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[Round 12] LtCmdr T'Lea - Makin Progress


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((USS Aurora – CSO's Office))

:: Working through the backlog of reports, T'Lea continued to catalog the information into the database with unwavering efficiency. She was like some kind of super-powered, Vulcan-beast with the speed of Mercury, and a focus as intense as the sun. The work related distraction was a welcome one after the visit to Sickbay though.::

:: In all, the exam had gone well, and Della had been genuinely excited about the baby, which was comforting because *somebody* needed to be. T'Lea, on the other hand, was still trying to distance herself from the child, for her own reasons. It wasn't that she hated children, which is what she'd always claimed, it was just…. Well, it was just something she had to work through. And even though the exam had brought *some* relief to her personal fears, she still believed that she was destined to repeat an unforgivable thing she'd done in the past. But seeing the first images of her and Della's "little critter", as the Doctor had put it, made distancing herself that much harder.::

:: Another report soon fell to T'Lea's mighty powers of efficiency, and another, and another until the sound of her comm. console decided to intervene.::

Computer: Incoming sub-space call on Civilian Securi-link channel Urhinda-Beta-Nine.

:: A pair of steely blue eyes flicked toward the emblem on the display screen, scrutinizing it. T'Lea knew exactly who was on the other end of that call.::

:: With a tap of her finger, the transmission began to feed through, and so did the low, rumbling voice.::

Ceedel: Oh. You answered. I was going to leave a message.

:: There was a look of surprise on Ceedel's face. The big oaf was kicking himself now for not sending a text message. Talking to the Butcheress on a*live* sub-space call was very unnerving, considering what he had to say.::

T'Lea: I can pretend you're a recording if it helps. What do you want, Ceedel, I'm busy.

:: His image sputtered a few times as the signal met with some kind of interference, but there was enough "face" in the screen to see his big bald head, the sharp chin tusks, the blue skin, and the tribal tattoos adorning his scalp and cheeks.::

Ceedel: I, uh… Well, there's this thing… I suppose it's a thing… It could be a nothing… but it may end up being a tiny, wee, little, minuscule whiff of a problem.

:: Minuscule. That was a big word for Ceedel.::

T'Lea: ::sighing:: What kind of trouble are you in this time, and get to the point quick, or I'm cutting you off.

:: For a giant humanoid with such a deep gravelly voice and such a frightening appearance, the Shrackian was looking down right scared at the moment.::

Ceedel: Try not to do that, little one, this could be important to your health. ::leaning toward the screen:: Remember, Squirmy Worm?

:: Instantly T'Lea's expression grew cold. The mere mention of the nickname had the voices from her past howling through her mind like a raging Sehlat charging-in for the kill.::

((OOC: For the new folks, the longer version of this mini-flashback, can be found here if you're interested: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/sb118-aurora/message/1437))

"Okay, you little frak – you come into my house with this piece of dren…," said T'Lea while wagging a sickly homemade knife at a small boy. "… and then what? What exactly did you expect to do here, except die? Or is that it? You have a death wish."

"Go ahead," the boy spat with a fair amount of bravery. "You better kill me now `cause one day I'monna git you"

"Oooh…," laughed Ceedel in ridiculing baritones. "Big threats from such a wormy little thing. Kid must be high. I don't think he knows who he's talking to."

"I know xactly who she is -- the Butcheress and I'm gonna kill'er for what she done." The boy's icy glare narrowed on T'Lea. "You killed my father you, a'khk, t'phr eating, knhlt!"

"Lesson number one, kid -- people die." T'Lea stuck the knife close to the boy's eye. "If you're lucky you won't be one of them. At least, not for a while. String him up. I'll cut him down later.

"Off we go squirmy worm," said Ceedel in good cheer as he carried the child off by the scruff of his neck.

"And make sure nobody else sneaks in, or you'll be up there with him!" T'Lea shouted before mumbling to herself, "Dumb frak..."

:: The transmission flickered with interference again, and Ceedel banged on his monitor, as if that were the problem not the long distance.::

Ceedel: Piece of dren. Am I still transmitting?

:: Blinking herself out of her trip down memory lane, T'Lea shook her head and massaged away the stress that was forming along her brow. Years ago, she'd hung that filthy little kid by his toes, in the dead of winter to teach him a lesson about respect and territory, and for one reason or another she'd forgotten to cut him down.::

:: He died.::

T'Lea: Yes. Why?

Ceedel: Because, this link is frakked-up with interference?

T'Lea: No, idiot, what about the kid?

Ceedel: Oh, right. ::he winced:: Well… like I was saying, there could be a thing.

:: While he glanced down at his big, thick hands and swallowed what felt like a boulder in his throat, T'Lea started to grow agitated.::

T'Lea: What kind of thing, Ceedel?

Ceedel: He's looking for you.

:: Right on cue the Shrackian giant felt his three stomachs fill with acid.::

:: Not amused, T'Lea wagged her head at him in disbelief.::

T'Lea: Are you drunk-calling me again? The kid is dead, you said so yourself. Quit wasting my frakking time.

:: She reached out to end the call.::

Ceedel: ::shouting quickly:: He's not dead!

:: T'Lea's hand froze over the command console, and she slowly lifted her murderous eyes to the giant on screen.::

T'Lea: What?

Ceedel: I lied to you that day. He didn't die. He was about too, but I cut the boy down. I know you said you'd do it, but he was half frozen. He wouldn't have lasted the night. I lied, because I knew you'd have my frelling chin-horns for disobeying you. I took him to an injury clinic in town. I lost track of him after that, but now he's resurfaced, and he's looking for you.

T'Lea: You… you what?! You mother frelling, son of a—

Ceedel: I should have left him to freeze, I know! I'm sorry.

:: He flinched as his old gang leader slammed her fists down on the desk, shot out of her seat in the heat of anger, and disappeared off screen, presumably to kill something.::

:: T'Lea was experiencing an sudden overload of outrage at the moment -- the mere suggestion that this ghost from her past was coming back to seek revenge was certainly worthy of such a volatile reaction, but the other passenger on her rollercoaster ride of fury was, surprising, relief.::

:: Relief that she'd not been responsible for the death of a kid. Relief that maybe she wasn't destined to accidentally harm her own child. Maybe there was hope for her yet, that is, if this old threat didn't keep his promise to kill her.::

:: T'Lea's face suddenly reappeared on screen with a snarl directed at Ceedel.::

T'Lea: Where he is, and who he is?

Ceedel: His name is Naku. He sent three Nausicaans to Starbase 23. They were sniffing around for you, until they got arrested for a bar fight. Thing is, I don't know the location of Naku. He is…

:: The pause was quickly struck down.::

T'Lea: He's what, on vacation, been abducted by aliens?

Ceedel: He's hard to find. ::beat:: He's a very good assassin from what I hear.

:: That's not was she expected, but it made perfect sense. The kid grew up around violence and death, he'd lost both parents in the turf war, and he had a heart filled with revenge. Why wouldn't he focus all of that energy, and all of those tragedies into one special skill to achieve his one special desire.::

:: In a way, T'Lea had turned the boy into monster – and someone that she may end up killing after all.::

T'Lea: That's just frelling great, Ceedel. Remind me to kick your [...] the next time I see you. ::rubbing her brow again:: Frak!

:: Ceedel's whole demeanor changed as he leaned toward the screen. He was suddenly very strong, proud, and confident in appearance.::

Ceedel: I still remain your Kol-ma-Rah. I am bound by my faith to protect you. My life is yours to command, and thus far I have obeyed your wishes to live freely, even though it goes against my beliefs. But because of *this* I cannot be free, little one. I owe you. And I will gladly give my life to fulfill the honor of your Kol-ma-Rah.

T'Lea: It's not me I'm worried about. ::huffing, thinking, wagging her head:: What kind of assassin sends three Nausicaans to do his dirty work?

:: Ceedel thoughtfully stroked the patch of fur between his chin horns.::

T'Lea: He wants me to know that he's coming. He wants me to fear him, and fear what he might do. I've got a family to protect and a child on the way—

Ceedel: ::shocked:: You have a family?

T'Lea: Shut up and listen. This is how it's going to work -- whatever network of seedy, rotten criminals you have at your disposal, whatever favors are owed to you, collect. You find this [...] and you hold him for me until I get back. That is your only priority right now, understand?

:: He affirmed with a grunt of allegiance so strong that there was no doubt he knew exactly what must be done, and then he scrunched up his face in confusion.::

Ceedel: What if I can't find him?

T'Lea: Find him.

:: She cut the comm. signal and dropped back in her chair with a heavy thud. With any luck this would be resolved by the time the mission had concluded. If not, the slightly ill feeling in her stomach told her that she'd have to inform Della about everything, and that wasn't going to be a fun chat.::

:: Closing her eyes, T'Lea did her best to still her restless emotions, and process Ceedel's confession. He'd saved the boy's life, which meant that she didn't have the blood of an innocent child on her hands. Of course, it still didn't excuse what she had done to the kid, but the guilt she'd been carrying around for Naku's death had been lifted, and consequently her perspective on things began to slowly change.::

:: After a very, very long stretch of silence, she let out a short, sharp breath of air, and reached for her belly, opening herself up just enough to start to feel something for her child.::

~~ I've been taking this out on you and Gina, all this time, haven't I? ~~

:: That was going to change, she'd made a silent promise.::

:: Perhaps she could do this parenting thing and not screw it up – perhaps she could be a good mother. It wasn't totally inconceivable anymore, and besides, her instincts to protect her family were strong, and she knew how to love, Della had taught her that much… the rest… well, one day at a time.::

((Fast Forward – Turbolift))

:: The backlog of science reports had been done away with. The entire department was now up-to-date. Changes had been implemented, projects had been canceled, and new ones had been granted, while other experiments had been allowed to continue. Shift rotations were in effect and new department heads were appointed to replace the ones who had proven themselves unworthy.::

:: Satisfied that she'd done all that she could, for the moment, to get the science department functioning efficiently, T'Lea set her sights on the current mission, bringing herself up-to-date with Blackwood's progress, via the little reports the woman had been sending.::

:: It seemed that the new Helmsman Blackwood met with had come up with, what seemed like to T'Lea, a pretty good idea to capture and contain the proto photons. Blackwood, Rathbone, Sylkar, and Tali were to meet about implementing the idea shortly.::

:: Taking a moment to relax on her turbolift right to the Bridge, the Romu-vulc leaned back against the hand rail in, and called up the image of her baby daughter.::

:: Daughter.::

:: A strange, lopsided grin pulled at the hybrid's mouth.::

:: She was having Vetri's baby… .::

:: That thought turned into full blown smile as she opened her softening heart around that idea.::

:: Steeling a moment to forwarding the baby image to both Della's and Gina's personal data PADDs, T'Lea attached a note that read, "T'Atanka. If you don't come up with a better name for our daughter, (your sister), that is what she will be called."::

:: Tatanka – in the language of the Lakota Indian Tribe it meant, bull buffalo. Really, she had no intention of naming the kid that, but she figured it would get them both thinking hard about alternatives. And the Romu-vulc was content to let Gina and Della do all the brainstorming work, then veto the ones *she* didn't like.::

:: With a low raspy chuckle of self-amusement, T'Lea exited the lift and headed over to the Science Station where Blackwood was located on the bridge.::

T'Lea: Ms. Blackwood, I received your report on the Azure Nebula. It was thorough. ::glancing at the console:: What are you working on now?

Blackwood: ?

:: The Romu-vulc gave a shallow nod of acknowledgement.::

T'Lea: I have placed Sylkar as the head of the physics department, and I understand that you are already utilizing her skills for the proto photon containment project. When will you be meeting with Tali and the others?

Blackwood: ?

T'Lea: Very well, I will take over your shift on the bridge while you attend. Continue to send updates. Carry on, Ms. Blackwood.

Blackwood: ?

:: Of course, T'Lea had every intention of checking up on Blackwood's teammates on the project -- Tali, Rathbone, and Sylkar -- about how the young ACSO was performing. After all, they were working more closely with her than T'Lea was at the moment, and while T'Lea had been pleased with her work so far, there was still a question mark as to how well the Ensign played with others while the boss was away.::

Anyone: ?

TBC/TAGs ((OOC: Blackwood, if you want to leave the bridge to do other things, I left an opening for you to do just that. ;] ))

Lt. Cmdr. T'Lea

Chief Science Officer

USS Aurora, NCC-72750

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