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((Dense Forest, Ba'ku Homeworld))

::The footsteps were drawing closer. There was no hiding, now. Their only chance was a quick dash to the nearby runabout and an escape to the briar patch, which held its own obstacles. Wiping the sweat from her brow and brushing a few strands of raven-black hair from her eyes, she took several deep breaths in an attempt to slow her heart rate. Looking to her companions, she could see they were equally if not more exhausted, sweat pouring from their faces and hair plastered to the foreheads and pointed ears. Each looked back at her intently, eyes pleading for instructions, for guidance, on what to do.::

::The news had spread fast-in a small village, how could it not? The natives, with the children being of their own blood (at least half of it), took it well, as they had tolerated the Starfleet researchers, scientists and Security detachments that had been a fact of life since the Enterprise had intervened ten years ago. One of their own had gone off to join Starfleet, attaining the rank of Captain, and had gone a long way to spread both the story and the appeal of the Ba'ku to the rest of the known universe. They were proud of him, and always welcomed him and his crew, no matter how alien they were, when they came home.:;

::Starfleet, however, had not been so welcoming when they learned of the...aberration. A seeming antithesis of the normal radiation effect. Those two..aberrations, they had called them, looked to her for guidance. Escape. Help. And she would be [...]ed if the scientists got their hands on them. She was risking courts martial, that much was certain. Breaking the nose of the commander of the Security team had been especially satisfying, just after the word "half-breed" had escaped his lips. Her career was likely to be over, if she survived the escape. The Ba'ku had bought her time, forming a human wall so that the trio could escape to the nearby forest. Now, they were on their own and very, very alone.::

::A touch of doubt clouded her judgment. The lead scientst had only wanted to study them, he'd said. To evaluate the safety for the rest of the Federation of these "aberrations". Given their rapid aging, he estimated he only had enough time to perform a weeks' worth of experiments before the "candidates" were withered from rapid aging. She had sat there, mouth agape, as he calmly explained they would wither and turn to dust before her eyes. In one week. The solution to the problem, to her, seemed simple-get them off the planet. That was when the Security detachment arrived.::

((Flashback, one Hour Ago, Medical Center, Ba'ku Homeworld))

DOCTOR AMES: I'm sorry Lieutenant but I can't allow that. We are blessed to have a unique opportunity to study the aging process to a granual level and it cannot be passed up. We will still have them off-planet before they pass away and they can continue their lives.

DAISHA::Fiercely:: What is LEFT of their lives! How can you allow this?! Your first duty is to do no harm! ::Softly:: I trusted you!

::She HAD trusted him-with too much. When the signs became apparent that something was very, very wrong, she had visited Doctor Ames, an aging field medic that had been put out to pasture to see to the medical needs of those on Ba'ku. The balding, swine-eyed doctor had insisted on seeing them, and when he did, had pronounced Starfleet's demand that they be studied, immediately, while the effects were still ongoing.::

DOCTOR AMES::Smiling, his pig-like eyes twinkling:: And I will always treasure your trust, my dear. You have provided me with quite possibly the greatest trove of medical knowledge in the last 100 years. If I allow them to go off-world, all of that will be lost.

DAISHA::Voice quivering:: If they stay they will DIE!

DOCTOR AMES: My dear, I would never let them die. They will simply be...aged a bit. With their physiology they will endure. And besides, just as the people here were never meant to be immortal, these two were never meant to be eternal 18-year olds..I'd just be restoring the natural..

DAISHA::Rage coursing through her:: THE HELL YOU WILL!

::One kick sent the Doctor sprawling backward over the top of his chair and crashing face-first on the floor. The Security Commander moved next, growling to his men to "grab the [...] half-breeds". One vicious palm-strike to his face sent him howling to the floor clutching his broken nose. The remainder of the detachment, her comrades until today, backed off as an unfuriated Daisha Waltas drew a vicious-looking wakazashi from her back with her right hand a phaser from her belt with her left. She was a sight to behold, standing protectively in front of them, dark hair flared about her shoulders, eyes aflame, daring any one to make a move. One did-the youngest-and paid for it with a phaser blast to his chest. The other two charged forward and tackled her bodily, knocking the phaser from her grip. One received a deep gash to his leg with the wakazashi as it struck with her free hand, the other was headbutted into unconsciousness. Knipping up to a fighting stance, she headed for the door, motioning for them to follow, and laying a kick into the Commander's ribs for good measure. Sheathing the wakazashi, she holstered her phaser and, with them closely in tow, raced for the forest, the Ba'ku forming a wall to delay the Security personnel. Her eyes briefly met her grandmother's in silent thanks before she disappeared into the woods with them following closely behind her.::


::She was her father's daughter, in every way. Defiant. Fiercely loyal. Rules-be-[...]ed attitude when they clashed with what she believed. Now, scanning the forest with her infravision (also a gift from her father), she picked up the heat traces. The Security personnel were drawing closer, and they had no doubt picked her up on their tricorders.::

DAISHA::Voice as calm as she could manage:: Are you ready?

::Both nodded, their language and thought processes had developed almost as quickly as they had. She stood, pointed to the runabout, and they nodded again. Then, she broke off at a furious run, as fast as her legs could carry her. They followed, equally as fast, the energy in their growing bodies fueling their muscles. Emerging from the cover of the forest the bright sunshine greeted them as they tore through the tall grass toward the launchpad. The footsteps behind them increased their pace as well, and shouts of "halt!" and "surrender" carried to her sensitive ears. She ignored them all and reached the runabout, slamming into its hull to halt her advance. She tapped in her code and the door lowered, and she motioned them inside. A phaser blast struck the runabout not more than an inch from her hair. Crouching down behind the nose, she returned fire, blanketing the area with random, wide-beam blasts to pin her pursuers down long enough for her to climb on board. Taking a deep breath, she halted her attack and dove into the runabout's [...]pit, sealing the doors behind her. Leaping into the pilot's seat, she powered up the systems and lifted off, spinning the runabout around and diving with such alarming speed the pursuing officers were forced to dive for cover. The last sight before she turned the bow skyward was her commanding officer glaring up at her with blood still pouring from his shattered nose.::

DAISHA::Under her breath:: Not bad for a half-breed, eh commander?

((Runabout, Briar Patch))

::She'd navigated the Briar Patch before, but this time was different. Aside from dodging the pockets of metrion gas, explosive decompressions of the dust and radiation warnings lighting up her [...]pit, there was the slight problem of a Galaxy-class USS Centris hot on their tail. While the massive starship dwarfed even her father's Sovereign-class ship in terms of sheer size and number of decks, her bulk was a major disadvantage when chasing a tiny runabout through metrion clouds and hazardous space. Smoke poured from her nacelles and impulse manifolds as the ship struggled to keep up. Her comm system rang in, forcing the Captain's voice into the [...]pit.::

CENTRIS:: =/\= Lieutenant Waltas this is Captain Strenner of the USS Centris. You are ordered to power down your ship and surrender or you will be fired upon. Respond! =/\=

::Daisha smiled. Through the indignance of the Captain's voice she could hear consoles exploding in the background and fire-suppression systems going off. The Centris may have looked intimidating, but in her rush to stop the runabout she was damaging herself. Spotting the end of the Briar Patch and open space ahead, she only had a few more thousand kilometers to go. Her father's training, a former pilot himself, came in handy here as she jinked and dove around the clouds while the Centris plowed through them, to her detriment. She had reached the end of the Briar Patch, and brought the weapons online. Targeting the final two drifting clouds, she fired the phasers, detonating the gas within. The Centris was buffeted from both port and starboard from the explosions and the impulse engines grew dark from the sudden inertial jolt. It ground to a stop just inside the Briar Patch, its shields still up.::

::Daisha, worried, ran a quick scan of the ship, and nodded from the result. The shields were holding, impulse and warp engines were offline. No casualties, no hull damage. Satisfied that she hadn't killed anyone in their attempt to kill her and her passengers, she set a course for the Avalon sector and, she hoped, safety. The runabout leaped into high warp. Sighing and sitting back in the chair, she smoothed her sweat-soaked hair back and then turned to look at her two fellow fugitives.::

::They were as she remembered them, at least in expression. The boys, genetically, were twins, but the differences between them had begun to show themselves the moment she set foot on Ba'ku. They grew at an alarming pace, which had sent Daisha to the medical facility for help in the first place. From infants they had within days become toddlers, then rough-and tumble boys by the end of their first week. By the following week they were teenagers, and, sitting before her now, they were the equivalent of 16 years old. They had aged over 17 years in a matter of two weeks, and every fibre of Daisha's being had told her that, if she didn't act, they would continue their alarming aging, to certain death. She had acted as a sister first, as she thought her father would if he knew they were in danger.::

o O Ba'ku was supposed to be their haven, away from danger and Starfleet. So they could grow up and choose their own path. Now...this.. O o

DAISHA::Tapping the console:: Computer, scan the two passengers. Evaluate relative decay of cells and identify any anomalies.

COMPUTER::Obedient chirp:: Scanning. No abnormal cellular decay detected. Approximate age is 18 years.

::Sighing in relief, she was glad the Doctor had been correct about getting them off the planet. Their aging had been stopped. She also realized, with a pang, that...::

SANUYE::Darkly:: We cannot go home.

::Daisha looked to her half-brother. Sanuye was always the quiet one. More slight-framed and reserved than his rambunctious brother, his deep green eyes seemed to stare into your soul when he looked at you. He kept his hair short, close-cropped to his head, in more of a nod to his Vulcan ancestry than the Ba'ku. Thankfully, due to Daisha's teaching and their voracious appetites for knowledge, they could speak, but were still lacking in formal education.::

TYE::Looking to his brother:: I don't understand. Why were they chasing us? Why, Daish?

::Tye was the happy, blue-eyed, long-haired, near-duplicate of his father. Footloose and care-free, he lived for adventure and had managed to get into no end of trouble in his short stay on Ba'ku. His hair, a deep auburn, hung loosely and wildly around his shoulders and was always in some state of disarray. His eyes, a beautiful sky-blue, stared pleadingly at his sister's, begging to know the answer. Tye wore his heart on his sleeves in all things, while Sanuye was much more withdrawn and, one could say, even secretive.::

DAISHA::Sadly:: They wanted to take you away and study why you....grew up so fast. It takes a very long time to become an adult. It was something with the radiation from Ba'ku that changed you. I had to get you off the planet before..

SANUYE: Before we died.

TYE::Shocked:: Died? I don't want to die! ::Tears threatening the sky-blue eyes:: Daisha, am I going to die?

DAISHA::Gently, she stood and sat down and held the now tear-streaked face between her hands:: Hey. Listen to me. No one's going to die. We're safe now, and we're going to see Dad.

SANUYE::Perking up slightly, green eyes studying her:: Our father?

DAISHA::Nodding:: We need his help. Starfleet will not quit looking for us. And I think it's time you met him.

::This placed the both twins deep in thought. Neither remembered their father or their mother. From what Daisha had told them (when asked if she was their mother after seeing the other children with their parents), she was their half-sister, and their father had placed them on Ba'ku for their safety. Their mother was...gone. No one had seen or heard from her. Tye drew his knees up to his chest, resting his chin on them, staring out at the stars. They fascinated him, and while Daisha saw to Sanuye he stood and sat in the passenger seat, staring out of the [...]pit in wonder.::

o O Are they all full of worlds like mine? How many are there? How fast are we going? I wonder if I could learn to fly like Daisha did... O o

::Sanuye shooed away his sister's ministrations and retreated to the back of the cabin, huddling in a corner and furrowing his brow in thought. His father. He would meet his father. What would he say? And how would he explain why he left them there with their sister on Ba'ku instead of caring for them himself? The questions did nothing to improve his mood and he lapsed into a deep, morose depression. He resolved to remember the questions and ask them to his father when he met him, and he wanted answers. He DESERVED answers.::

::For Tye's part, he was simply happy to be away from danger. This was a new adventure, and the most exciting so far. Stealing the neighbor's pig and riding it through town while singing had been fun, but this topped that by miles. Here, he was streaking through the stars at an unimaginable speed, going to see his father for the first time, whom he resolved to hug as tightly as he could as soon as he saw him. He wanted to tell his father he loved him. He KNEW he loved him.::

::Daisha sat back, taking in all that had happened, and praying she had made the right decision.::

Lieutenant JG Daisha Waltas
Security Officer
Ba'ku Homeworld


Tye Ghyurn Waltas


Sanuye Maxwell Waltas

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