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[Round 18] Finding Purchase

Julia Harden

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Lt. Cmdr. Tash Zubowskivich

2nd Officer

USS Indria

((Tash's Quarters))

:: Tash remained silent on the opposite side of the door as Cura

called to him. She knew he was here. She gave him an opportunity...

which he let pass in silence. In moments she was gone, and he was

again alone, without even Tilly to offer companionship. ::

:: But his mind didn't stay on his wandering lagomorph. It stretched

through the darkened room. The red light of a star passing by

coursed quickly along the wall. It traveled over him in the dark,

and he heard nothing but the beating of his heart in his ears. It

was like thunder... red thunder. ::

:: What a horrid feeling, to be broken. ::

:: Without really thinking on it, he pulled out some equipment, set

it up, and created a high streaming data link. It was a protected

channel used for video and voice communication. It wasn't

fullproof... likely someone would see his comm. line through sensors,

maybe even listen in... but he didn't care, and it was powerful

enough to cut through space. ::

:: He hadn't talked to her in two years, but knew he needed her

counsel. ::

:: He needed to talk to Ka'La. ::

:: As he worked, he could hear her graveled voice in his mind,

screaming at him to get up, to hit harder, to ignore his broken

body. She'd defeated him again and again, beating his body into a

pulp while he hardly laid a finger on her. ::

:: She was his savior, in another life. ::

:: At a time where he thought he couldn't go on, she had appeared and

beaten the will to live back into him. She'd taken a small, young

human, hardly worth her time or effort, and created a weapon in him,

body and mind. ::

:: She'd given him purpose where he had had none before. ::

:: The connection flared to life, the comm. channel slightly fuzzy at

first. Then... it brightened as a reply came through. Someone had

answered, and was fine tuning their end of the signal. ::

:: Then... her dark face and harsh Klingon ridges appeared, her eyes

stern and black as coal... then they widened at seeing his face. ::

:: For a moment they said nothing. They knew, the both of them, that

their contact was not one to squander with pithy how-do-you-do's.

They were beyond such formalities. ::

Tash: Ka'La. ::he didn't stop a tired smile at seeing her:: You

look mean as ever.

Ka'La: ::grinning back, showing a pair of sharp fangs:: And you

look old. Have you lost weight?

Tash: Likely.

Ka'La: It isn't kind for you, to be so skinny. ::she paused, taking

in her charge, observing him closely:: We have not spoken for some

time. I have missed our battles. My new students lack your


:: When he didn't respond, save a nod of acceptance at her chastising

her students, she switched gears. She could see it was no social

call. ::

Ka'La: Do not waste my time, Tash. What is it you need of me?

:: The hesitation was palpable. ::

Tash: I'm in need of your counsel... much has happened, and it is

nearly unbearable.

Ka'La: Then speak. I will listen.

:: And so it was that Tash told Ka'La about Armeni's death, being

sucked out an airlock. Ka'La remembered well the rescue she had done

in his Junior year of Academy, when Armeni had taken control of him,

used him. She bared her fangs at the mention of the Betazoids name,

and couldn't help a grin at hearing of her demise. ::

:: However, her eyes darkened as he told her of his attack on T'Lea.

He'd hurt and nearly killed his best friend, his crewmates. He'd

lost the respect of his people on Esogunot, and nearly lost his arm

for his failure. He'd lost his mind, gained it, then nearly lost it

again as he fell into desperation, fell into the drugs that protected

and destroyed him simultaneously. ::

:: Her eyes turned especially grim at his tale of waking death, his

memories of the beyond... his belief he had been so far as Stovokor,

or Heaven, and how it had mostly slipped away, like a dream from ones

childhood. How he had broken through his own death sleep, due to the

experimental nanite treatment. How he had woke in the morgue, and

the revulsion of his crew at his return from the End Place. ::

Ka'La: You tell tales which are hard to believe... yet I know in my

bones you would not lie of such things. I know you are not old...

yet, your eyes are ancient. You have seen the Beyond and returned,

as you claim...

:: She fell silent, the ridges pulled close over her eyes as she

contemplated. Tash continued on, wandering a bit away from his

story. ::

Tash: You gave me purpose once, Ka'La... but in times gone by, I'd

wondered if my only purpose in life... was to *take* life.

Certainly, I thought... that couldn't be all. Yet I cleave to this

same path without failure.

:: He paused, and she listened. ::

Tash: I am split between two worlds I could dare call home... on

both I am called... murderer... warrior... killer... protector...

each world seeing different things in my one apparent quality. And

yet, on both worlds, it returns to one thing... freak... a freak on

my own world... a freak on yours. I can't even DIE properly, Ka'La!

:: There was another pause as she thought on all this. ::

Tash: And I feared, when you knew of my failures... you would leave

me as well.

Ka'La: I have never left you, and will not do so now. I found you

when you were small, and built you into what you are.

Tash: ::bitterly:: And that would be...?

Ka'La: STRONG! You have survived where all others have not! You

have come back from Stovokor herself! You cling to these pithy human

details, when it is this one detail you miss! You have surpassed all

I thought possible. You have become more than what you were,

defeated all enemies! Save one... you. It is only you that holds

you back. It is only you who continues to punish yourself for what

you have become. And for what? WHY?

:: Her insistent question left him silent. Why, indeed? Was he so

intent on being normal that he would give up a second chance at

life? His expression turned a little less bitter. ::

Ka'La: Then, there is something you have forgotten. Starfleet will

not tolerate this behavior for long. They will abandon you to

psychologists and mediocrity. They will call you a MONSTER, and you

will learn to believe them. For your own sake, you MUST find the

will to move on... or you will diminish beyond my counsel.

Tash: ::quietly:: Even when I've seen so much... lost everything.

Ka'La: Leave death in the dust, where it belongs. All else will

follow as it should.

:: Silence overtook the comm. line as he attempted to take her words

to heart. It was hard to believe it could be that simple. Leave it,

and all else would follow. Could it possibly be so simple? ::

Ka'La: The spirit of your youth. Find it, and take your pleasures

where you will. It will heal you.

:: When he didn't reply at once, she smirked knowingly. ::

Ka'La: Or you could just get yourself laid.

:: He couldn't stop the laugh as it forced its way through him, and

she knew he was still there. He could still laugh at her dirty

jokes, which meant there was still time. There was still light in

those green eyes. ::

Ka'La: You always did over-think things of that sort. You think too

much, you miss your chance. Like with the Vulcan-Romulan woman. You

wanted her. How long did it take you to claim her?

:: His green eyes widened at the sudden change of topic, and his

eyebrows furrowed a little. All he could do was shrug his shoulders

and give a half smile of innocence. Black eyes took him in, then

rolled as she snorted in frustration. She brought a clawed hand to

her head in a harsh smack, then she stepped away from the data link.

In the background he could hear her raving to herself. ::

Ka'La: You NEVER did?! GHAA! Terrans drive me insane!! What's the

point of all that effort if you aren't going to... GGRRRAAAAHH!!!

:: She threw something from the edge of her desk, which shattered off

the comm. lines view, then she returned to the comm. channel, still

growling in annoyance. ::

Ka'La: You've had my counsel. Now don't call me again until you've

found your nuts!

:: The channel was mercilessly cut, and the room darkened as the

screen savaged into static. ::

:: And Tash could only smile. He knew she'd set him straight. ::


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