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EPI: S [D05|1500] Comfort Amidst Chaos

Epilogue: Supplemental [ Day 05 | 1500 hrs. ] Comfort Amidst Chaos

[ PO1 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Captain's Quarters | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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For an insane suicide mission, the first few hours of the Allegiant's proved strangely boring for Lillee at the helm. The challenges of navigating the Azure Nebula were considerable, but it wasn't long before they became simply tedious, much like any other shift at a spaceship's helm. There was the very real danger of stumbling across same dangerous enemy, whether it be the Asuran saucers or the Savi dreadnought or the immense Borg cube that had crippled the Cayuga, but there was only so long that the Allegiant crew could stay worried. The more hours that passed, the more settled they became, and the less that they jumped at every sensor shadow. There was only so long that a person could stay afraid before even fear itself became dull.

Finally, upon finishing her shift and yielding the helm to her relief for a few hours, Lillee stood up and stretched languidly on the Bridge. Smiling pleasantly at her comrades, she ambled lightly out into the corridor, half wondering what to do before it was her turn again. Odd as it was, despite having woken up a week prior aboard the Theurgy, Lillee realised that she now felt...peaceful. Calm. There was no confusion, fear or fury as she had borne back onboard the dreadnought. Now, onboard the tiny corvette set for an insanely dangerous mission, she was content.

Still, as Lillee passed the captain's quarters, she paused, deep in thought. The human, Yukimura, was a stranger, but she reflected that this was true for all her supposed 'shipmates'. And during the bizarre business with the crew of the Cayuga, he did appear to act professionally, albeit without flair. A perfectly ordinary, dull Starfleet officer in all likelihood. But he could perhaps provide answers, and Lillee knew that it could be a while before they got another break in the fighting for the indulgence of a social conversation. In the five years since the end of the Dominion War, she hadn't been caught in battle even once, but in only a brief time aboard the Theurgy, she'd been caught in three separate engagements.

So, with a sigh and a weary smile, Lillee reached behind her head and untied her ponytail, allowing her long blonde hair to fall naturally in a far more comfortable fashion. Then she tapped the chime to the captain's quarters, hoping that the human was awake, as she thought that he would be.

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #1
[ Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura | CO's Quarters | Deck 02 | USS Allegiant ]
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As the Allegiant's current Commanding Officer, Masuda had taken the moderate privilege of staying in the quarters designated to the person in that role. Yet he had not chosen to do so out of some kind of entitlement, much less for the sake of comfort, but for the privacy, in which he could work undisturbed on the research he'd done on the Borg. Old research, before the years on the Black Opal, and he could barely remember half of the material he'd generated. Thus, his work consisted of a lot of reading, and making new notes, to replace those lost.

This was how the chime on his door found him, his jacket shed and yet still wearing his red undershirt with hiked up sleeves - at work by the computer console. Masuda had no idea who had come to visit him, but he closed the oomputer console and rose to his feet. "Enter."

The computer recognised the command, and the sliding doors parted for Petty Officer Lillee t'Jellaieu, this blond Romulan that had been at the helm for the better part of the day. It had to mean Mektari Dumral was at the helm instead, an the woman who'd come to him had some free time before her next shift. Since they only had two CONN officers, the shift rotations were tight, but Masuda hoped the Petty Officer didn't mind. Perhaps that was why she'd come?

"Petty Officer," he greeted with a smile and inclined his head to her. He put his hands on his hips and regarded her as she entered. "I realise you have not flown this ship before - nor have officer Dumral - but I have been told that the Allegiant shouldn't be too hard to pilot. The helm controls should be familiar enough."

Pausing, Masuda remembered his manners, and gestured for the Romulan to sit. "Would you like something to eat or drink? I do realise you wouldn't have come to just make small-talk." As much as Masuda wanted to return to his research, he'd served as XO on the Black Opal for a long time. He'd readily set aside time for those under his command. The woman was very beautiful as well, and even if that didn't factor into his decision in any way, who couldn't notice?

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #2
[ PO1 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Captain's Quarters | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Graciously accepting the captain's offer to sit, Lillee smiled in response. "My thanks, Captain. Should you be able, I would welcome some tea since I just finished my shift. Rihannsu esslin'thai tea should it be programmed into your replicator, Terran hōji-cha tea if not." Pausing, she continued conversationally, "As to your question, sir, the Allegiant is a lovely vessel. Her engines are very hearty for a craft of her size, but her responsiveness to commands is sublime. Such excellent manoeuvrability can be difficult to account for during normal flight, much like an overeager stallion upon a field, but should we have need to engage or evade the Borg, I feel that the Allegiant will perform admirably."

Another pause followed, with Lillee folding her hands upon one another, her eyes fixed on Masuda's with fierceness that belied her tone, as her smile faded. "You are correct in your assertion. I did not come for small talk. I came because I have heard that you are not, at least originally, one of the Theurgy's crew, yet you have come to believe in their cause, even fight for it. If so, I would ask you a very direct question."

She paused again, the smile now completely gone, now replaced with a frown of powerful intensity. "Why."

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura | CO's Quarters | Deck 02 | USS Allegiant ]
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When asked for tea, Yukimura walked over to the replicator to get it for her. The first option of hers wasn't available, but the second one was. He made it for her, and then got some tieguanyin tea for himself, which was somewhere between green and black tea taste-wise, but yellow in color. He scented the fresh, floral aroma while he made his way to the sitting area with a cup of tea in each hand.

Soon whilst seated at a 90 degree angle from her on the couch, he was listening to the Romulan asking her quesion. He sipped his tea while she spoke, the fruity, berry-like sweetness reminding him still of the gardens he missed. Yet the question posed kept him from dwelling on the oolong tea leaves honey aftertaste, or the appreciation of the Romulan in his company - since he'd never seen any attractive woman of her species before - instead having him think back on the Black Opal and what had transpired there that fateful morning.

"I don't know what you've read," he said quietly, "or perhaps that's the very reason you came and asked, but after the Theurgy conducted a non-lethal take-over of the base, a Romulan warbird came to the Black Opal. They had been given the coordinates to the Black Opal somehow, since it was a top secret weapons research facility and a supply depot in the instance of a new Romulan war. That the Romulans would dare venture so far into Federation space and attack the base did suggest that someone in Starfleet were working with Donatra and her rebel fleet. Why not the Theurgy?"

Yukimura sipped his tea again. "Because the Theurgy did not just defend the staff on the Black Opal from the Romulans. Captain Ives attacked that Romulan ship, and sent it limping back towards the RNZ. It proved to us that Ives could not be colluding with the Romulans, and that someone else were. Then, as you also have seen, there are the recordings of Sonja Acreth to explain the nature of the threat to the Federation. Then you have the tactical logs, the evidence about the Calamity and the Reaver in the fighter bay. The circumstantial evidence is considerate."

Putting the tea down on the table, he simply added, "Yet for me, it was how Ives proved to us that Starfleet Command was lying about the Theurgy and it's Captain being in league with your species. Seeing that Romulan ship appear, knowing where the Black Opal was despite how they shouldn't, and then nearly get destroyed at the hands of Ives... that's why I am here, believing that a battle ought to be fought from the truthful, righteous side of the battlefield."

Having said this, Masuda tilted his head. "Why asking? Do you feel doubt towards something you've seen since you were thawed?"

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #4
[ PO1 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Captain's Quarters | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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"Doubt?" Lillee laughed mirthlessly, shaking her head. "Oh my dear man, are you so used to being a hero that you have become immune to it all? Do you not know that at this moment, we stand on the brink of the annihilation of everything and everyone that we hold dear? The Borg and those parasites stand to destroy everything. Everything. Every world, every city, every home, everyone we've ever known and loved. Federation, Romulan, Klingon...we all stand on the precipice of annihilation. And yet here you are. Drinking tea with your pilot, ready to leap into the maw of oblivion for even the tiniest hope of saving our loved ones. As if it were any other day. As if there was never any choice."

She sighed, smiling ruefully as she sipped her tea, her brown eyes focused down on the deck. After a moment, her eyes flicked back up to meet Masuda's. He was, she realised, a rather endearing man like this. His jacket off, his sleeves rolled up, but still remarkably patient and kind. A good captain. So very different to Jiang, Lillee's first husband, who had been so daring, so bold, to brash. But instinctively, she recognised the same fundamental light in this stranger's spirit. He was unknown, yes, but still, Lillee trusted her senses. This was a good man.

"I do not truly doubt that the parasite threat exists," Lillee said softly. "I do not entirely trust that, either, as only a fool trusts so completely. But you misconstrue my question. I do not ask why you, the Starfleet officer, choose to fight. I ask why you, Masuda Yukimura, choose to fight. War has its price, and I seek to know why a good man such as yourself would be willing to pay it. My price is my children, and so too are they my reason for fighting. They may never see their mother again, yet I will rip the guts out of a thousand evil foes to ensure that my children live to grow up hale and hearty. But what of you? Why?"

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #5
[ Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura | CO's Quarters | Deck 02 | USS Allegiant ]
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When she spoke, Masuda wasn't sure if there was reproach in her tone at first, but learned quite quickly that the Romulan meant nothing untoward with it. He found himself chuckling, leaning back in his seat a bit, and looking more directly at her - his tea cooling on the table.

She made a distinction that almost caught him unawares, casting how he'd misunderstood her question into light. Well, to be fair, he felt that the question was rather open, but he smiled quietly and nodded when she explained what she'd meant. Her price being her children, he turned introspective for a moment, realising that the answer was twofold for him.

"Why I fight," he said quietly, and looked towards his hands, marked as they were from hard work in the gardens on Jouret IV. The colony was his reason, but not in terms of protection. "This would be the time to answer, I suppose, since currently, it is not just Starfleet Command that we are fighting against. For on my part... I spent a long time researching the Borg. To find the means of defeating them. Because I... suffered losses at their hands. While I am a Tactical officer, I delved deep into this enemy through Starfleet Science."

Having said as much, he might just add the obvious, the smile having faded on his features. He had a distant look, staring beyond the bulkheads of the quarters whilst he spoke. "I suppose I have come to fight for others to not feel the same as I felt, after having lost my entire home town to the Collective. I have been taught to take care of myself, to stay physically fit. Some might say it an obsession at this point. I had begun a long run, with a backpack full of stones, honing both strength and stamina. I was five miles away when the Borg destroyed the colony. Luckily, I had no technology on me at the time, so they did not detect me. By the time I got back, the colony was nothing but a hole in the ground and the Borg cube was gone. I was left with nothing. Everything wiped out."

It was the first time he spoke of it to someone that wasn't a counselor, and it was quite a relief, actually, to air his thoughts. "If you think about it, the Hosts who have been turned by the parasites, there are similarities to how the Borg assimilates their victims. This is why I fight both equally... even though I am better schooled for the Borg threat. I abhor the way in which people are stripped of their minds, and rendered into mindless slaves of little consequence."

Having said this, Masuda reached for his tea, and grimaced since it had gone a bit too cold. The bitter taste became a reason to chuckle and shake his head anew, and he looked back towards t'Jellaieu. "My condolences about your children being without their mother. If they only knew your sacrifice, they would be proud. Already, you have proven yourself an excellent officer, and because you fight for your children, you are also an honourable woman."

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #6
[ PO1 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Captain's Quarters | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Lillee laughed, shaking her head ruefully. "You are much too kind, Captain, and so very human to praise so freely. As much as I miss my kin, I do adore you humans for your naivety and optimism. It is so very sweet." The Romulan pilot nursed her tea, still smiling. "It is just as well that the Asurans arrived during our meeting with Captain Zeigler. I fear that with our capacity for deception, the endeavour was doomed to fail regardless. We were such awful liars."

Then she looked up at Yukimura, a subtly enigmatic glint in the meek way she looked at him. "Have you given any thought to our fate? If we should return to Earth triumphant, having vanquished the parasites and secured our redemption...what then shall become of us? If I understand the past few months, we are the most reviled and hated traitors in Federation history. Murderers, one and all. Our friends and family likely think us deranged. Even if all goes well, our lives shall never be the same again."

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #7
[ Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura | CO's Quarters | Deck 02 | USS Allegiant ]
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Of course, like so many other officers on the Theurgy, Yukimura had given the future some thought, yet he might not have something worthwhile to say beyond the obvious.

"I think it's no greater use to speculate, since we can't do much about the outcome lest we prevail," he said quietly, picking up his tea. "Should we fail, it would be the least of our concerns, yet if we do accomplish our mission - as you say - I do have faith in a restored Starfleet Command to see the merits of our actions, the cost of our duty, and the case for our innocence. Regardless the outcome in that regard... I do not think we can swear off the guilt in the eyes of all the orphans or childless out there. They will always judge us for what we did to the people they loved. It is a guilt we will have to live with, I am afraid. If I may, I will seek to make amends, as best as I might."

Then, he chose to comment on what t'Jellaieu had said about the ruse to impersonate officers from the Jamestown. It made him chuckle a bit. "Aye, it may not have been the best idea, but at least it worked out in the end. It would, however, have been better without the loss of lives at the hands of the Asurians. Without the interruption, who knows, we might even have been quite successful."

Yukimura had caught the glint in her eyes when she looked at him, and he was not entirely sure how to interpret it. He did not know many Romulans, much less one from the border worlds, far away from Romulus. Did she seek something more from him? Something... a bit more unorthodox?

"Was that all, Lieutenant?" he asked quietly, remaining where he was, unsure how to reciprocate the attentiveness of her stare. "Or was it something... else you wanted?"

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #8
[ PO1 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Captain's Quarters | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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There was something about the man's tone that gave Lillee disquiet in a way she couldn't quite settle. Her stomach lurched in an oddly pleasant sensation, and she smiled bashfully as she lowered her eyes back to his tea. She was old enough and wise enough to know the stirrings of fear-sparked passions when they arose, and the complications that could arise...but oh, she was tempted.

Was that why she had truly come? To find relief in a like-minded soul on the eve of the apocalypse? Lillee hadn't indulged in such matters for over a year now, the twins having occupied so much of her time and energy, but the flesh was a hungry sort that would not be denied. They were alone. They had time. The human was strong, virile, at the height of his physical powers, and so unquestionably fascinating. His olive skin was almost Romulan in its complexion, like the core worlds, but had that exotic tinge of Terran. There was that intelligent spark in his eye that so many other men and women lacked. Lillee clutched her cup, feeling the old heat in her bones, her stomach growing more and more unsettled, her smile growing.

Leave. Now.

"I shall not occupy any more of your time, Captain," Lillee said as she stood, placing her empty cup aside. "You have answered my questions and soothed my worries more than I would've hoped. I should really go have a shower and get my sleep before I must return to work, although if time permits, I would welcome your company once more. My thanks for the tea."

With that, she swiftly made for the door, opening it instantly with her hand, but she paused her haste in the doorway, favouring the human with one more enigmatic smile, her eyes alight with undecipherable fire. "Until next time, Masuda Yukimura."

Re: Epilogue: Supplemental | Day 05 | 1500 | Comfort Amidst Chaos

Reply #9
[ Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura | CO's Quarters | Deck 02 | USS Allegiant ]
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It wasn't entirely plain, what was going on behind the Romulan's eyes.

For a moment, Yukimura thought she had some kind of proposition in mind. Perhaps even a confession as to the real purpose of her visit. Masuda did not quite know how to reciprocate that smile she gave him, but it suggested that there might be something more. Something unsaid. As for him, the suspense and the anticipation for the answer got to him, and he began to think in similar ways, finding his eyes leaving hers for a few moments, to roam across her seated from.

Yet then she rose to her feet, and whatever spell had settled over the quarters lifted. A gentleman, Masuda rose as well, smoothing the front of his undershirt - as if self-conscious about whatever had just passed between them. He followed her with his brown eyes as she made for the door, and heard her say good bye. Or rather, she didn't. She was making a suggestion for the future, and Masuda didn't quite know how to phrase his reply. Nor could he help the small smile that touched his lips, the promise getting to him.

"Until next time, Lillee t'Jellaieu."

Since she used his full name, so did he, oblivious as to if there was any significance to it for the Romulan.

A shower did seem like a good idea, and not necessarily a warm one.

- FIN

 
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