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Round 1 Ensign Velana: Always on my Mind

Sedrin Belasi

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((Vulcan ship Vahklas, 2376))

::It wasn't unusual for Velana to be called to the medical bay. In the past few years, she had become her father's primary assistant as he tried to teach her everything she would need to know to follow in his footsteps as the ship's physician.::

::But it had been her mother, T'Lan, who had made the request and that peaked Velana's curiosity.::

oO Is Mother ill? If so, why wouldn't she want Father to know? Oo

::As she made her way through the worn corridors, she was careful to avoid engineering where Sotek was most likely to be in the middle of the work day.::

::In less than a year, they were going to be married and there would be no escaping him. For now, though, Velana still had the luxury of choosing not to spend time with the man who already believed she belonged to him, both in body and in soul.::

::T'Lan wasn't the only person waiting for her in the medical bay. Her brother's wife, T'Sar, was also there, looking paler than usual. Having grown up with T'Sar, Velana instinctively knew that something was wrong with her new sister.::

Velana: Mother, T'Sar? What is it?

::The two women exchanged a glance.::

T'Lan: ::to T'Sar:: Go ahead; tell her. It's hardly shameful.

::T'Sar looked up at Velana.::

T'Sar: I believe...there is a possibility that...I might be carrying a child.

::A slow smile spread across Velana's face which she only stifled for her oldest friend's sake. T'Sar seemed positively mortified at the thought that there would soon be proof that she had intimate relations with Seval. Velana imagined she'd feel the same someday, whenever she could no longer put off having a child, but the difference would be that, despite favoring logic over emotion, T'Sar did love her husband.::

::Velana would never, could never love Sotek.::

oO How could I ever love him after what he tried to do to me in the engine room? Oo

T'Lan: Her appetite has changed and her temperature has increased. Your father might not have told you, but those are some of the early symptoms.

Velana: Well, let's find out for certain, shall we?

::Ten minutes later, a simple exam had confirmed T'Sar's suspicion. The expectant mother sat shell-shocked while Velana went over a few things she would need to be aware of during her pregnancy.::

Velana: The copper levels in your blood are low, so I'd like to monitor them daily for the next week or so. You also need to be aware of the ship's hottest spots for radiation. Basically, stay out of engineering until...

::Without warning, the ship violently jerked, as if it had crashed into something in the middle of space. Velana stumbled forward, but managed to brace herself with the edge of the exam table to which T'Sar was clinging, as well. T'Lan had been thrown to the ground. Just as her mother picked herself up, the ship rocked again.::

Velana: Mother!

::A console on the far end of the room exploded, filling the room with heat and smoke.::

T'Sar: We need to get out of here!

::Velana agreed, but where were they going to go? The rest of the ship might have proved to be even more dangerous, depending on the situation. If they were under attack, remaining in the relative isolation of the med bay might have been preferable to leaving.::

::Just then, Seval's voice came through the staticky comm system.::

Seval: Velana? Velana, are you there?

::She hit the nearest panel, over the exam table.::

Velana: I'm here! I'm with Mother and T'Sar!

Seval: Listen...Velana. ::His words faded in and out as the static grew worse.:: Take T'Sar and....get them to...pod. Don't stop...anything, do you understand?

::She met T'Sar's terrified eyes.::

Velana: Seval, what's happening?

Seval: There isn't time....have to go now!

::The ship rocked again. A deafening alarm began, drowning out anything else her brother might have said.::

::Velana's whole body was trembling, but she turned to her mother.::

Velana: There's an escape pod two sections down from here.

T'Lan: What about your father? And your brother...we can't just leave and...

Velana: They'll be fine! They'll get to their own pods! But we need to go now!

::Fear had paralyzed her sister-in-law, so Velana grabbed T'Sar's arm and draped over her shoulders, practically dragging her out of the med bay.::

::The corridor was smoky and several metal beams were down on their immediate right. Fortunately, the escape pod lay to the left. As the trio of women made their way towards it, Velana could hear screams in the distance, blood-curdling cries for help. A live wire overhead sent a shower of hot sparks down to the floor.::

::When they reached the pod, Velana unwound T'Sar's arm.::

Velana: ::to T'Lan:: Take her!

::Down the corridor, a plasma conduit exploded; Velana threw up her arm to shield her eyes and something struck her. There was pain, sharp and hot, but she ignored it. Slamming the control panel with her fist, the door to the pod swung open.

Velana: Get inside! I'll be right behind you!

T'Lan: I don't believe you! ::After pushing her daughter-in-law into the pod, T'Lan faced her daughter.:: I won't get in until you do.

Velana: Mother, there are people nearby who are hurt and they need...

T'Lan: No. If you don't leave, neither will I.

::Velana's chest rose and fell as she stared at her mother.::

oO The moment she's inside...close the door and launch the pod... Oo

Velana: All right. ::She gestured for her mother to go first.::

::With a nod, T'Lan ducked inside. Velana glanced back at the devastated corridor. She was just about follow through with her plan when she heard a familiar voice calling her name.::

Sotek: Velana! Velana, wait!

::Velana closed her eyes, willing the voice to be someone else's, anyone else's but her fiancee. The man whose childhood pranks had nearly resulted in Velana going blind. The man who had cornered her only a few months earlier, demanding that she submit to him, whether they were married or not.::

Sotek: Velana!! Don't leave me, Velana!!

::She opened her eyes, surprised to find that they were dry. Without hesitating, she climbed inside the pod and pressed the button to lower the door. A few seconds later, the pod shot into the safety of space.::

::There was a tiny window about the same size as Velana's face. She was glad neither her mother nor T'Sar could see out of it. No more than a minute after they'd cleared the Vahklas, it exploded into a ball of flame that was quickly smothered by the vacuum of space, leaving nothing behind of her home but a field of debris.::

::She didn't have to say a word. It was written in her eyes when she looked back at her mother.::

T'Lan: K'Voss was on the bridge. They have plenty of escape pods. And Seval...he was in engineering. ::Her voice wavered.:: There are even more pods there.

T'Sar: ::too quietly:: Velana...your arm is bleeding.

::Velana glanced down, only to see a jagged piece of metal protruding from her bicep. Green blood stained the entire sleeve of her shirt. Without flinching, Velana yanked the shrapnel away and clamped her hand over the wound.::

::There was a ringing in her ears that was growing louder and louder, drowning everything else out. Everything but her thoughts.::

oO There are other pods. Many other pods... Oo

::She closed her eyes again.::

oO I didn't kill him... Oo

((Bounty hunter's shuttle, Mirror Bajor, present day))

::The darkness began to lift, but Velana was still lost to her memories.::

Velana: ::murmuring:: I didn't...kill him...

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

::She could hear a woman's voice, but it was as if she was hearing her through a wall of water, muffled and distant. Velana frowned, her lashes fluttering as she fought to open her eyes.::

Velana: Mother?

oO No, that's not right. Oo

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

Velana: No...I remember now. Everything... ::Wincing, she tried to sit up against the wall of the shuttle.:: Has he...said anything? About where we're going?

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

Velana: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...they wanted me, not you. ::She swallowed.:: You shouldn't...have to be here.

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

Velana: I know. I'm not her...this other version of me. But mirrors...they're just reflections...right?

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

Velana: ::Shaking her head.:: I don't really know what I'm saying. ::The drug was wearing off; she was able to move her arm enough to reach behind her head. Her hair was stiff and matted with blood.:: How are you? Are you hurt?

Shryker: (RESPONSE)

Third Bounty Hunter: Quiet back there! ::He flipped a few switches on his control panels. The shuttle rocked as they landed on hard ground:: We're here.

::Bright light flooded into the shuttle when the door was popped open without warning, but Velana couldn't tell if it was artificial or natural. After so long in the dark shuttle, the only thing she was certain of was that it hurt her eyes.::

::A burly figure blocked the light.::

Border Guard: What have you got, Thalen? A Terran and a Vulcan?

Third Bounty Hunter: The Terran's just a bonus. But the Vulcan... ::He grinned.:: I'm taking her straight to the Inquisitor myself.

Border Guard: Vulcans don't always do it for him.

Third Bounty Hunter: Trust me...this one will.

::Velana had more strength this time, but it still wasn't enough to successfully fight off the arms that grabbed her and yanked her out of the shuttle.::

::The man, whose species she didn't recognized, slapped a cold pair of magnetic restraints around her wrists.::

Border Guard: Try to run and we'll shoot to kill. ::He pushed her forward; Velana was shocked that her legs wobbled, but she still managed to stay upright.:: Welcome to Capitol City.


Ensign Velana

Medical Officer

USS Independence-A

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