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TRACEY TOWNSON - Once Is More Than Enough (Part III)


Blueheart

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((DS 285))

::In her white dress uniform and the hover-stroller in tow, Tracey exited the airlock and found herself on the station with her adoptive child. With the station bustling with activity, Tracey stopped for a moment to get her bearings, for she had never been to this station in all her career. It was at that moment she overheard a couple of people talking about the upcoming memorial. Tracey made her way towards them and politely interrupted their conversation.::

TOWNSON: Pardon me, but would you happen to know where the "atrium" is?

::As one of the two pointed out the directions for Tracey the other looked into the stroller.::

PERSON 2: Oh my, what a lovely...::noticing the child was Romulan:: child. ::looking up at Tracey:: Is it...yours?

TOWNSON: ::without breaking the stare:: Yes he is. ::to the one who gave her directions:: Thank you. Now if you'll excuse me.

::And with that, Tracey quickly spun on her heels and vacated the area and left the two to gossip about something else entirely other than what they were gossiping about earlier.::

::Once Tracey found the room she was to enter, she almost stopped at the doorway as old habits came flooding back into her psyche. To her, standard procedure was to have blood tests before entering any room with high ranking officers of the fleet to be certain one was not a changeling. But in this universe, the war was long over and so, coming back to reality, she just paused and then continued on into the room.::

::Once inside, she couldn't help but notice the amount of people from all different backgrounds. As she made her way through the crowd, a woman and a man approached in hooded Vulcan robes and as the woman slowly lowered her hood, Tracey stopped dead in her tracks and her heart started beating in her chest frantically..::

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: ::almost a whisper:: Tracey.

::Tracey looked at the woman now standing in front of her, then up to Sorel, then back to her mother.::

TOWNSON: Mother. ::hoping the woman would not protest the use of the word:: My apologies.

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: No apology necessary. It has been a long time.

TOWNSON: ::looking towards the hover stroller then back to her mother:: I am happy to be out of the hospital on Earth.

::It was Sorel who spoke next as he too lowered his hood and revealed his Vulcan heritage in full.::

SOREL: We have been following your career from afar.

TOWNSON: ::once again looking up to Sorel then back down to her mother:: I see. Then what brings you so close?

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: We were led to believe the Discovery was lost. ::gesturing to the room a a whole:: Part of this was designed as a memorial service to those who were lost.

TOWNSON: ::looking past her mother momentarily:: And your husband?

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: Too ill to travel. It is the reason I came with Sorel. ::looking towards the stroller and changing the subject.:: You have a child.

TOWNSON: ::following the older woman's gaze then looked back towards her.:: In a way. He is not mine by blood. He was discovered abandoned on Bilire IV. He is Romulan of origin. I felt obliged to take him into my care.

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: ::leaning over the stroller to take a closer look and smiling slightly:: My...he is...what is his name?

TOWNSON: Hvaid...named after an old...colleague.

((Time-Warp - City of Solius - Romulus - Otherverse - Years Ago))

TAL'AURA: Beautiful evening, isn't it?

::Tracey had just finished work at the office and she was sitting at an outdoor terrasse at a Romulan version of a cafe. All day, Tracey had seen the sunlight beat in through her office window, and she knew that after her day of work, she wanted to relax. The Romulan Cafe was just on the ground level of the offices she worked at. Tracey was sitting, enjoying the setting sun of this alien planet as the Romulan soldiers patrolled the streets. This was a bustling, military city, where 90 percent of the soldiers were Romulan. The other 10 percent was made up of a mix of different alien species, with her being one of them. Humans who were assigned to Romulus were dispersed all over the planet. Since her arrival, Tracey only counted a handful of humans assigned to the city of Solius. And only about three times that amount who were members of starfleet.::

::Looking up from her PADD, Tracey squinted through the setting sun over the man's back. Placing her hand over her brow to protect her eyes, Tracey looked up and smiled.::

TOWNSON: Why yes it is. ::gesturing towards a seat opposite from her:: Would you care to join me, Commander?

TAL'AURA: Why thank you Cadet. ::pulling out the chair and sitting down::

::Tal'Aura ordered a drink and when it arrived, he took a sip.::

TAL'AURA: Still working I see. ::gesturing towards Tracey's PADD::

TOWNSON: Just studying, Commander.

::Tracey watched as the well-built Romulan sitting across from her took another sip. Tracey found him to be quite handsome, and if her situation would have been different, if Tracey was not with Jaxx, Tracey would have probably tried her luck. But She also knew it was completely inappropriate to think the way she did. But her loneliness of being away from her Betazoid boyfriend for so long, and the lack of any relationships in her environment, Tracey found herself to be flirting with her superior officer. To Tracey, it was as if there was an internal battle between her brain and her body. And up until today, her brain had won out. But all that was about to change.::

TAL'AURA: Very good, Cadet. I am very proud of your progress thus far.

TOWNSON: Thank you, Commander.

TAL'AURA: Please, Cadet. In there, ::referring to the office building they both worked in:: my name is Commander Tal'Aura. Out here, my name is Hvaid. ::smiling::

TOWNSON: ::placing her PADD on the table in front of her and looking at the Romulan with a mischievous smile:: Thats very unprofessional of you, Commander.

TAL'AURA: ::feigning a broken heart by holding his hands to his chest:: My, my. Are you going to report me, Cadet?

TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Only to say that you are one of the best teachers I've ever had. And only if you stop calling me Cadet.

TAL'AURA: ::taking one last sip then putting his empty glass on the small round table.:: Then we have an agreement. We call each other by our first names.

::Tal'Aura looked around the landscape of the city before returning his gaze on Tracey.::

TAL'AURA: Have you had the chance to tour this city, yet, Tracey?

TOWNSON: ::nodding:: I took the primary tour upon arrival and I have walked around the center core near my place. Why do you ask?

TAL'AURA: Well I know this city very well. My grandmother used to live here. I used to visit quite often as a child. I know places here the tour guides would never show you.

TOWNSON: Is that so, Hvaid.

TAL'AURA: Would you like me to show you?

TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Yes. Since I've come to Romulus I find it all to be quite enchanting. I would very much like to see the rest of the city.

::And with that, the two stood up and left the little table at the cafe and walked. The two walked for hours throughout the evening, as soldiers wound past them at every turn. They went into various shops and tried different local treats. Tracey practiced her Romulan with each shop they'd enter and look around in. The two laughed and spoke the whole evening through, despite the ever present backdrop of the familiar war-zone they both lived in. Several hours later, the two found themselves on top of a mountain on the edge of the city, looking down at the city lights, while sitting on a bench.::

TOWNSON: Thats it! ::pointing to building in the distance::

TAL'AURA: No, no! Thats it! ::pointing to another building close to the one Tracey was pointing to:: I'll bet you dinner thats it.

TOWNSON: No...Look at the markings on the roof. Thats our office building.

TAL'AURA: Oh...yeah. I guess you are right. ::smiling and looking at Tracey.:: It looks like I owe you dinner.

TOWNSON: ::looking up at Tal'Aura and smiling:: You sly individual. Yes you do.

::On the bench next to theirs, a young Romulan couple were embrasing one another.::

TAL'AURA: Young love.

TOWNSON: ::looking towards the shadowed couple then back to the city lights:: Yes.

TAL'AURA: How is Jaxx?

TOWNSON: ::without averting her eyes from the lights below:: Far away.

TAL'AURA: You miss him.

::Tracey just nodded.::

TOWNSON: I hate this war.

TAL'AURA: Don't we all. It makes us all very lonely, and who knows what tomorrow brings.

TOWNSON: ::turning to look at Tal'Aura:: Is there someone special in your life, Hvaid?

TAL'AURA: ::shaking his head and looking down to the ground:: I have placed all my efforts into the military. I had no time for much else. I had to work hard to earn the rank of Commander at such a young age. Plus with the war...::trailing off::

TOWNSON: I know.

::The couple at the opposite bench stood up and walked away hand in hand as Tracey and Tal'Aura watched them leave. Tal'Aura turned to look at Tracey and their eyes locked for a minute. Tal'Aura gently took Tracey's hands in hers and Tracey didn't pull back. She knew what would happen next, and for the first time in years, Tracey allowed her body to overrun what was going on in her head. Tracey took a deep breath, and the two embraced.::

((Later))

::A light misty rain was coming down over the city of Solius, as Tracey an Tal'Aura were walking down a laneway, hand in hand, leading to Tracey's temporary home. When they arrived, the two stopped.::

TOWNSON: Thank you...for a wonderful evening Hvaid.

TAL'AURA: And thank you too, Tracey. ::pause:: Back to work tomorrow.

Townson: Yes. Back to work tomorrow.

::The two kissed one last time, and then Tal'Aura started walking away. Tracey watched as the man became a shadow under the lights and then a message came through her PADD that drew her attention. Tracey quickly scanned the message which said she was being recalled from Romulus in the morning. Tracey looked up at the retreating Tal'Aura in the distance and opened her mouth to shout something. But before she did, she closed it and watched the man disappear into the night of this alien city. Tracey never saw Commander Tal'Aura again.::

((Present - Atrium - DS 285))

SOREL: ::looking over at the two women near the stroller:: There is an odd serenity emanating from the child.

TOWNSON: ::looking up at the Vulcan:: Your empathic skills are still sharp, Mr. Sorel. The child's emotional centers are not connected to his brain.

SOREL: Fascinating. Have you considered getting assistance from anyone?

TOWNSON: ::nodding:: Both the Romulan and Vulcan hierarchy want nothing to do with the child. I fear I am on my own.

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: ::standing back straight up and looking at Tracey:: Should you need any...help...

TOWNSON: Thank you. ::after a moment of awkward silence:: Keep the faith that one day she will return to you.

SOREL: Faith?

TOWNSON: ::turning to Sorel:: Something unheard of in your philosophy, but something real to us humans. ::to her mother:: I came to terms with the death of you and father years ago when I buried the two of you on the plains of Ishmatel on Orelian II, in a universe that now only exists here. ::pointing to her head:: It is as if you are a ghost to me. I couldn't bear dealing with that pain and sorrow again, for once is more than enough.

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: Of that I am well aware of child, but...my husband...your father would like to see you one last time.

::Tracey looked down in thought then over to the stroller before returning her yellow eyed gaze back towards the one who resembled her mother.::

TOWNSON: As duty calls, my ability to get to Earth is limited. But I promise, when I am there next, you can count on my visit.... In the meantime...there is something I wish to give to you. Something to keep the memory of your daughter alive. ::tapping her com-badge:: =/\= Townson to Discovery. lock onto the contents of the closet in my quarters and transport to my location, except for the black dress, shoes and any uniform. =/\=

::In seconds, the shimmering of the transporter left a bag with contents next to the trio. A pair of downhill skis and poles were visible protruding out of the bag.::

TOWNSON: ::gesturing towards the bag:: These were hers. I think...I think she'd want you to have them. And if it makes you feel any better, I never opened that bag.

::As tears started to flow in the older woman's eyes, she went over to the bag. Looked at the skis then dropped to her knees and held the bag in her arms. She then turned to Tracey.::

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: Thank you. I...I thought there was nothing left. I now know how you feel Tracey. Today taught me that losing someone once is hard. Losing them twice is gut-wrenching. ::standing back up and moving towards Tracey, she held out her arms and Tracey fell into them and the older woman whispered:: You too will always be my daughter and I am proud.

::The two just remained in each others arms, and with fellow StarFleet officers all around her, she held back her tears as she was so well trained to do from her universe of origin, but she swallowed hard and whispered back in her mother's ear.::

TOWNSON: I love you, and tell father the same.

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: I will.

::The two let go of each other and Tracey stepped back.::

CYNTHIA TOWNSON: Safe travels, Tracey.

TOWNSON: You too, mother.

::Tracey then turned towards the Vulcan and looked up and gave the man the Vulcan "V" greeting using her right prosthetic hand.::

TOWNSON: Peace and long life.

::Sorel did the same.::

SOREL: Live long and prosper, Commander.

::And with that, the Vulcan picked up the bag and Tracey watched as the two departed as she held tightly onto the stroller in front of her.::

-Fin-

Lt. Commander Tracey Townson
Chief of Operations
USS Discovery-C

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