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Subspace Love Lines

Posted on Tue Oct 20th, 2015 @ 3:12pm by Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele & Commander Khelev ch'Koro [Halan]
Edited on on Wed Oct 21st, 2015 @ 7:46am

Mission: Heart of Stele
Location: Stolen Razor Interceptor, Somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant
Timeline: After "Regret" and "Backlash"

ON:

It was time. Vanora had put this off too long already. She checked the heading, velocity, and key system indicators at the pilot's console, and finding that everything looked nominal, slowly spun her chair around, stood, and shifted herself to the navigator's seat. She flipped on the viewscreen and pressed a quick shortcut command into the entry panel.

"Computer, create a secure subspace communication channel. Use rotating encryption algorithm as follows," she ordered as she quickly typed a string of characters into the system. It wasn't foolproof, but it wasn't like she was hiding from Starfleet Intelligence. Her concern at the moment was to provide for a modicum of privacy, and to avoid the prying and justifiably curious gaze of others who she also probably owed a call. But this one was overdue, and the most difficult. A feeling of weariness, even heavier than before, settled on her head, neck, and shoulders, causing her to visibly slump.

"Subspace channel with specified security measures ready," the computer's female voice announced. "Please specify receiver of channel."

With a deep sigh, followed by a deeper intake of air, she straightened herself up. "Bounce the channel off of Starfleet subspace amplifier two-alpha-twenty-five, and connect to the living quarters of Commander Khelev ch'Koro, USS Gladiator." The call would appear to whoever on the Gladiator was monitoring incoming messages, probably Ensign Wong, a standard personal call, and Ops protocol would be to respect privacy and let it go through without any monitoring.

Khelev was taking a moment to kick his feet up and unwind a bit when the call came into his personal terminal. He watched the screen with some curiosity for a moment before he leaned forward and tapped the command to accept it. When Vanora's face popped on the screen he felt a mix of emotions, more then he thought he'd feel.

"What do you want?" Khelev asked, his antenna flicking at the air a bit. "I wasn't expecting you to call."

Vanora was expecting Khelev to be angry at her. Furious even. His passion was one of his most attractive traits. But she had not expected such a frosty greeting. "You should have. Expected me to call," she said softly. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't speak to you before I left. It was... it's all very confusing."

"You're telling me," Khelev replied quickly, he wanted to stay angry with her. She had just taken off without even talking to him, it was dangerous and it could mean finding her husband alive. His expression softened somewhat and he looked at the screen. "I could have helped, you might need it."

"The help I need is probably the kind I'd get from Lizzy," she said with a small shake of the head. "I know that you would help. I know you would do anything that I asked. I think... I think that was what I was afraid of. That's why I didn't ask you. I have no idea what will happen when I get to the Tellun system. It could be bad. I've ruined enough lives for a lifetime, and yours matters to me more than most of those combined. I'm not about to bring you down with me."

"I wouldn't do anything you asked," Khelev gave her a measured look, he was still really angry with her. "And it's my life, if I make the choice to follow you into battle, it's my choice. Now, what do you need when you get to the Tellun system? I can make sure it's there waiting for you."

Vanora smiled sadly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply... thank you," she pivoted, "for caring and wanting to help. To be honest, I have no idea what I will need when I get there. I don't know what I'm going to find." She bit her lip and breathed deeply. There was no sterilizing program on this interceptor, so crying was not an option. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry." Finding words felt very difficult at the moment, and all the imagining of how this call with Khelev would go seemed to have vanished into thin air.

"A warrior doesn't apologize, a warrior does what needs to be done. If the rolls were swapped I might do the same thing," Khelev admitted begrudgingly. "If he's alive, no matter what has happened, he is still your husband. Now, if you don't know what you need I'll send you as much as I can. It might annoy the owner, but you can't use that ship to leave. It'll be logged and they'll be able to find you a lot faster. I'll see if there are any ships I know in the area and try and get you passage out of the system quietly."

Vanora mentally smacked herself on the head for her carelessness. Of course Starfleet would already be looking for this ship; they probably were even before she commandeered it, as Kanoa had stolen it himself years ago. She asked her next question with a careful tone, not wanting to insult her closest friends. "Have my actions been logged and reported to Starfleet yet?"

"No, but we're only going to be able to say our Chief of Ops is sick for so long before someone get's suspicious," Khelev answered her.

"You should report me," Vanora said, though strained in forcing herself to do it. "Not you, specifically, but... You shouldn't all risk your own careers. This was my decision, my..." She meant to say 'mistake,' but it was hard to admit when she knew that she might still have made the same decisions now. Although with different reasons: she was increasingly concerned with how she had compromised her friends, and especially with the danger she had placed upon Khelev.

"What? Because you decided to go crazy and run off rather than let us help you do it?" Khelev asked, he folded his arms and looked at the screen and the woman on it. "Don't lecture me on what I should do. To me, family is everything and you are family. I have seen you naked multiple times."

Her mind had been so weighed down by the burden of fear and hope since she heard Kanoa's intel about her supposedly-dead husband, there had been little room for any normalcy. But Vanora couldn't help but laugh at Khelev's line of reasoning. "I hope that isn't your only threshold for someone being family," she said as she wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, still scrunched up in laughter. "Your parents, Hryni, and Thora might have something to say about that philosophy." She shook her head. "I'm not lecturing you. Just... I did this. Not you or Mercia or David. You're my family, too, Khelev. I don't want to see you get hurt..." Her voice trailed off. She knew that she shouldn't have said it, but it was too late, it had just come spewing out of her mouth. It was a bit late for her to be worrying about hurting him, the way that she'd run off.

"They would have liked you, you know," Khelev finally spoke after a long, awkward pause. "You might have even won my Mother over, given enough time to learn the ways of our clan... Please don't pity me, what we shared was incredible and if your husband is alive it's a reason to celebrate. You clearly still love him and my pain will heal."

There was yet another long, awkward pause before Vanora replied. "I've never lied to you. I told you that I still loved him, even if he was dead, that his ghost haunted me. And I told you..." She stopped again. She wasn't actually certain now that she had ever told Khelev how she felt about him. Not in this way. "I love you, Khelev," she said finally. "That won't ever change. We, Elasian women I mean, we have an unfair reputation as seductresses, but the truth is that when we fall in love, we fall hard. And I've fallen for you. That's not going to change, no matter what I find when I get there." Everything she said was true, but it was what was left unsaid that was still the most difficult part to deal with.

An uncomfortable silence filled the room as Khelev contemplated what she said, this was horrible. Were they breaking up? What if she found nothing and the unknown status of Tang drove her to do this again? That was the most likely outcome, she would find nothing. If Tang was a Federation citizen there was no reason for him not to use that to get out of prison. He hated baggage and everyone brought it into a relationship.

"You are a delightful seductress when you want to be, but I would never make the mistake of thinking that's all you are Vanora," Khelev replied gently. "I don't know what you'll find, but I do hope you fine closure. I worry that you'll find nothing... At any rate, I'm here for you if you need me."

Vanora nodded slowly, straining to keep the tear from rolling down her cheek.

 

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