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[Round 3] Lt Cmdr Tallis Rhul "Wrecking Ball"


Saveron
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((USS Ronin, Deck 1: Captain's Ready Room))

::Tallis followed Toni into the CRR, hot on her heels and glad even of the time they could spend together for a mission debrief. It felt like half a year that he'd been deprived of the chance of her company. Unexpectedly, she stopped dead in her tracks, and he almost lost his balance trying to stop too, bumping into the back of her. As she whirled round, pulling his arms into an embrace, he laughed, amazed and delighted at her dropping the confining mantle of captaincy and allowing herself to completely relax. It was one of many signs of how much she trusted him, and he realised at that moment that he trusted her more than anyone else he had ever known. She was warm, and he felt his heart skip a beat as she looked up at him.::

Turner: I've missed you.

Tallis: I've missed you too.

::Turning within his arms, she smiled, matching his embracing kisses with those of her own, happy in the knowledge that they had found each other.::

Tallis: ::Playfully:: How can the Captain's champion serve you, my lady?

::She sighed, her arms collapsing with the thought of putting their passions aside even for one moment, but knowing they still had work to do.::

Turner: ::stepping away slightly:: We have to contact Starfleet and tell them what happened right away. Var could use a delay to further entrench his forces, or move on some unsuspecting planet. Merek too, for that matter.

::As the bubble burst, and their workload forced them to deal with the red tape, Tallis stayed positive. Somehow the burden of talking to department after department at Starfleet Command seemed inconsequential with Toni at his side. He stood for a second before he answered, watching as she took to her desk and smiling contentedly; there was definitely something inside him that was telling him that he wanted to be with her for a long time.::

Tallis: ::Taking the seat opposite her.:: Then I guess we'd better get started...

::It took a few minutes of consulting the many directives for procedure and protocol to determine exactly which member of Starfleet needed to be filled in on which piece of information. The threat from the Breen themselves was clearly a report for Starfleet Security, who in turn would pass that information on to Starfleet Intelligence, but the news about the Treaty of Bajor, as well as the Breen shipbuilding and Romulan involvement was much more obscure. They had only just started to make some headway when the comm system inevitably activated. As the conversation unfolded, Tallis listened in, curious to find out what was happening.::

Lee-Umun: =/\= Lt.Commander Lee-Unum to Captain Turner =/\=

Turner: =/\= Go ahead, Talon =/\=

Lee-Unum: =/\= Toni, I think you better come to Sickbay. =/\=

Turner: =/\= Why? Does Dr. Saveron need me? =/\=

Lee-Unum: =/\= No, he's not here yet, but it's concerning the captive. Toni, I don't know how to tell you this other than just saying it. The captive is Heath. =/\=

::And then the bottom fell out of the galaxy. Toni's eyes fixed on her blank desk, the shock of what Talon had just told her paralyzing her mentally for a few seconds. Tallis wanted to reach out to her, but found that he was having difficulty processing the information himself. They had just beamed Heath, Toni's husband, the lover whom she had presumed dead onto the ship, and he was lying just three decks below them.::

Lee-Unum: =/\= Toni, did you hear me?=/\=

Tallis: =/\= Talon, are you sure it's Heath? =/\=

Lee-Unum: =/\= Yes, I'm sure, Commander. He's not in the best of shape, though. =/\=

Tallis: =/\= Stand by. =/\= ::Reaching out to rest a hand on Toni's forearm.:: Do you want me to go check?

Turner: ::reconciling to reality, she stood up:: No, tell her I'm on my way.

Tallis: OK. =/\= Talon, she's on her way down to you now. Tallis out. =/\=

::There were a million things that Tallis wanted to say to Toni, and all of them fought for supremacy, bumping into each other as they drove their way forward from his mind to reach the outside world. In the end, only one phrase won.::

Tallis: I'll come with you.

Turner: No, I'm okay. Talon could be mistaken, and I can clear things up with with a positive identification. Just hold my seat in the Lounge, okay?

Tallis: ::Forcing a smile.:: Sure.

::She stood, and rushed from the Ready Room. Tallis slumped back into the seat, the arm that had been stretched out across the desk dropping heavily into his lap. Turning to face the viewports, he stared out into the stars, his mind racing, yet empty.::

::Heath was aboard. Heath. Seconds before he had been thinking about his wonderful relationship with the most perfect woman in the galaxy, and then her long lost husband had come aboard. It was difficult to make sense of, difficult to comprehend fully, and before he could stop it, the [...] that had been holding back a torrent of a thousand questions broke, inundating his mind in a deluge that consumed him.::

::What does this mean for us? Why did this have to happen? Where did he even come from? Why can nothing ever go right? When will I ever be able to settle down?::

::Leaning forward, he grabbed his head with both hands, angry and frustrated with himself, shame washing over him. Those were not the questions that he should be asking, not even the questions that he wanted to ask. In response, his real concerns bubbled to the surface. Will Toni be OK? Is it really Heath? If so, then will he be OK?::

::He found himself standing and heading for the turbolift before he could collect his thoughts. The captain had ordered him to go to the Double Shot and save her a seat. No... Toni had asked him to go to the Double Shot and save her a seat. The lift doors closed as he forced the distinction. Either way, she had asked for something, and carrying it out was the only way he could think of to be useful to her. The lift delivered him a little too quickly to his destination, and he shook himself clear of it all; he could already hear the crew beginning to let their hair down inside, and he wasn't ready to share this with anyone else. Moreover, he couldn't even if he wanted it to, not without compromising any hope he had of being a help to Toni. The last thing she needed was for their relationship to go public, especially in the light of her husband's return.::

::The doors to the lounge parted, and Tallis entered, quickly and quietly taking a seat in a corner where he could observe the crew without having to join them...::

TBC

Lieutenant Commander Tallis Rhul

First Officer

USS Ronin

NCC-34523

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