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Someone's Looking For You

Posted on Thu Jul 9th, 2015 @ 1:49pm by Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele & Commander Mercia Kavi
Edited on on Wed Oct 21st, 2015 @ 7:44am

Mission: Heart of Stele
Location: USS Gladiator
Timeline: After "Diamond in the Rough" (Spys of the Banting) and "I Fought the Law" (Discovery)


After the covert operation into the Neutral Zone, the only thing that Vanora wanted to do was get back to her quarters, take a long, hot shower, and a very long nap. So even though she was always happy to see her best friend, the lieutenant commander knew that the XO waiting for her in the shuttle bay was a sign that she would not be headed to that shower. At least not right away. "Missed me?" she asked Mercia as she exited one of the shuttles that had carried the Gladiator Away Team back from the USS Banting.

Mercia gave her a playful flirty grin, "of course baby I cant live with out you!" She joked and hooked her arm with Vanora's. "Did you find what you were looking for?" She asked as they headed in to the hall way.

"Yes. It wasn't what I expected. Anna and I need to loop you in, but... we need to do it discreetly." Vanora looked around at the various crew in the shuttle bay. "Later. But you were waiting for me. To what do I owe this great honor?"

"Oh I do love a good intrigue." Mercia grinned. "So you missed some excitement while you were gone. That Sidwell fella, he had a bounty hunter after him. One who thought it was genius to sneak on the ship, rather than make contact with us."

Vanora shook her head. "I knew that Sid was trouble from the moment we saw him. But it's not like we had a lot of choices back on that planet. What did the bounty hunter want with him? Actually, scratch that, why did the bounty hunter sneak aboard and not just tell us we had a fugitive on our ship that needed to be arrested?"

"See I wondered that myself." Mercia grumbled. "Makes me think he's not totally on the level, but here is the interesting thing for you... He's Molai" she said waggling her eye brows.

"Molai?" Vanora's eyes went wide. It was a name she hadn't heard for a very long time. Not since she had left Elas in her teenage years. "I haven't thought about them in ages. I haven't run across a single one in all my time in space. I wonder how he ended up this far from home? If I remember correctly, they are very attached to their home system as a people. Leaving would be unheard of." She caught her thoughts drifting off and came back to the present. "I suppose you think I should meet him," she said, with some hesitation in her voice.

Mercia shrugged, "well... why not?" She asked. "He seemed rather interested when your name was mentioned. I think such things are kind of interesting, and you know more about his kind than anyone else. You might provide a unique perspective about him." She said. "He was talking about taking the amnesty deal, and I know nothing about it." Mercia said as she paused in front of the lift and let Vanora's arm go so sue could hit the call button.

"I know... a little," Vanora admitted as the turbolift began to move. "But honestly, I didn't realize there was an amnesty. Computer, halt turbolift," she said, turning to face Mercia. "You... do realize what the rebellion was about, right? I'm not quizzing you, I just... don't want you to think badly of me. Because of the situation that he was a part of. Or, I guess, that I was a part of, too."

Mercia frowned as she turned to her friend. "Ill be honest Vee, I don't know much, not enough to be sure what you're worried about..." she blushed, "I suppose that makes me a poor friend..."

"No," the Elasian woman shook her head. "Not a poor friend. That just makes you an average Federation citizen. And actually you have more of an excuse than most, being as how you grew up. You know that I am from Elas, my mother is Elasian, a great tribal chief and all that. I realize I don't talk much about Elas, but you know that we're a warrior race, which is enough for most. You might also know that we were at war with our neighbors, the Troyians, for a very long time, until a political marriage between our leaders created a tentative peace." Vanora sighed. "This is taking too long. Long story short, warriors need to fight. Years before the peace treaty, Elasians, Troyians, Klingons, even the Federation discovered a planet in a system long thought to be uninhabited. It was a Class K planet hidden behind an asteroid belt with peculiar properties that interfered with scanners for a long time. Turned out people had been living there for around two millennia. The Molai. The system was rich in minerals, and the Elaisans... I mean, we, wanted them, to fuel the war machine. So... we just took it."

"So your People just displaced His people to fuel a war? " Mercia asked "That does not Put your people in a very good light... " She grumbled . "Do you think your people were right?" Marcia leaned against the wall and watched her friend , she did not think Less of her Bet maybe less of her people.

"Of course it isn't right!" Vanora exploded for a moment, before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry, it's just something I find very upsetting. We don't choose our parents, but we're sometimes still responsible for their sins." She frowned, remembering Mercia's own childhood. "I'm being really insensitive right now."

Mercia shrugged. "I'm fine, keep talking..."

"The thing is, Elasians didn't displace the Molai. We occupied them. We convinced everyone else that the system was pretty much uninhabited and that we were making it productive, bringing development and technology. And we renamed their planet, New Elas. And because both the Federation and Klingon Empire wanted the dilithium that we had on Elas, they both bought into our story. And it's been that way for 150 years, even after we gained Federation membership."

"So they still are technically occupied?" Mercia asked. She shook her head "It's not your doing," she assured her. "So what is this amnesty deal?" She glanced at the door. "Do you want to come to my place for a drink?" she offered.

"Thank for saying that. And, yes, I would like several drinks," Vanora smiled at the offer. "But if I'm going to meet a Molai bounty hunter, I should probably be sober. For both our sakes. Computer, resume turbolift," she said before continuing. "New Elas is not technically occupied. New Elas is technically a part of Elas, and thus a part of the Federation. That's what Elasians keep saying, and the Federation agrees. As for the amnesty, this is the first I've heard of it, but I know what it's for.

"Before I was born, about forty years ago, a group of Molai started what they called a resistance against the occupation. The KDM... it's a Molai abbreviation. Elas called them terrorists. I suppose that's true everywhere, it was the same with the Maquis, right? But they definitely committed acts of terrorism. They killed a lot of people, a lot of Molai too and then later Starfleet officers, not just Elasians. But when I was growing up, we were all told that they were evil, terrorists, who wanted to return New Elas into a backwards farmland and wanted to destroy everything we had built there. They were bad guys, we were good guys. So it didn't matter that the Timariot--that's the feudal army of Elas, where the girls and boys who can't make into Starfleet go--it didn't matter that they were killing at lot of Molai too. That's what everyone kept telling us. And the whole thing was an embarrassment for the Federation, so it did everything it could to keep this out of the Federation News Service. My brother Neil told me that the KDM was wiped out completely four years ago, and things have gone back to how they were before. Except with a lot of people having died for nothing.

"My siblings and I were lucky, though; we had our father. My Human, anthropologist, life-loving father, who made sure we knew Federation values as well as Elasian ones, and tried to teach us the truth about what was going on over there. Anyway, I got out of there as fast as I could. So did my oldest brother, and my two younger siblings. My father never got through to the other two; Helen is heir to the chiefdom, and would never give that up, and Ajax..." she trailed off, looking sadder than she had ever looked. "This was one of the reasons I left. The truth is, I'm proud to be Elasian, proud of my people and our heritage. But this isn't anything to be proud of." She looked at Mercia, feeling ashamed. "You're only the second person I've told about this."

Mercia led her out of the lift, "It's hard to be proud of your people when they were fools. But I guess in someway I understand. I've struggled between loving and hating Tamar... my mother and my master." She said. "He was my father in so many ways. The first one. How can I love that man and miss him when I hate slave owners?" She asked. She paused in front of her door and entered the code. After checking that David wasn't home she led Vanora in and replicated some non alcoholic drinks for them. The women sat on the couch and Mercia met Vanora's eyes, "You are right to be proud of your people Vee, they made you someone worth being proud of. I don't think you have to agree with your culture's faults to be proud to be a part of the positives."

Vanora winced slightly at the comparison between her people and slaveholders, but it was more of a wince of acknowledgment than of taking offense. "You know what I was thinking the whole time I was on the Banting and in the Neutral Zone? I was thinking about Cherth. The way the Overlords treated them, it wasn't lost on me. Elasians have trapped the Molai, too. It isn't the same, it's not slavery. Elas doesn't force the Molai to work for them and we have laws, Federation laws..." she trailed off, not fully believing her own words anymore.

Mercia Snorted "If Federation Laws worked everywhere I never weld have Been a Slave " She said. "I hear about old grudges and wars Brewing under the Surface all the time. we may have roles and less infighting But things are not as peachy as pclctcions Would want you to believe. The Hope is we will Commentate and speak as Civilized people "

Vanora took a long drink of the synthale. Even though it had no alcoholic effects, she felt better having it. "I've never had a conversation with a Molai, never in my life," she admitted. "The only time I remember seeing them was when I was very young. The Augusta Timariot had a big parade. They looked stunning, the tall and strong beautiful women and men, marching in their practically shining polished leather armor and glistening spears. We had the best seats, of course, from the Chieftain's viewing platform. My mother just stood there, looking proud as always and saluting as the troops went by. Helen stood next to her do her best to mimic mother. And my father did the best he could to keep the other children in line--there were just four of us then--and explain to us what was going on. Honestly, mostly he was explaining to me; Neil had been to these before and had his nose stuck in a PADD, and Ajax just wanted to run off and march alongside the Timariot like the other children were, pretending they were warriors of Elas." She rubbed the glass between her palms. "And then the last of the Timariot passed, and my brother Ajax, he just took off and ran after the other kids, and my father took off after him. And I thought the parade was over because the rest of the tribe all started talking and standing up and stretching. But my mother just stood there, looking very serious, and then I noticed that there were more troops coming down the road.

"They weren't Timariot, and they weren't Augusta or even Elasian, I could tell that right away. They didn't wear shiny leather armor, or carry spears, and they didn't look particularly proud to be there, even though they marched in perfect time. They seemed to me, as a child, these giants, these massive muscled creatures covered in tattoos. They wore these leotards, some were green and others blue or yellow, and they all had what I thought were these ridiculous gold-colored hats on. My brother Neil told me who they were. Janissaries. Molai men and women conscripted from New Elas to serve the Timariot when they went off to war. They didn't look particularly miserable, they just looked like." Vanora paused. "Lysia. This Cherthan woman, a leader on the Harzon Council. She always had this look on her face that seemed resigned, that this was her lot in life and this was what she had to do."

"I read about her in the reports. . . My Mother had the same look sometimes " Mercia said softy. "So what did every one do as that group got closer?" She asked before taking a long drink from her glass. Clearly this history of her people bothered her deeply. "It Sounds like your mother intended to pay them some respect."

Vanora looked up at her friend. "They did nothing, Mercia. They just kept chatting, as if they were waiting for permission to leave. But none of them were watching the Janissaries. They were acting like they didn't exist, as if there was nothing to look at. I think, maybe, only my mother, Helen, and I were watching them as they marched past. There were as many of them as there were Timariot, but it only took half the time; they marched quickly and there was no waiving, no preening, no bathing in the adulation of the crowd. Well, except Helen," she corrected herself. "My sister didn't understand yet, and she had been trying so hard to imitate mother the whole parade, she was still in autopilot, and she smiled and waived at the Molai the whole time. My mother never even noticed, she didn't look at any of us until the parade was over."

"That is pretty sick." Mercia grunted. Her cynicism rose up "being treated in such ways... no wonder they rebelled. I likely would have been a part of that group truth be told." She sighed, "I'm sorry Vee, I honestly thought you'd want to meet someone connected to your home world. I had no idea this would be painful," she said. Mercia finished off her drink and looked at the glass, "You can skip it and I'll get us real drinks. Me and David keep good stuff here." She winked trying to lighten Vanora's mood. "Then you can go jump Big Blue and have a good night," she teased as she waggled her eye brows.

Vanora laughed politely at Mercia's effort to brighten her spirit. "I appreciate it, and you are really quite the temptress, Mercia. But, it's something I have to do. I think you'd feel the same way if someone from your past showed up, uncomfortable as it was to see them."

Mercia grumbled, "Yeah probably." she said.

"Let's get this over with, then, and find out what the deal is with our Molai guest. And then," she promised, "we will hit the good stuff."

"Now that sounds like a plan!"

To Be Continued...


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