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((Waltas Estate, Ba'ku Homeworld))

::The wizened eyes locked onto his in the way they always did; the way that smashed through his emotional walls as if they were made of paper. He never could maintain that penetrating gaze, not when he was ten years old and accused (rightfully) of scattering an entire coop of chickens across the village by riding a small wolf through the building, and not at 244 years old when he told her nothing was wrong and that he wasn't leaving.::

LYNTHA: They came for you.

WALTAS::Toeing a small hole in the ground with his boot, he answered in the same voice he had when asked about the chickens:: Yes.

LYNTHA: And you're going.

WALTAS::More quiet now:: Yes.


::He looked up, meeting the gaze this time of his mother. Confusion clouded his features.::

WALTAS: I thought you'd be the last one to say that.

LYNTHA: Tyr, you've been miserable since you retired. This world contains wonders that most people would treasure but you..you've never been snared by them. You may have taken your first steps here, Tyr, but your heart.. ::She placed her hand gently on his chest:: Your heart is among the stars. You know this as well as I do.

WALTAS: I thought it was over. I thought I could stay here.

LYNTHA: You could no sooner stay here than you could cage that eagle or wolf you brought home with you. Eagles must fly, Tyr. Wolves must run. And you...you have to be out there. ::She broke his gaze and looked up at the starlit sky, a single tear sliding down her cheek:: No matter how much you will be missed.

::There were no more words needed. He embraced her, as he had all those years ago. Then, he was a brash, inexperienced and wreckless cadet with a single bar on his collar. Now, he wore the colors of the Starfleet Marine Corps, an insignia with wings adorning his neck. Yet, in many ways, the feeling was the same. The excitement of the adventure beginning and the heartache of leaving those he loved behind. After a brief embrace, she let go and stepped back.::

WALTAS::Swallowing hard, he tapped his comm badge:: =/\= Waltas to Cheyenne. One to beam up. =/\=

((USS Cheyenne))

::He materialized on the transporter pad, the familiar (and, he admitted, missed) smell of recirculated air and metallic deckplates greeting his senses. He made his way to the storage area and confirmed that his meager possessions were there. For a man with such a history, he hadn't brought much. A small chest made of dark wood of the Hith'a tree contained numerous personal items, including holograms of his family, his favorite pair of jeans, and some personal mementoes. Resting against the wall was his prized 16th-century katana, ensconced in its black scabbard. He stepped over to the ancient blade and picked it up, his hand instinctively gripping the pommel. The blade rang as it was drawn, and even in the dim lighting of the Yacht the blade gleamed. The perfect edge was razor-sharp, and had been the final sight of many an enemy. The curved blade had been forged long before even the long-lived Ba'ku had been born, folded hundreds of times in the forge of one of the great masters of Japan. It had been part of the Nakagawa family until it became his, at the death of his sensei, at his request. After studying the blade for a moment, he sheathed it again and placed it back against the wall. The remainder of his luggage contained clothing, uniforms and a large painting. He smiled, but it was a sad smile.::

WALTAS: Hello, old friend.

::The painting had been a gift from one of the artisans of the village, and the canvas showed a Sovereign-class starship among the stars, far above the Ba'ku homeworld. But not just any Sovereign-this was "The Lady", as her crew affectionately referred to her. Officially she was NCC-31929-C, the USS Discovery. His command. His ship. He ran a hand lovingly over the wooden frame, and gently patted it before turning away to the pilot's seat.::

WALTAS: All the 2390 upgrades eh, Toni? Well, let's see what she can do.

::He fired the impulse engines at full power, yanking the yacht hard out of orbit and arcing away from the Ba'ku homeworld. In a few moments he was into the nebulous cloud that was known as the "briar patch", and spent the next 10 minutes dodging pockets of metreon gas and bouncing around the clouds. The experienced pilot dipped and arced the ship in patterns that would elude most small craft and fly circles around starships.::

COMPUTER: Warning. Impulse manifolds at 110% tolerance.

WALTAS: Computer?

COMPUTER: Acknowledged.

WALTAS: Shut up.

::A quiet (subdued?) bleep signaled the computer's compliance just as the Cheyenne burst from the cloud of the Briar Patch. With a final check of the nav chart he pointed the Yacht's nose toward Duronis II, and seconds later it leaped into high warp.::

WALTAS: ETA to Duronis II.

COMPUTER: 8 hours, 25 minutes.

WALTAS: Good. ::Pulling the PADD from the storage cabinet he downloaded the relevant data from the embassy:: I've got some homework to do.

Colonel Tyr Waltas
Marine XO
Duronis II/USS Thunder

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