I'll try, if you stop going through my thoughts."

He nodded. "All right, but I was looking at the patients you have assigned. Just as a warning, Mr. Clarkson, is a bit moody."

"Oh. Sorry." She blushed. "Thanks for the help. Um... could you tell me what floor Mr. Clarkson is on?"

"Of course. He's on the third floor and he will read your mind. Nothing is safe from him." He answered.

"Thank you." She responded. "You keep up the good work too."

He laughed, but nodded in agreement. "See you later."

"Bye." She waved before heading up to the third floor to take care of Mr. Clarkson.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:31 pm

||Betazed
||Bomb Location
||1730


Jason had made his way over to the frest location of the aresol detination device rather quickly as he knew the way. He also knew that he was going to be able to get this done as fast as possible if he got what he was really after--everyone focused on absolute nonsense. All of the infection that had happened was needed and if Lillian was still the asset Doclin thought she was, then all of this would be fixed and she'd let her guard down.

Just...as...planned...

What Jason needed now was to make sure that he could get the marines trapped inside this building and then see how they were under pressure. Maybe such a tactic was cruel but he honestly didn't care--Jason had given up on his oath as a doctor a long time ago. In fact, he'd probably given up before Doclin had even found him and asked him to join him.

Unknown to Taylor an old enemy was in the building with him. His marines were going through the paces of securing the place for Gabe to work his magic. Seeing two of the enemy Betazoids flee down a corridor Taylor had given chase without so much as calling for back up. It was a stupid thing to do but Taylor's blood was up, all cool-headedness had fled him as soon as the close quarters. Gunning down one in the back with his carbine the other turned and fired his phaser at the marine.

Taylor's carbine caught the blast, the casing shooting out sparks as the power pack within had become fused and useless. A second shot had impacted Taylor's armour depleting the shields but Taylor charged and stuck the bayonet right through the Betazoid's heart. Kicking the man off his carbine and dropping his now broken weapon on the floor Taylor's hand brush over his sidearm safely secured within a holster sat on his thigh.

He walked into the room, saw the bomb, and saw a man who he instantly recognised and despised. Was he surprised that Jason had something to do with this? A little but once the man's identity had been confirmed it was understandable. Jason however wouldn't have been able to see Taylor's face since his helmet's visor was polarised.

"I told you the next time I found you causing trouble, I'd kill you."

The Betazoid looked up and cocked his head to one side. He didn't see Taylor's face but he knew that this had to be Taylor Lucas--the surface thoughts, the threat that he remembered all too well. Actually, seeing him here made his mouth turn up into a small smile because who else would lead Lillian's team but her fiance?

"I don't think this is what you should be worried about." Jason told him as he pointed to the bomb. "I think you should be more worried about your family falling apart while you run around playing hero."

"Well you know how it is Jay; the Missus wants you to go to the shops for groceries and the kid is having a hissy fit because you won't buy him his favourite sweet. All the while someone is letting bio-weapons loose on a planet's surface. I like to think every parent runs around playing hero."

Using one hand but keeping the other firmly on the holster Taylor took off his helmet to reveal his face. No sweat was collecting on his brow since his armour regulated his temperature. Even though Taylor's words would make Jason think he was jesting his expression was neutral, morose even. No smile or frown, no sign of anger or contempt. Just waiting for the right moment to make the kill.

"Why are you doing this?" asked Taylor. "These are your people. You'd commit genocide against your own people and for what? The travel? The adventure? Doclin? The fact that this is his handy work points to him although there has been a rise in those who have been using the enhanced compound for their mind-powers. You been injecting that stuff Jason? I hear it rots your brain. Mind you you're not even suited up. You'll die like everyone else; in pain. Unless either you've been vaccinated or there is no viral agent."

Jason took a deep breath and looked at the bomb before he looked back at Taylor and this time saw the man's face and nodded. He had a feeling that he and Taylor would meet up again and this time he could play a bit more with his prey before striking and that was what Jason enjoyed--mind games. Granted these games he was playing right now were serious and a matter of life and death.

"What you really need is for your little captain with the legs to make that cure." Jason told him with a shrug. "The Betazoids are fine and I think you know that. Deep down you know that such a giant threat is a message...like Megan and Sareth being infected."

Whatever cool Taylor was able to keep up in the line of fire was broken as soon as he heard people that were family were infected and he broke easily. Taylor's mouth curved to a murderous frown and his eyes narrowed. "I'll fucking kill you!" he snarled, charging the Betazoid, abandoning all hope of being talked down. There was a person that could be held responsible, accountable, and it was time to make him pay.

Taylor tackled Jason down the ground and began to beat at his head and face with his armoured fists. All he wanted to do was cause pain. Words meant nothing to him now as red mist began to cloud his vision.

At first Jason was a bit surprised that Taylor had come charging at him like that, but he had in fact threatened his family and now there was a sick kid at the Crae home that would start showing symptoms anytime now. In fact he might even die and Taylor loved the kid. He did--Jason hadn't been expecting that.

"I'd like to see you try!" Jason yelled at him, turning them over and taking a turn at beating the marine as he felt his own blood spilling out of his face, feeling lightheaded--after all he was a telepath whose brain was being beaten and it was making focusing on his powers a little difficult, though he did start to try to give Taylor an aneurysm.

Though Taylor couldn't feel Jason trying to use his powers he was very aware of it. He remembered during his basic training as a marine what his drill instructor had taught him. With Betazoids it was crucial to keep them busy. Beat them down, cause pain, choke them. Do anything to make them lose focus. Taylor had his armoured arms covering his face, blocking the punches heading his way. Unlike Jason, Taylor was used to calming his mind in combat and taking stock. Now it became less about swinging with fury than causing maximum damage with minimum.

Batting aside one of Jason's fists Taylor punched him in the throat, taking advantage of the pause to flip Jason onto his back. There he wrapped his legs around one of Jason's arms and jerked, hearing a crack of a shoulder dislocating. "I don't try, I succeed!"

Jason howled out in pain as he felt the crunch in his arm, too distracted now to try and use his powers and so he took a deep breath--as much of one as he could take--and grabbed a hard rod near him, hitting Taylor over the head with it as hard as he could with his good arm. He was hoping to stun the man and wind him.

"Then do better than this!"

When the rod impacted on Taylor's head he instantly regretted taking off his helmet. He released Jason and stood up, staggering away from him as he felt the point of impact. Taylor could see his crimson blood coating his glove, feeling a dull throbbing as he rested against the wall. It wasn't a killing blow but Taylor had underestimated Jason too much for him to take the threat seriously. Taylor drew his combat knife from his sheath and gripped it, turning around to stagger towards Jason.

Jason smiled a little as he saw the Taylor stagger away, touching his arm and pushing it back into place with another howl of pain. He was a doctor and he knew how to fix himself up enough, holding his head and then gripping the rod as he saw Taylor advancing with the knife. So this was what Taylor thought he was going to do? End this here and now with a knife?

"So this is how it ends?" Jason asked as he advanced on Taylor with the rod. "Wasting time fighting with me while the kid dies slowly and painfully? They'd be better off without you. Maybe if you die here I can step up and make it all better..."

The marine just feigned defeat and dropped to one knee, offering the back of his neck to the killing blow. His vision was blurry and the blood from his wound was dripping freely. "Just shut up and end it. I'm tired of hearing you drone on and on so why don't you act like a man once in your life and actually do something." he groaned, gripping the handle of his knife tightly, waiting for his moment to strike.

Jason moved to Taylor and gripped his hair, looking at him with a grin on his face. "Says the man that sank down to admit defeat."

With that he gripped Taylor's throat, not really paying any attention to the opening he'd just left for himself because he liked this too much. Liked the feel of Taylor's neck in his hands and his pulse beating against his palms as they stood there in this final showdown. Only one of them was making it out of this alive...

Instantly clarity hit Taylor like ice water as he found himself within range of Jason. He analyzed where the Betazoid heart would be; centre chest like a human's. Of course he wanted Jason to know that he had been beaten, that it would be a battle of strength and not intellect that life mattered. Lunging forward Taylor stuck the knife in Jason's gut. It wasn't a killing blow, at least an instant one. He'd die within minutes after the repeated stabbings before Taylor finally dropped the knife and gripped Jason's collar.

"Only an idiot talks when he has the advantage. Idiots end up dead." groaned Taylor, shoving him onto his back and collapsing against the wall. He got on his comms and signaled for Gabe to come to him with a medic. For him, not for Jason. Taylor took out his sidearm and aimed it at the man's head.

"Any last words? Any gloats? About how you're going to replace me beside Lillian in bed? Any jibes about how you're better than me? See Jason, I'm not the one dying of half a dozen stab wounds to the gut. You're a doctor, if I leave you here you'll die because your own waste produce will be killing you. I shouldn't even spare you that."

He'd lost...somehow he had always known he'd die a brutal death but at the hands of Taylor Lucas? He wasn't like Doclin. He wasn't good at talking the talk and walking the walk and now he was dying slowly and he only had a little bit more to say and he might as well say it.

"Doclin will win," he told him slowly. "Lilly isn't strong enough and neither are you. He will break you. Sareth will die and Lilly will never be the same and she'll blame you for not letting her get revenge on Doclin her way. Be ready for that. He's not done. This isn't over. It'll never be over."

"If he fights like you, I've got this in the bag." said the marine who took out his canteen while keeping a steady aim at the man's head. Taking a few gulps of water he released it with one hand before securing it in his webbing. "I've gone up against the Dominion, the Cardassians, the Klingons and now you. Doclin? He's just going to be another kill to my belt. I don't care if I have to burn worlds to get to him...to protect my family. As far as you are concerned it is over. You're a dead man and I don't see any reason why I shouldn't let you bleed to death."

"Do what you will, but I know something about Lilly and all of this that you don't know," Jason told him slowly, laughing a little and tasting the taste of his own blood in his mouth, iron and hot. "She won't let you fight this fight. She will kill Doclin...not you...and the moment you get in her way, she will never forgive you. Don't get in the middle of her fight--this has nothing to do with you. Go. Save Sareth if you think you can but I assure you...you lose either way."

"I couldn't care less if she forgave me, long as she hates me and not herself. If she had her way I wouldn't be in any fight but the thing is I don't give two shits what she thinks. I'll kill who I have to kill. She can get all high and mighty but I won't let her ruin herself just because she thinks she has to get Doclin back. And Jason? Missing you already."

With a squeeze of the trigger a flash of orange left Taylor's pistol to leave a smoking crater at the side of Jason's head. Dropping the pistol Taylor coughed a little before relaxing against the wall.

"Little help here guys?"

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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:53 pm

||Betazed
||Bomb Location
||1730

Gabe pulled his head back around the corner just in time for the phaser beam to burn a hole in the wall where he'd been only seconds eariler. He thanked whoever was watching over him as he poked his pistol around the corner and fired blindly, giving the marine with him enough cover to make the kill shot.

"Nice timing Sir." The marine said, moving back into position.

"Can say that again." Gabe replied as a message crossed his HUD, "The Colonel's in trouble, we're diverting to his position. Hope ya medical training's up to scratch."

"Aye sir, I repassed my Medics qualifications a few months ago."

"Good." Gabe said as he called up the plans for the building, that had been updated by the armour systems of the other marines, on his tricorder "Ok, i'm on point, we're gonna have to be quick so keep up."

The marine nodded as Gabe broke into a run.

"Little help here guys?" Taylor's voice said over Gabe's commlink.

"We're on our way Colonel, E.T.A is 2 minutes."

They met no resistence as they made their way to Taylor's position, Gabe checked out the corpse as the Medic started patching Taylor up.

"I know they say 'ya should have seen the other guy...'" he started as he turned Jason's half ruined face, "Wait... i've seen this guy before, back on Starbase 7 during the virus attack there."
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:05 pm

||Betazed
||Bomb Location
||1745

"Commander. We've found the bomb, sending the location now." Came a voice over Gabe's commsystem. Heand Taylor had split a few minutes before, after the medic had patched up him.

"On my way now, notify the others while i get to work."

As he ran he started upclipping the EOD kit from his back, carrying it in his hand as he entered the room with the bomb. The marines that had found the device parted as he entered.

"Cover the door, i don't anyone other then our own people in here." he said as he opened the kit and knelt down beside the bomb. He laid down the tools he'd need and set to work. He looked at the large box, working his gauntleted fingers around the casing to find an access hatch. Once he did he ran his tricorder over the hatch, checking for boobytraps. He shook his head as he grabbed an EM probe and disabled the one trap he found.

"Well that was far too easy." he said to himself as he pulled off the hatch and took a look inside.. "Okay We have three backup triggers and two primary. Disabling secondary trigger 1."

He pulled out his combat knife and laid it beside, then pulled his tricorder from it's maglock on his arm and placed it on the bomb's casing. He reached in and took hold of the trigger carefully and used a coil spanner to slowly dis connect it from the main circuit.

"Secondary trigger 1 disabled, Virus containment still at 100 percent." He said then used his knife to move a few of the internal components aside to get a better look inside.

"Secondary trigger two is booby trapped. Nobody breath too hard now." He tryed to joke though it sounded a little flat as his mind worked a mile a minute. Sweat ran down his face as he used the knife to cut two of the wires linking the trap to the trigger, then sure they weren't all about to die he disabled triggers 2 and 3 in quick succession, his beathing slow and steady..

"All 3 secondary triggers are disabled, checking Virus containment."

In the middle of the bomb, hidden by the internal workings, was a large glass cylinder containing the Virus. The liquid inside continued to bubble slightly as Gabe need his work. He checked the connections from the bomb to the Glass container, raising an eyebrow as something seemed off. He followed the wiring from the bottom of the cylinder as they snaked through the bomb, looping through each other and ending near the primary det switch.

"That's an awful lot of wire." He said, taking a closer look at the detonator. It was fused into a Isolinear panel with 8 chips inserted in a odd pattern. He used a palm beacon to light up the inside better as he searched the rest of the set-up, as the beacon's beam hit the glass he saw a reflection of the Isolinear chips in the cylinder.

"Ya have got to be joking." he said as he saw the smiley face arranged in the panel. He pulled his tricorder from the bomb's casing and scanned the chips. He made an annoyed noise as the scan revealed that the panel was infact acting as a masking field for the virus container. He pulled the chip that was acting as the face's 'nose' and pulled off his helmet in annoyance as his tricorder's tracking of the virus containment told him that the liquid virus contained in the bomb as little more then water.

"Gorram it.... " He said, turning to Taylor, "The bomb's a fake."
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:28 pm

||Betazed
||Medical Center
||1745 - 1830


With the cure practically done being created, Lillian now had to find a way to distribute it to everyone and anyone that could need it. The problem was that it wasn't entirely ready yet, they were still testing it out and trying to see what they were missing. It was more of a scenario of being so close and yet so far.

"Marlo, I really think we're missing something, this isn't working," Lillian said with a heavy sigh, as she sat in the Reasearch Lab with Marlo on Betazed's surface. "What are we missing?"

Taylor's voice chirped over the comm unit. "Captain Crae, this is Colonel Lucas. Happy to report that bomb has been secured. However I must also report that Sareth has been infected with the viral agent. Just thought you'd need to know. Lucas out."

The moment that Lillian heard the news about Sareth her heart stopped in her chest a moment and she could feel nothing but anger and sadness. That was just the push that she needed to make this work once an for all because Sareth wasn't an adult. That, and he was half Vulcan. She didn't know how this was going to affect him.

"Marlo, more than ever we need to fix this...what shall we try next?" Lillian asked her.

Marlo sighed, and stared into the microscope part of the viral analyzer. She wanted to save her godson, but Marshall had done a bang up job. Having not found the sample of Lilly's blood in sickbay, she'd had to beam down to the planet, and was now holed up in the medical lab with Lilly and Kara. Why couldn't she be dismantling an air release bomb. Suddenly she brightened. Lillian's antibodies, were working, they were just taking a little longer, having been dormant for a while.

"I think we've got this for the Betazed Virus, but Sareth is a special case...Monty told me Vulcans don't get diseases often--some redundant features and their organs being in the wrong spot, but we can't be lax just because his Vulcan half may or may not have dulled the virus. Can you bring him in here?" She asked writing furiously on her datapad everything she was observing.

If she could reproduce this on a larger scale and distribute it, they'd be golden.

"We don't need to move him, his blood is on file here and I can get Mother to bring me a sample of his infected blood," Lillian said quickly. "I don't like him to see me in panic mode and I remember how painful it was to move around and I'd rather he stay put. We should be just fine."

Lillian was trying to keep it together because this was her son that she was talking about and more than anything she wanted him to stay calm. No pain, no worry--she wanted this all to be over and done with and to have everyone as healthy as can be. Now she just had to find a way to do that and distribute this cure to everyone that was infected.

"Right now we focus on producing the cure on a large scale, and I'll get Mother to get me a sample of Sareth's blood." Lillian said with resolve, nodding and sending a message to her mother. "Mother, I need a sample of Sareth's blood, please. He's infected and I need it to test out how to cure his Vulcan half."

Marlo understood where Lilly was coming from and didn't press the issue; as long as she got the sample, that was all she needed. When Leona came in Marlo had come up with the idea to inject the antibodies that she had been multiplying and then also a solution to help jump start the liver so it would fight the virus. She held out her hand for the blood sample, without looking up--she wanted to cure her five year-old godson if it was the last thing she did.

Helping Marlo, Lillian made sure that everything was going where it was supposed to and helping her to guage the reactions to everything that they were doing. Vulcan blood was tricky and it was important that they got it right and also didn't dose him too much as he was only five. He was far too young to be given a dosage that might prove fatal should he get too much--Lillian wasn't about to let her son die. Then it happened.

"I think I've got it. Hand me two hypo-sprays and I can load it in, so it can be distributed." Marlo said, finally pulling away from her work, and stretching.

She handed Lilly the two hypo-sprays for the infected Betazoids in the medical center, and Megan, after she'd loaded them, and as she handed off the one in her right hand, she paused for effect.

"This one has to go to Sareth, no one else. His Vulcan blood will react differently to the other one, and the results could be fatal...and vice-versa if any full-blooded Betazoid gets his cure."

Marlo couldn't stress that fact enough, but she knew Lilly knew what she was doing, and relinquished her hold on the hypo-spray. She sat down, exhausted onto a nearby chair, rubbing her neck. Now, she'd just cured a lethal virus bent on destroying an entire species, why not one on her own world?

"Trust me, Marlo, I know what medicine goes where--I am a renowned doctor, for the love of the Four Deities." Lillian told Marlo as she put the hyposprays in her medical bag. "You rest and I'll run about and distribute some things, all right? We'll meet back up at my house."

Lillian took a deep breath and headed out of the room to administer the cure, proud of hers and Marlo's accomplishments. She wanted more than anything to just cure this and be done, but after she had administered it, there was still some paperwork to be done. So she grabbed it and headed to her house, taking another deep breath and trying to remind herself that she most definitely had outdone herself today and everything was better...better than it had been when she had gotten here.


JP by these lovelies

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Betazoid and Enchanted.
El'Aurian and Proud.


Last edited by Lillian Crae on Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:33 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||1809

Sareth wasn't feeling very good as he meandered into Megan's room, climbing up with his sleeping aunt and touching her clammy skin. She wasn't doing very well at all and Sareth had a feeling that he had caught it. He had a feeling that he had limited time left and without his mother he wanted to be with his aunt so he curled up with her and smiled a little when she wrapped her arm around him sleepily.

"You think too loud, Kid," she joked, coughing a little and then smiling sadly. "You too? Don't worry--your mother is the best and admiralty she'll cure us in no time."

Sareth nodded slowly at that. "I know...I know."

He knew his mother was the best but at the same time he also knew that she had almost died from this very disease and Taylor had saved her with a cure on hold--his grandparents talked. Now Lillian had to make this cure and there wasn't a stock she could just grab some from...at the same time, knowing that there was a cure was rather comforting.

"I blame Jason," Sareth said gently, kissing Megan's cheek. "I don't trust him."

"Me neither, Kid," Megan said weakly. "Me neither."

With the objective secured Taylor's role in the operation was more or less completed. His marines had been stood down since the planatery garrison had taken over. His presence was merely to deal with the bomb and that was that. Of course he was to remain on station in case anything had cropped up. At least he had found a new phaser carbine to sling over his shoulder. Taylor decided to visit the house where Lillian had grown up, where they had spent their first night together. The location was etched in memory and it didn't take long for him to reach the front door.

Taylor wasn't exactly presentable; his wound had been healed but there was still blood matting his hair and dried on his face. He was tired, angry and frustrated. He hadn't even bothered to clean up and change into duty uniform since the job hadn't been done. The armour stayed on and his helmet was stuck on his webbing. Knocking the door he waited to be admitted.

Minas was the first one to the door, even though Leona sensed the marine as well, and when he opened up the door he nodded a little bit and motioned the marine inside. Then he closed the door behind him and held out his hand, offering him the chance the shake it and hoping that he took it. This was the first time they had ever officially met and he wanted Taylor to feel welcome since he had promised Lillian that he would try.

"Minas Crae, nice to meet you Taylor," he told him slowly. "This is my wife, Leona and it's a pleasure to have you here. If you're looking for Sareth, I suggest you clean up first."

Leona nodded in agreement, not as friendly as Minas in her actions. "I'd rather he didn't see you covered in blood and dirt. There's a shower down that way."

Shaking Minas' hand Taylor walked inside the house and gave both of them rather curt nods in acknowledgement. With the carbine across his back Taylor stood there and thought about how good he'd feel after a shower. Instead Taylor's shoulders sagged and he shook his head to decline the offer. "I understand how important it is that Sareth's sees me in a more presentable manner ma'am and sir but my marines are stuck in a barrack block with orders to remain ever ready. It took me a lot of pleading to get the time to see my step-son and if I'm called I must leave. My men don't have the choice of showering and as long as that remains the case I won't partake that luxury."

"That's very honorable of you," Minas nodded at his explanation and pointed up the stairs while Leona checked the beeping console in their Living Room.

The old Betazoid wasn't going to deny Taylor seeing Sareth even if part of him still felt like it was a bad idea because Sareth had last seen the man before he was declared MIA and then KIA by Starfleet. While he knew Taylor was alive now, it didn't stop the five year old from thinking the worse when he saw blood and Minas didn't want him to worry so much. He'd been through quite enough already, but Sareth and Lillian loved Taylor and the fact that Taylor was here meant the world to Minas and warmed his heart.

"He's with Megan," Minas explained to him slowly. "You know how Lillybean was when she got this virus, so be mindful of how like death she feels right now. Being with Sareth is really the only high point of this so don't ignore her. I know you two don't exactly get along, but this isn't exactly a situation we can just snap our fingers and have gone."

Leona sighed as she came back into the room. "I'll come with you, I need to get blood from Sareth anyway for Lilly."

"Be tactful, Leona," Minas reminded her as he watched Leona begin to lead Taylor up the stairs.

It felt good that someone finally saw Taylor's honourable side rather than think him simply as some gung-ho marine looking for the next fight. Minas had already scored a point in the marine's books with that remark and he smiled slightly as he was led upstairs. He was finally getting to see Sareth, after all this time. It was a sobering moment and he hoped that he wouldn't say or do something stupid to upset him.

When he entered the room where Megan and Sareth were Taylor gripped his carbine's sling, taking it off his shoulder and planting it onto a chair before kneeling beside the boy. "And I thought your mother was the lazy one." he said softly.

Sareth's eyes lit up as Megan chuckled a little, coughing as she chuckled and then letting herself sit up a bit and watch the reunion. She knew how much Sareth had missed Taylor while he was gone and this was their chance to reconcile and she tried to hide her cringes as she watched Sareth hit Taylor in the shoulder and then wrap his arms around him. It was his anger and his happiness all in one little gesture and he just wanted to be happy, and he was--he loved Taylor very much.

"Taylor!" Sareth said as he hugged him close. "You smell funny."

Megan smiled and nodded. "He looks a bit funny too. We should give them a moment before you do anything, Mom--I can still read your mind, however faintly."

With the armour the physical effects of Sareth's small punch were non-existent the emotional ones were rather evident on his face. All Taylor could do was hold Sareth and feel his shoulders sag and rise, no noise coming from him. Taylor felt pangs of pain in his heart, this house...Sareth...a family completed. Tears were rolling down his face as he kissed Sareth's forehead.

"It's just the phaser discharge." he lied, not wanting to worry the boy about the blood on his head. Years of emotions bottled up and used as fuel against enemies just spilled over down his cheeks as he snuggled into Sareth, afraid that letting him go would somehow mean that he'd lose him forever.

"No it's not," Sareth whispered, catching onto the lie and snuggling in even closer, his face buried in Taylor's neck as much as he could. "I'm just glad you're here and safe."

"You're already a dad," Megan said happily with a tired smile on her face. "Congratulations."

She honestly meant it, and while Leona was warmed a bit by the scene, she needed to take Sareth's blood and get it to his mother. So she picked the kid up and kissed his cheeks as Megan patted the bed so Taylor could sit down and take a load off, Leona getting a sample even though Sareth was not happy about it. When she was finished, he went straight back over to Taylor and Megan and Leona left to go and see Lillian, Minas downstairs working on Ambassador issues.

"Momma shouldn't be here to get infected again," Sareth said as he went back to wrapping his arms around Taylor again. "Jason did this, I know he did. I don't want him near Momma. He hurt Aunt Megan and he hurt me."

Megan reached out and stroked the boy's hair. "Kid, it's okay--Taylor would never let anything happen to your mother...hey...you're starting to burn up." She told him in a worried voice as she felt his forehead and had to lay back down, weak. "Taylor, can you get him a compress please?"

Nodding Taylor fetched a cloth and replicated some ice, tying it into a bag. Taking the homemade icebag he rested it against Sareth's forehead. He remembered when Lillian was infected with the virus, how burnt up she got, how bad she became. Sadly there was no Cardassian bunker to rob stocked to merry hell with vaccines. That would have been nice. Hell if they had the time he would have gone back to that overgrown mess stocked with massive reptiles just for Sareth.

"You don't need to worry about Jason, son, he and I had some words," said Taylor darkly, trying to keep down the feeling of dark satisfaction of killing the man. "He was involved with the bombs so I had to lock him up."

What he told Sareth with words and told Megan with a nod where two different things. She'd know that Taylor didn't mess around when it came to threats against people he cared about regardless of the circumstances. She and Lars both.

"See? What did I say?" Megan told Sareth with a weak smile as she lay there, Sareth getting back onto the bed with her and nodding slowly. "He'll protect us all without us even asking him to do so."

He wanted to see his mother and soon, wondering what would happen if he progressed as bad as Megan--Megan was on her last legs and was only holding out to see Lillian too. What if Lillian didn't get here in time? What if Megan passed? Sareth wouldn't be able to handle that, but he wouldn't leave Megan alone for a moment, that was for sure.

"What if you get sick, Taylor?" Sareth asked him slowly, snuggling into Megan and reaching out to hold Taylor's hand.

Taking Sareth's hand the marine just gave a warm smile to the boy, the same smile he would give his own marines when everything was looking grim. It was the smile that would tell them that for better or worse he'd do his best to see them through it all and Taylor was damn well going to keep beside Sareth for as long as he could.

"Well, I'll just have to get better now won't I?" teased Taylor with his smile. "Your mother is the brains of the outfit, she'll get the cure all whipped up."

"Would you like something to eat, Taylor?" Minas asked from the doorway, watching his future son-in-law with his grandson with a small smile on his face. "How does some meat sound to everyone?"

Sareth squeezed Taylor's hand as Megan just nodded. "I am a little hungry..."

"Well, your grandmother is making some food so how about it Taylor? Hungry too?" Minas asked again, warming up to Taylor more and more the more he observed him.

"Well I suppose it was about time I had dinner with the folks now isn't it?" agreed Taylor with a smile as he kissed Sareth's head again before standing up. He still had his TED over his left eye and it was filtering comm-chatter into his left ear. Some was squaking so he grabbed his 'talk' button hanging on a wire across his front.

"Roger, tell Fenris marines to stand down. Stand down," he said before nodding at Minas again.

"Betazed Security Forces are handling the situation. My boys have been stood down so it looks like you've got me for longer."

Minas smiled at that and motioned to the door. "Then lets let these two have a rest and I can give you a good, actual tour. I hear you love art almost as much as Sareth, so have I got an art gallery to show you. When this is all over I'd like to get your men showered and fed as well."

Slinging his carbine over his back Taylor nodded and left through the door but not before waving to Sareth and Megan one last time. "It's over for my marines so they're already getting rested. I suppose that also means that I can partake the luxury for a good shower and a hot meal. It would be best to make myself more presentable for the dinner table."

With a smile he wandered towards where he knew where the art gallery was, guided by memory of a night so long ago. It was like he was that young lieutenant all over again. "I have to thank you for offering to look after my marines. I'm not used to people offering to help them but if they're stood down they'll already be eating one of the marine bases out of house and home. And I do like art...something of a painter myself but I've not really had the time to pick up a brush."

"You will," Minas responded, resting his hand reassuingly on Taylor's shoulder and patting it. "It'll just take some down time and inspiration."

He knew the young marine had been here before--gotten a tour from Lillian before they got better acquainted up in her room. He would have liked to meet the young marine sooner, but instead he had to meet him formally as such. Minas paused a moment and looked at Taylor, getting his attention and looking him in the eye.

"I'm not going to interrogate you or anything, Taylor...my daughter is madly in love with you and I know you love her too. You love Sareth and you'd protect them no matter what and I appreciate that. I was mostly mad about the broken promise, but if you can tell me you will protect my little girl's heart that she has bestowed upon you, then you have my blessing. Just love her...and let her family get to know you better."

For some reason Taylor found it a lot easier to keep eye contact with his most hated enemies than with the father of his fiancée. Maybe it was just nerves, maybe Taylor was afraid Minas would be able to root through his mind deeper. With a moment of hesitation which was rare to him Taylor nodded slowly.

"Sir, all I can do is my best. It's all a man can ever do. I could make grand promises again without regards to what might happen in the future but I'm aware that they were impossible to keep. So I can say I will do my best to protect Lillian's heart...and I'll try to show her all the love I can give. That's all that can be done...I'm only a man."

"That's all I ask, son," Minas said with a nod. "Now, lets get you cleaned up and then we can have some dinner."


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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:40 pm

|| Betazed
|| Crae Residence
|| 1835


Outside the Crae home, three forms materialized in a whirl of transporter particles. Taking shape at the front was Lars, wearing a rebreather to avoid coming into contact with airborne disease particles, but his uniform still visible to avoid spooking the civilian population.

The two Intel goons flanking him, though, were in full exposure suits with the eerie skull-like helmets designed to intimidate their victims without resorting to firepower. Their gender and species were obscured behind the helmets, and their voices were harsh and metallic through voice modulators. Fortunately they spoke little, but they did finger their disruptor rifles a little too eagerly as they followed Lars to the house.

Lars was a bit apprehensive, as he wasn't sure how the other members of the Crae family felt about him. He wasn't even sure how Megan would respond…if she still could, being infected. But he shook off that unpleasant thought and waved for his bodyguards to follow him at a slight distance as he made his way around to the front door.

Pausing a moment to collect himself, Lars eventually rang the door chime. "Is this the Crae residence?" he asked formally when the door slid open, his voice muffled by the rebreather. He knew it was, being an Intelligence officer and all that, but he still wanted to ease into the conversation.

Minas Crae was the Betazoid to answer the door to his home and he had a feeling such a visit would happen but he hadn't known when. In fact he hadn't known to which magnitude either. However, he had a young boy in the house and only the boy and Megan were infected because they were infected on purpose and he thought the suits were a little overboard--that they might scare Sareth.

"The air here is fine to breathe, please come in," he said politely, standing back to let the three enter his house. "Surely our own government would never allow its Ambassadors to become infected. Luckily, though, a cure is on its way so we can all eventually put this awful matter behind us. And you all are?"

He could read their minds and he planned to, skimming over their surface thoughts already, but he honestly just wanted to hear what they had to say. Minas understood that other cultures and species had other customs and he wanted more than anything to make sure that they all felt somewhat comfortable--that meant answering for themselves. Besides, he had a feeling that one of them was one of the men he had been looking forward to meeting...

Lars hesitated for a moment, then tore off his rebreather and gestured to his subordinates, who grudgingly tapped their helmets to retract them into the suits, revealing a bored looking human and a fidgety Tiburonian. The two slung their rifles and leaned against the wall in the entry hall, conversing in low voices as Lars stepped forward to address Minas.

"Lars Janssen, Starfleet Intelligence. I'm here to check up on Lieutenant Crae," he offered, trying to sound as professional as possible. "Starfleet Diplomatic is anxious to know her condition." That was only because he'd contacted them about it, to give himself a pretense to check up on her. "She's, uh, a valuable asset to them and they're quite concerned," Lars murmured hastily, nervous about revealing his personal interest in all this.

Minas smiled and nodded. "She is upstairs but I suggest one visitor at a time. She's a bit weak, Commander Janssen, so use your best judgment."

He had a good idea of why the man was here and he wasn't about to deny Megan a visit from him at all because he knew how she felt. Minas was a caring man and as protective as he was he honored his daughters' choices. So, he pointed up the stairs of their large estate.

"Second door on the right as you turn left at the top of the stairs," he instructed slowly. "After, you can stay for dinner."

Lars nodded sternly. "All right. Gunderson, Jeral, hold the stairs," he growled to his subordinates, who nodded and took up a casual sentry at the base of the stairs. Their bored expressions suggested they did not think there would be much in the way of threats, and also that they had some idea why their commander was really making this checkup. Pretending not to notice, Lars made his way up the stairs and down the hall, a tricorder in hand as a feeble attempt to make it look purely official.

Pausing outside of the second door on the right, he took a few deep breaths and collected his thoughts as best he could. This was a difficult situation for him, and Lars often dealt with difficult situations by avoiding them, but this was one responsibility he felt he could not duck. The thought of seeing Megan again made his throat dry and his hands shake, but the thought of her sickness made his anxiety worse. Mentally he cursed the nervousness that had held him back before in life, and with a sudden burst of resolve took the last step to the door.

"Lieutenant Crae?" he asked hesitantly after he had rung the door chime, wondering if anyone else was listening.

Well, that was a voice Megan hadn't heard in a long time.

She sat up a little bit, cringing as she went, gathering up what she could muster of some sort of strong voice and decided to let her words do some talking for her. Lars was the last person that she expected to come into her house even if she was dying, but he would be a welcome sight. She smiled a little bit and ran her fingers through her hair in a feeble attempt to look more presentable, cursing herself for being ill.

"Come in," she said slowly, leaning on her headrest.

The door slid open and Lars practically leapt inside, then stopped still, looking at Megan. He had no words, because it was such a damn awkward reunion, and so he typed commands into his tricorder. The device chirped a series of responses to complicated queries, and he pretended to focus his attention on it, not being prepared with any glib line or a heroic reassurance at the moment.

"Your condition seems to be improving, Lieutenant," he lied, since he'd really been checking the room for electronic listening devices, out of old habit. Then emotion seized him and he dropped all pretense (and the tricorder) and fell to his knees beside her bed.

"Megan…I was...how are..." he stammered, but when words failed he just looked into her eyes, hoping for once that she would read his mind, and save him the difficulty of putting into words his unfamiliar emotions of concern and caring.

"You forget that I can tell when you lie," Megan said softly, laughing a little bit. "Then again that was more the look in your eyes than my empathy as it seems all of my abilities are failing me, but what can you do, right?"

She started to shrug until his movement startled her, the sounds of the tricorder hitting the carpet and Lars getting to his knees made her pause. Megan smiled fondly at him though, reaching out to stroke his hair and then cup his face, looking into his eyes. He cared so much more than she had thought he did and she patted the bed with her other hand, thumb tracing his lips tenderly.

"There's space for you...I could use a good reunion kiss and snuggle," she told him with a playful wink--she might have been losing herself to this virus until Lillian got there, but she would die happy and playful if it was the last thing she did.

HIs falsification discovered, Lars grinned wryly. Megan's soft laughter, so familiar to him, relieved his anxiety a bit. "I must be getting rusty, spending all that time in San Francisco. Anyway I've been monitoring the reports going around. It sounds like the medical research team on board the Mitterand has received sufficient data from the ground to synthesize antibodies. I'm sure any moment now your sister will arrive with a cure," he said reassuringly. "So hang in there. I can't lose you. I have enough enemies around here, so I need all the allies I can get," he said half-jokingly.

Lars peeled off his gloves and brushed some strands of hair from her face, then leaned in for a brief kiss, not wanting to overdo it right now. Still, he did cautiously lower himself onto the bed next to her, and held her as gently as he could, inwardly terrified of hurting her in her fragile state at the moment.

"I feel like a guilty teenager again, listening for your father out in the hall," he chuckled to disrupt his trepidation. Being discovered was actually a slight concern, since he didn't know the Crae parents well enough to judge their opinion on this.

He gazed into her eyes then. "I'm sorry we drifted apart. Work, you know," he offered lamely. "I've got some time saved up. I have to deliver the disarmed bomb to Starfleet Medical and debrief the Admiral, but that will give you some time to recover. After that we can get together again, I promise. If you want to, I mean," Lars added quickly.

Megan laughed a little. "My father knows all the things I know about you and let you come up here, so...feel special."

She snuggled into him as he held her, smiling a bit at his thoughts of her being fragile and nuzzling his face with her nose slowly before kissing him again. Megan had missed him. She'd been keeping busy and so had he, but he had come all this way just to see her and she wanted him to know how much that meant to her.

"I missed you, but work is work," she said slowly, looking at him and keeping eye contact. "I've never been good at commitment--I scare men off or they get so close that I freak out--but...if you want to try something, I am more than willing to try it. I like it better when you're here."

"He knows all the things you know about me?!" Lars asked in mock horror, then laughed at their shared memories of Starbase 7 and that brief period after. Feeling more contented with Megan in his arms than he had in a year of glamorous work at the Office of the Director of Starfleet Intelligence, he gently twirled a strand of her hair around his finger. He marveled for a moment at the sight of his bare finger, so rarely seen without gloves even by him, and did his best to ignore her low body temperature and pallid skin color, the likely result of the virus.

"I was a little freaked out myself, when I heard you were…sick," Lars put in carefully. "So how do you feel, really? And…about this disease…some day we need to talk…about your sister…and her acquaintances," he added quietly.

"When you heard that I was dying?" Megan asked him, taking as deep a breath as she could. "I feel like I'm nearing the end of my rope but I have complete faith in my sister. Lillian is one of the best that there is and she would never let me or her son down. She is far too determined for that."

She looked at him though as the other words sunk in. "If you want to know more about Doclin...a lot of things are for her to tell, not me. She has it in her mind that she needs to handle this her way and I would rather protect you than involve you more. I only know the parts of it that she lets me know, and when she's cured this I'm locking you up in my room."

With that she had to wink, desperate to be playful and not talk about Doclin.

Lars gave her a rueful grin. "Ah well, it wouldn't be the first time I've been locked up. And hopefully I'd enjoy that more than the stockade." But inwardly he was a little irked by her evasion. Everyone seemed to keeping secrets from him, and the nature of his personality and profession meant he did not care for it. Still, he supposed he should not pester Megan about all that. "Well, I guess--"

Just then his comm badge chimed. "Sir, Gunderson here. Ran a prox scan and saw that Marine is here. Downstairs. Want us to run him off?" his subordinate asked gruffly. Lars flinched at the interruption and at the mention of Taylor, but he had an idea.

"Negative, just take it easy," he responded over the comm. Looking down at Megan, he inquired "So are you up for going downstairs and being sociable? I have to say hello to some people."

"I've been off my feet cause it hurts, but...I wouldn't mind the company." Megan said honestly. "Besides, being down there would make it easier for Lillian to get to me, right? Can't stay in bed forever."

She laughed a little when she said it and then sat up a little bit, feeling pained and yet her need to be with people gave her some strength. Megan wanted to not be cooped up anymore it was just that this virus had really made her weak and in pain and walking just heightened the pain. With Lars' help, however, she was pretty certain that she could make it down the stairs without too much trouble.

"Just promise you won't let me stumble and fall down the stairs." Megan teased, but she was also dead serious. "And hey...if you honestly want to know some things about Doclin then I guess...when you come back to me after this we can talk about it."

Lars stood quickly and braced himself to leap in should Megan falter as she tried to stand. "That's the spirit. And from what the reports tell me you'll be lucky, they've synthesized a much more gentle cure than the initial versions. No nausea, so they say," he offered in the spirit of conversation.

But he saw that walking pained her, and he was torn. On the one hand Lars knew that Megan was a strong-willed woman, unwilling to acknowledge personal weaknesses, and that was part of why he was attracted to her. On the other hand the sight of her in pain was in turn painful to him, and so with a deep breath he scooped her up in his arms and proceeded to carry her gently down the stairs, ignoring how frail she felt as a result of the disease.

"This should make for a more dramatic entrance, and you know I've always been one with a flare for the dramatic, eh?" He nervously laughed it off, to try and forestall any objections she might have. "And don't worry too much about…all that," he said quietly in response to her comment about Doclin. Lars had decided Megan was the one person in the galaxy he would not pester too much about that particular problem. She had earned it.


JP by Megan and Lars

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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:48 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||1905


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."


JP by these lovelies


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Sergeni Kostev
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:49 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||1920


Minas nodded at Taylor and offered him a nearby chair, taking out some rather expensive cigars and moving to offer Taylor one. He hadn't brought him up here to yell at him or anything, just to get to know him better as he would become part of his family. It was important to him that Lars and Taylor be separated for the time being because they obviously did not get along, but Minas had other things on his agenda...and eventually he'd talk to Lars, or let his wife do it.

"I brought you in here to talk to you about a few things," Minas said with a nod. "I just want to get to know my Son-in-Law to be. I know that you respect my daughter and you respect us because of her bond with us and I know you and Lars have history and it's not going to be fixed by a dinner or by being forced to be in the same room. It just seemed to me you two needed a breather and I have things I want to talk to you about. You're going to be part of this family and I'd like to know more about you. Your interests, your goals--your plans for fatherhood. I want to be able to call you my son because that's the kind of family this is. Cigar?"

For a moment Taylor looked at the cigar with longing as he had done for many of his vices. Drinking was strictly for celebratory purposes since on Vega station his main form of entertainment was to get paralyzed with drink. It had been a dark time and he had told himself never again unless it was for a happy time. However smoking was another matter all together. He had gotten lung cancer from smoking but medical technology being what it was today cleared it up like some minor disease. Taylor knew Lillian frowned on him smoking and he never did it around her or Sareth however neither were around to suffer the second-hand smoke.

Nodding he took the cigar before producing a lighter from his pocket, lighting Minas' cigar before his own. As he puffed away and blew the smoke towards the window of the study he analyzed the questions carefully. "Much appreciated," said the marine before speaking again. "Minas...I have no goals. No ambition within me. I've only gotten to this rank because those higher up than me have recognized my dedication and talent. I didn't cheat or push my way up the rank ladder. I've only wanted to serve Starfleet to the best of my ability, duty Minas. I'm a man of duty and now I'm a man of family."

With another puff to break up his talking Taylor could taste the delicious acrid smoke swirling in his mouth before being expelled with gentle exhales. "My interests are painting mostly though as I said before not really had the chance to paint much. Fencing too, hence the cybernetic eye. As for my plans to be a father...I honestly don't know Minas. I'm afraid that maybe I won't be able to be the best father for both Sareth and this child on the way. All I can do is try."

Minas laughed a little bit at Taylor's answer and focused on his cigar while he tried to figure out how he wanted to tell Taylor his next set of words. He had them cooking up inside his head but he just wasn't positive on how to say them without offending the human in front of him as he went to sit at his desk. Looking at Taylor for a few moments though, he made up his mind and simply began to speak.

"I'm afraid I'm not buying the self-deprecating, modest nonsense," he told Taylor with a small nod. "Of course you have goals--of course you're somewhat ambitious. You know what makes ambitious people, Taylor? Drive. You have drive. If you didn't, you'd be sitting around doing nothing. You want to marry my daughter don't you? Have a baby? Protect your family? Settle into a routine with your marines? Meet back up with your buddy James? Those are all goals, so stop selling yourself short cause I'm not buying it. You have miracles in front of you and I know you're not stupid enough not to see them."

He smiled at the man and then continued. "As for your fears about fatherhood, that's normal. You're a first time parent and that's scary and you think you're going to make mistake after mistake and that's normal. All you have to do is love them and protect them and you'll do just fine, promise. The next ones will come much easier but I'm afraid that fear of failing them will always be there."

At the mention of James, Taylor seemed to become a lot more sombre than usual. Even with all his time he never tried to find James for some reason. He had literally walked from Starfleet around the same time Taylor had been declared missing. No reason, no paperwork. Just walked from Starbase Seven. "He's out of Starfleet and I've not really been able to find out where he is. Space is big and all my leads and contacts that I had are underground. He was like my brother, known him for years. Now he's just...gone. I'll find him sooner or later though and let him know I'm all safe and sound."

He chuckled at remembering all the foolish tricks they had played on each other as well as the mischief both he and James had gotten up to. A regular bromance. "Well, I suppose those are goals in a similar sense but I'm not looking for general stars. Just want to live a good life and do things right. Unlike that idiot downstairs who'd sell out anyone for a pat on the back from San Fran."

"Well then that's a goal right there and I think you'll meet it. If Lillybean has anything to say about it, she'll make you happier than you know," Minas said with a smile on his face. "That girl is one of my prides and joys and I honestly couldn't part with her for anything less than true love. After everything you two have endured, you're finally together and I would never stand in the way of that. Just treat her right...love her and let her love you back. You know what that entails though? Sometimes letting her fight her own battles, and I wonder if you're ready for Sareth's rites and the Phase...you should prepare for them somehow."

Minas nodded a little bit about the Lars statement and shrugged his shoulders. "Some men are incredibly ambitious and want to be at the top--know all there is to know and have all the power they can get. At the same time, I have a hard time believing that anyone is inherently evil unless they prove to me that they are and at the moment I believe that man is capable of love and while Megan isn't my smartest, she isn't as bad a judge of character as you might think she is and maybe with the right direction, Lars can turn it all around. I'm cautious, but I'm a father--I'm overly cautious."

"If money is the root of all evil then ambition comes in at a close second." offered the marine with a rather stern look as he puffed away at his cigar. "I'm not saying Lars isn't capable of having feelings for other people but all he's interested in is the little power trips of being in control, of being the one to give the orders. All he wants is his whim to be extended across others and to be proven right. He wants the final word all the time and guess what? I gave him the final word even though I poured the evidence of his mistake right in front of him for all to see. I bit my tongue and because of that one of my marines died when it could have been avoided. He didn't die for the Federation, he died so Lars could have the final say. He died for a power trip."

Taylor settled in his chair pinching the bridge of his nose as the tried to settle the burning hatred inside with more draws on the cigar. "I could fight about this all day but there's no point. He'll still plead innocent with that smug little smile of his."

"You have to pick your fights," Minas said gently with a small nod. "I understand why you are frustrated with him, however...and somehow you'll find a way to honor Erlin and as long as you never forget him then it wasn't all in vain. I regret that he died so young...that's tragic and nothing I say can make any of it better but I'm sorry, Taylor. I'm sorry you lost someone dear to you because of him."

Minas looked up as his study door opened and then smiled a bit as Lillian walked in and then made a playful show of waving off smoke. She always did that when she entered and her father was puffing away on one of his cigars and while Taylor smoking worried her, it was his life and he would do whatever he wanted. Lillian was just there to relay a message from her mother.

"After dinner, Caleb is coming over and I want to see him before we leave. Dinner itself will be ready shortly so finish up and don't make her angry by being late to the table." Lillian said with a laugh, smiling at Taylor and then taking her leave and looking at her father again. "And if he starts coughing up blood, it's your job this time. I love you both."

Minas nodded at that and looked back at Taylor as Lillian closed the door behind her. "You're lucky she cares so much about you. If I got cancer, my wife would just send me to Kara and then that would be that and I'd come back and still do what I want. How far along is she now? Her bump isn't as large as I was expecting for some reason."

With a grumble Taylor tried to acknowledge what Minas was saying as he finished his cigar with a last few deep puffs before blowing out the smoke. However he beamed when Lillian came through to deliver a message, not to put on a brave face but because she always made him happy. "Love you too." he managed to get in before she retreated. He turned back to Minas and stood up with a rather sheepish look.

"She does care about me a lot. When I got cancer she was fretful over me. As for the little one on the way it's been a few months. Enough to see the bump but not enough to keep her struggling for balance. Best get heading off in case Leona gets angry eh?"

Minas smiled at the way his daughter made Taylor's face light up and stood up as well. "Yeah, and Taylor? Try not to be afraid to call this place home alright? We all want you to feel welcome here."
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Selina Karr
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:50 pm

||Betazed
||Medical Center
|| 1850


Clan in his armour, his face dirty from the sweat that had almost bathed him during the defusing of the Bio-Weapon, Gabe alone in the common room of the Medic Center they'd landed at. He sat back, his head leant back and his eyes closed.

He took a drink from the steaming cup of tea that sat on the table beside him as he rubbed his ached neck. He wasn't ready to return to the ship, the events of the day had taken more out of him then he'd thought and at the minute he wasn't up to much. He needed a rest and time to clear his mind before he returned and met Marissa , he wanted to be in the best frame of mind otherwise he was worried he'd just ruin the night and that wasn't something he wanted to do.

Kara was getting ready to finally go home when she passed the room that Gabe was in and decided to go ahead and stop. She never gave up on those in need and she had a feeling that talking to strangers about such events would be easier--less likely to judge and you wouldn't have to face them again. So she walked in with a warm smile on her face and took a deep breath.

"Hey there," she greeted him pleasantly.

Opening his eyes at the sound of the greeting, Gabe slowly sat upright, "Ah Evening Ma'am." He said, giving Kara a tired smile, "Sorry i fancied a rest and this was the best place i could think of."

He rubbed his beard, God even my beard aches, he thought as he stood up and offered Kara his hand, "Lt Commander Gabriel Sharpe, USS Fenris."

Kara shook his hand and smiled as she waved it off. "You're always welcome here. I'm a good listener and an even better doctor, promise. You look like you could get something off of your chest."

She really did enjoy helping people and the man looked like he could use an ear to talk off about one thing or another and she took that moment to skim his surface thoughts. Kara thought it would be good to keep him happy...especially given his job on the Fenris. Lillian would never forgive her if she heard that she had had the chance to help one of her crew members and she hadn't.

"I could do with getting outta this armour but at this stage i think it's the only thing keeping the smell of sweat in." He said, then shook his head, "Sorry that sounded stupid."

He grabbed his cup again and drained what was left. "I'm on a little bit of a loose end I think, Marissa headed back to the Fenris and I'm too busy going over past events to really think clearly." He stared out of the window at the backdrop of Betazed in the early evening,"That and it's been nearly a decade since I last saw that." He pointed to the sunset, "Ya have yaself a beautiful planet here, kinda wish I'd thought about talking Marissa into coming down here later, but that too would fell a little weird." He chuckled slightly to himself, "It's actually kinda funny how this whole situation brings back memories."

Rubbed his beard again as he thought, a habit he'd picked up shortly after growing it he turned back to Kara. "I'm just glad everything worked out as it did...even the past. Gave me hell for 10 years." He smiled as he thought of Marissa, "But it was worth it...just wish I'd have known that 10 years ago."

"Ya know ya Betazoids are far to good at catching me in an interspective mood and getting me to go on and on. Lill managed that trick within 5 minutes of me meeting her. I think I need to work on my mental discipline. I'm guessing by now ya've already done a surface scan." He smiled, "Find anything good?"

Kara laughed a little bit. "I think that remembering the past is important and I think that after everything you deserve to have someone to go back to."

She smiled at Gabe and took a seat, looking at him and making sure that he knew that she honestly wanted to be there for him. Kara was no stranger to having to deal with things and she kind of liked that Gabe seemed like such a good person. She wanted to help him and she wanted him to understand that she thought that he was truly one of the best.

"Betazed is one of those places--beautiful and thought provoking. The last time you were here...did you at least enjoy yourself? Ten years ago was after the Occupation of Betazed so you have memories post the Dominion War here...did a lady catch your eye?" Kara asked him.

Gabe said nothing for a minute, thinking carefully about his answer. "Something like that aye. A Betazoid woman I served with back then. We went our separate ways years ago; she since found her Imzadi and married. We spent 2 weeks here on her family farm. Nice place, even though I spent most of the time repairing the place... even the parts that weren't broken."

"But that's the past, I've got over that part and moved on." Gabe crossed his arms across his chest. "it's just that it's been a long time since I worked on a bomb, setting up or defusing. Didn't exactly go well last time and frankly being called on for this mission worried the crap outta me."

"I can understand that," Kara told him gently with a small squeeze to his arm. "Things like this are always hard emotionally and I want more than anything to make sure that you are alright. So...how are you feeling, really? Shaken up? Just kind of drained? Do you have someone to go back to that you can trust to hold you close and let you know it's all okay? Because believe me, that works wonders."

"Drained, tired, relieved, you name it." He replied, rubbing his temples, "As for that special someone, I'm taking time to try and relax, take stock before I head back up to the ship. I don't wanna ruin things this early and past experiences tell me i habit of 'sticking my foot in it' as it were."

Kara smiled at him and did a few scans just to make sure that physically he was going to be alright, glad that he had someone to go home to. She knew that her life wouldn't be nearly as fruitful without Leonard and the kids and she wanted to make sure that everyone else lived out their potentials to be happy as well. So, she took a deep breath and sat down next to him.

"I think that the best thing to do here is remember that you're alive and take deep breaths," Kara said with a gentle nod. "Everything happens the way its supposed to and you were a hero out there today--don't forget that."

"Words like 'hero' shouldn't be thrown around lightly, I'm just a man who did his job Doctor." Gabe replied matter of factly.

"What you did today was heroic--you put yourself in danger potentially, to save an entire race. You put others before yourself and you did it without hesitation so never forget that. I'm not just throwing it around, I mean it."

She smiled at him sincerely because she honestly believed in him and what he did. He and the marines came to the aid of her people and some lost their lives to protect perfect strangers. There was nothing more noble and heroic than that as far as Kara was concerned.

"Maybe." He conceded, "But anyone else with the skills needed could have done the job just as well as we did. We were just lucky it was the virus Lillian had come across before otherwise we'd have been lightyears away."

He returned to staring out of the window, "All of us were little more then pawns in a much bigger game and frankly I'm not liking the rules thus far."

"Perhaps, but they didn't...you did," Kara told him as she stood up. "I think you should take this time to reflect and maybe talk to Lilly about regrouping. That sister-in-law of mine is something else--stubborn, very much so--but she listens to reason. I want this done and I want Lillian to accept help. You and Taylor might be the only options there. Still, rest right now. You can deal with the rest of it another day."

She rested her hand on his shoulder. "I just want you to relax and remember that today was a victory and enjoy the view. You only live once, so try to live life as positively as you possibly can and everything will be fine. It was nice to meet you, Gabe. I'm Kara Crae in case I forgot to introduce myself and I'm sure we'll see each other again at Lilly's and Taylor's wedding. Are you coming to both of them? The human one and the naked one?"

"I knew there was a reason i was planning on hitting the gym. But yea I'll be there." he replied. He'd almost forgotten about Lillian and Taylor's wedding, "I think I'd best head back to the ship, still have a few things to do before I can relax. Thanks for the chat Kara, seems to have been what i needed."

"Good, then we'll chat again," she said with a smile as she started out of the door. "Take it easy and you'll be fine, Gabe--I think everything is going to be just fine."


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PostSubject: Re: Episode 3: Prodigal Children   Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:53 pm

||Betazed
||Crae Residence
||TBD


Leona smiled a little at Lars and laughed. "With my husband? Of course we do. Sareth, honey? Megan is fine on her own at the table, can you show Lars where Grandpa keeps his special stuff?"

"I think you'll like the selections," Megan told Lars with a laugh. "Dad has some pretty terrific choices."

Even though Sareth wasn't quite sure what they were all talking about, he went up to Lars and took his hand, leading him to the liquor cabinet. He wasn't allowed to touch it, but the grown-ups were and he was listening to his grandmother so as not to incur her wrath or anything. Smiling up at Lars he pointed to it, glad to be of service of the man that Megan seemed to like so much.

"Just try not to take too much." Sareth told him.

"Well then, I'm deathly afraid all those expensive spirits will be wasted on a crude colonial boy like me," Lars told Megan and her mother jokingly, then allowed Sareth to lead him to the cabinet without further protest.

As they walked he eyed the boy, noting the Betazoid and Vulcan features present, and remembering a message he had read on Starbase 7. An unofficial memo, from a friend of a friend, requesting that he keep tabs on the boy as a potential future asset. Nothing had ever come of that plan though…as far as he knew. So in the presence of so many telepaths, he pushed such thoughts to the back of his mind. When they arrived at the cabinet Lars slid it open, and after a cursory examination of its contents he smiled and nodded to Sareth.

"Very good, operative," Lars said happily, treating Lillian's son with more respect and maturity than he had Taylor. After all, when was the last time Taylor had led him to an alcoholic bounty of this magnitude?

As he deftly mixed himself a passable drink, he continued his discussion with Sareth in the same tone he might use with a valued subordinate. "Your path finding skills are excellent, operative. So tell me…are you excited about living on a starship again?"

Sareth didn't have anything against Lars, even knowing that Taylor and Lars didn't get along because Lars had been there when Taylor had gone missing. He was just a little boy and he knew his mother and how his mother always gave out second chances and he certainly didn't know the full story. All he knew was that Lars had always been nice to and that he made his aunt happy so he didn't mind him being in his home or around him one little bit.

"Mostly I just want to be with Momma again," Sareth admitted with a gentle shrug. "What about you? Are you going to be on the ship too like you were on the starbase? Are you and Aunt Megan getting married?"

He was an innocent--such questions just seemed the natural order of things.

Gently stirring vermouth and gin together, Lars nodded companionably at the boy. "I can understand that, your mother feels the same way about you. And it's exciting to be sailing amongst the stars, don't you think? But me, I'll be stuck on Earth again soon enough. Boring office stuff," he said, glossing over the particulars of his work for the sake of polite conversation.

He chuckled slightly at Sareth's other question, and glanced over at Megan. "Married? Might be a little early for that, my friend. But if it happens, I'll let you know. Or let me know, if you hear about it first." He winked at the boy, then tested the drink, smacked his lips in satisfaction and added the olives. "Not too bad," Lars commented to no one in particular. Idly he wondered what Minas and Taylor were discussing upstairs in the study, and allowed himself to imagine someone getting chewed out by their future father in law.

"So how's your grandmother's cooking?" he eventually asked Sareth with a conspiratorial grin.

"You should come to the ship too then--it would be more fun," Sareth said with a smile, Megan laughing a little and watching Lars and Sareth talk to each other.

She hadn't really thought about what was going to come next because part of her was so sure that she was going to die this time around. Sareth had been a bit worried about it too, but that was to be expected as he was a child and just assumed that he and his aunt would bite it. Now she was trying to figure out what was going to happen next and putting on a brave face and so was Sareth...but Sareth enjoyed talking to men as he never really had a father in his life and now he had Taylor and Lars was being kind too.

"Her cooking is better than Momma's--but don't tell Momma I said that." Sareth said quickly.

"Don't worry buddy. Your secret is safe with me," Lars said conspiratorially, tapping his gray Intel uniform with a gloved hand to emphasize that point. He gazed across the room to the stairs to see Lillian making her way back down, and wondered again what was being discussed up there. To try and keep from chewing his lip, he sipped his drink and tried to focus on the conversation at hand.

So, twirling the toothpick with the olives around in his fingers, he looked back down at Sareth. "So how do you feel about getting two new family members soon? A new dad and a new brother or sister, right?"

"Brother--hopefully. Momma says its too early to tell yet and even if she did know, she wouldn't tell me because Daddy doesn't want to know and I'd be too 'inclined to tell'." Sareth pouted, but he perked up when he saw his mother come over.

Lillian smiled a little bit. "You would totally tell Taylor."

She decided not to make a big deal about him calling Taylor "Daddy" for now since Taylor wasn't there--they could deal with it on their own time. Besides, Taylor was really the only father figure that Sareth could call his own because his grandfathers and his uncle didn't count, and neither did Emmett even though Emmett had tried to get back in the game there through Sareth. Still, Lillian held Sareth to her and ran her fingers through his hair as he looked up at Lars and so did she.

"It think it would be best if you sat next to Megan and Marlo and then Sareth, Taylor and I sat across from you and my parents at their heads of the table. That way you and Taylor don't have to sit next to each other." Lillian told Lars with a gentle shrug. "Dad also wants the good Bourbon, so if you could grab that and come to the table with me, I'm glad to finally get a dinner out of you like I didn't on Seven. Scoot to your chair, mister," she told Sareth after she kissed the top of his head.

When Taylor came out of the study with Minas he was laughing and smiling, his uniform perfumed by the cigar smoke that both men had been indulging on during their 'heart-to-heart' conversation. Truth be told Taylor preferred his potential in-laws to his actual family, minus Reneé his sister of course since she was golden hearted. They were a lot warmer than his parents though Leona was obviously going through the recon phase of him so Taylor expected some scrutinizing.

Once he had settled in his spot he gave a small sigh of relief being able to sit down and relax a little. "Minas where did you actually get those cigars? Probably the best I've had in years."

"Bourbon, eh?" Lars asked Lillian jovially, finishing his martini. "All right, couple of Old Fashioneds coming right up!" As he was pouring the whiskey a thought occurred to him, and instead of two drinks he made three. One he set down at Minas' place, and the other two he carried back to his place and set them down. He gave a surreptitious nod to Megan, to indicate she should pass the extra drink down the table to Taylor. It was a small gesture, but it was all Lars was willing to make at the moment.

"Just a little supplier I know--top secret Ambassador stuff," Minas told Taylor with a wink, to which Lillian rolled her eyes and laughed and sat next to him, Sareth on her other side, who had immediately started talking to Marlo, whom he hadn't seen in a while. "Thank you very much, Lars," he said as Lars handed him the drink and then he smiled at the gesture for Taylor. "Don't worry, Lars--after dinner I'll take you upstairs for a heart to heart and then you can all leave whenever you want to."

Megan blushed a bit at that and took the glass, handing it to Lillian, who handed it to Taylor and gave him a nod to let him know that she didn't mind if he had any. She didn't control him or anything and that was his choice to do so, but she also knew that this was kind of the special guests thing that her father did and she wanted Taylor to participate if he wanted to. In fact it was really good Bourbon--she'd tried it herself--but she was sworn off of alcohol since she had a little one growing inside of her right now.

"So, Marlo...thank you for coming up with the cure with me," Lillian told her with a smile on her face--Marlo had come into the house when Taylor was upstairs and Lars was with Sareth and Lillian was glad she was there.

"It was the least I could do--I love Betazoids, and Megan and Sareth are my family too...even though Megan made me be naked at your wedding. I was perfectly content in my blanket." Marlo teased taking her seat next to Leona at the one head of the table, and Lars in the middle.

She and Lilly, had spent the majority of the afternoon distributing the cure, and it was long and exhausting--all she wanted was something warm and spicy. She was still wary of Lars, but she wasn't going to destroy everyone's good time by tainting the air with her apprehension. She knew that being surrounded by Betazoids meant that they felt her apprehension, and they didn't hesitate to read her mind, but she was willing to give Lars the benefit of the doubt. She didn't know the whole story and hadn't taken the time to act. Maybe Lars was just a victim of circumstance recruited because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Who does a girl have to cure to get some hasperat around here?" Marlo said, doing her best to keep the mood jolly.

"You'll have to see, I don't know if Betazoids do spice." teased Taylor with a wink to Lillian who took the glass. He knew exactly where it came from so he placed it onto the table and just looked at Lars with something of a deathly stare. For all Taylor knew it was probably drugged or poisoned, probably part of his little popularity contest with the Craes. Either way it was against his rules. "I don't drink in uniform." he told the table while looking at Lars. He was still in his freshly made duty uniform in gleaming condition, straight from a replicator. "But I appreciate the gesture commander." he added with words that felt like bile in his mouth before erasing the occasion in his memory.

Instead he turned to Marlo and decided to seek some conversation there. "So ma'am, I take it that everyone who was feeling poorly is on their way to being fighting fit?"

"Ma'am? We were friends once you know. Everyone is fine, even little Sareth who's all the way across the table from me. I just want to hug him and Megan--we almost lost them today--and I'm not sure if I would be able to take it." Marlo said.

"Yeah then you became executive officer and we don't get much time for our sparring sessions." replied Taylor rather sullenly. He liked Marlo because she based her opinions on people rather than departments, a crime even Taylor was guilty of. It sounded like he actually missed their times of punching the crap of each other which he was.

Lars rolled his eyes and took a sip of his own drink, pointedly straightening his own uniform as he did so. Looking up at the ceiling, he spoke wearily "Well don't let such fine bourbon go to waste. Perhaps Commander Bakel would care for the refreshment? If not, pass it down here and I shall dispose of it with fitting solemnity." With those somewhat flippant words said, he mentally retreated from the pleasant conversation all around him, sullenly gazing down at his drink and brooding.

With narrowed eyes Taylor gave a small noise as if he was clearing his throat. In actual fact he was not impressed with how Lars was behaving. First it had started with an offering of a drink which Taylor thought he declined rather politely, if a little bit firmly. Now Taylor was just tired of Lars acting like some type of upper class fool sipping on fine drink. "If I was to let you dispose of it lieutenant commander, it would surely go to waste." quipped Taylor who folded his hands in front of him. "Of course my manners, if someone else other than the lieutenant commander there would like my share I'm happy to let them. I never drink in uniform it's a rule I've always stood by. I've decided to cut out the alcoholic intake in my life since my younger years are getting blurry. I'd hate to miss anything because of that now that my family is all together."

"Wow, even at dinner it's nothing but narrowed eyes and pretending to be civil," Lillian said as she set her utensils down. "We're off duty here and we don't need to use titles. You are both in my home sitting at the table with my family, who just want to get to know you better, and you're acting like children. My father just thought it would go with the meal and you're turning it into some personal attack on each other and it's not fair."

With that said, she took the Bourbon that Lars had poured that was sitting in front of Taylor and took a swig of it, pregnant or not. She was just making a point because while she knew that Taylor hadn't been serious about the poisoning bit, she was hormonal enough already and stressed from the day and they were ruining it. Family was important to her and so were the two of them and they weren't even trying and she was done trying to make them simply try.

"There, it's not poisoned." Lillian told him, feeling exhausted and upset. "I have had a very long, very stressful day and the two of you can't stop narrowing your eyes at each other and rolling them and making flippant remarks and I am at my wit's end. If you hate each other so much, don't even talk to each other. Excuse me, Dad, I need to take a breather."

When Lillian got up to leave the table and head out to the balcony, Megan very slowly reached for the glass by Taylor in the silence and pulled it toward her. She knew that Lillian was in a mood and she just wanted to keep eating and try and make things merry once again since Lillian had certainly just exploded. Whatever was wrong between Lars and Taylor wasn't an easy fix and she didn't want to deal with it.

"I'm just gonna...drink this..." Megan said with a nod, deciding to change the subject. "Good choice, Dad. Also, Mom--excellent stew. What kind of meat did you use?"

Marlo wasn't the biggest alcohol consumer, but she had watched it being made, and was going to drink it, just to ease the tension she could feel even without being a Betazoid...tension which she was contributing to a little without meaning to.

"It's so good to see you all again! Though I wish it was under better circumstances like Lilly's second wedding or something, but there are some things we can't control, right? I haven't seen Leonard at all this trip. Do you think he'll come to see us off?" Marlo asked, looking around the table.

She wanted to go drag Lillian back in by her ear, but she needed space, so Marlo let her have it, hoping no one else tried to go after her...because they might come back with a black eye...K'nok had once.

Marines had a saying; don't pet a burning dog. This time Lillian was the burning dog and it took every ounce of discipline to not rise from the table and come calling to her on the balcony. He had no intention of petting it or even getting near it. She was mad and rightly so and somehow 'he started it' wasn't going to help the situation. "It could have been poisoned." he huffed barely under his breath like a child might say when he thinks his mother is just out of earshot.

From down the table Lars did his best to look contrite. He disliked upsetting Lillian even if it did make Taylor look bad, and the implications of how anti-social this social gathering was turning out made him frown. Gulping his drink, the same drink that had caused some much animosity, he tried to think of a solution but continually drew a blank as to what to say.

Then it hit him. He turned to the table, grinning and gesturing with his drink. "So did I ever tell you all about the time on Starbase 7 when Lillian was CMO and I went in for a checkup? So she does a full exam, runs the tests, consults with Dr. Stone and everything, but still comes back to me with a perplexed look on her face. 'Lars,' she says to me, 'I can't find any reason for your stomach pains. Frankly, I think it must be due to drinking."

He paused for effect, chuckling already at his own wit. "So I say to her, 'Well, Doctor, in that case I'll come back when you're sober!" After that he could only sit back and wait for the effect of the joke, and remembered too late that his jokes had never been too popular in the first place.

"That's rather riveting." said Taylor who was blatantly lying through his teeth without worrying about covering it up. "However I distinctly remember you claiming you were medically exempt from check ups. Something you mentioned during us talking about that psychotropic compound? I assume of course this is a fictional story because you seem to be talking about it as if you weren't exempt at all?"

Another point about Taylor not being drunk was that he possessed his treasonous memory that usually faulted people if they got events wrong. Usually it was just minor things and for a joke but he wanted to know if Lars disobeyed the order for medical scans and thereby sure he wasn't under the influence when he ordered his men to butcher people in the promenade or not. Somehow Taylor thought that no one was medically exempt from any scans. If the captain had to do it, so did the CIO.

Lars smiled pleasantly, this time not addressing Taylor not like a child but rather an alien who was unfamiliar with the concept of humor. "Yes Colonel, a fictional story. Humans often use a fictional anecdote as the setup to a joke, a comical arrangement of words designed to produce a positive reaction due to their order or unexpected conclusion…as a means of facilitating social interaction," he said, stressing that last part.

"I am simply permitted to receive medical attention from a physician of my choosing. And as I recall, general medical scans were not much use in locating that particular compound. That's why you and the away team were able to bring it back with you from that freighter to infect the station," he said through a smile full of gritted teeth now. Two could play this game.

"After all, the way I hear it our delightful CMO at the time gave you several thorough scans in the runabout's sickbay and she didn't come up with anything. Of course, I don't know exactly what sort of tests she was running on you then." Lars offered that comment with what would hopefully be taken as naivety by everyone but Taylor, who would likely detect the smug sarcasm in the message. He made a mental note to thank the person who had provided him with that little nugget of information if the two of them ever crossed paths again.

"But let's not waste this fine meal discussing ancient history. Tell me, Ambassador. What do you think about the latest round of treaty negotiations with the Klingon Empire?" Lars asked Minas, gesturing respectfully with his drink.

"Oh it's simple lieutenant commander, she wasn't running scans. We were shagging." replied Taylor who itched under his cybernetic eye as if ignoring the social faux pas of mentioning intercourse at a dinner table. However he bet that he knew a lot more about Betazoids than Lars did. There were no taboo subjects amongst those who had solid black eyes. If anything such talk was encouraged as it bred a feeling of trust and understanding. Not to mention a lack of awkward silences. "Actually on the subject of the more physical aspects of life Ensign Pena gave me a comm chime on the way here. She wanted to report you for unwanted sexual advances. Apparently you were giving her the chance to exchange bedroom favours for advancement or preferential treatment inside the Intel chain of command. Your wandering eyes did little to ease her. At least that's what she said. Of course I'll have to raise her concerns with the higher ups."

Smiling at himself he turned to Minas and indulged in the subject of diplomacy. Unlike most marine officers he dabbled in other fields to keep himself updated with everything going on. "I hear the Klingons have been pushing on the Cardassian government, trying to take advantage of their post-war state. Since they Dominion War they've become more aggressive in their diplomatic efforts."

Lillian hadn't been unaware of the conversation that was happening and all Megan was doing was sipping the Bourbon and letting it all happen. Leona and Minas were just observing the two and figuring out more about them while Marlo reached over the table to cover Sareth's ears so the five year old wouldn't have to hear such things since his mother was out of the room. When she realized that her little speech and storm off had done absolutely nothing, however, Lillian returned to the table and thanked Marlo, who returned to her food instead of her protection of the five year-old.

"I don't care what happened before," Lillian told Lars and Taylor, looking at them both. "It was the past and the past is over, let it lay to rest. I came home to hear about my family and Megan's new job and Dad's new piece of artwork and what Sareth's been up to while I've been getting a ship ready for his arrival and I think we'd all like to know what you two have been up to since Megan has missed Lars immensely and my parents need to know my future husband, but no more fighting. I'm serious. This is going to be pleasant, so don't talk to each other and no sarcastic comments, keep them to yourself. We are going to have a nice family dinner and if that doesn't happen for me, I will personally beat both of you up. We clear? Good. So, Dad, where did you get the new statue?"


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