Sunday, February 11, 2018

History of a Halfbreed Parts 13 and 14

(Part 13)
The Iachad was on its way to its next mission when an invitation came through for Caleb to attend an elite conference for those in the medical profession. He had applied to attend it several years in a row, so was quite pleased to have been selected. The invitation came through just a day before he and T'kayeda had planned on sending the letter, so they decided to hold off until after he returned.

T'kayeda kept herself busy with her daily duties. Her mentor had recently sent her some extra lessons as well. While she was used to monthly "challenges" arriving for her to work on, this time it was different. There were many more files, extra details, more research tasks required and she had set a deadline. It almost seemed as if this were a real-world event instead of another moral quandary problem to solve. It kept her evenings busy after Caleb departed. He left four days before the conference, planning on going to Bajor to his family home to retrieve some personal items beforehand. T'kayeda found herself missing him, something which caused the slightest smile to show on her face.

It was two days into the conference when the Iachad received word that there had been an attack on the attendees. Dozens were dead, and Caleb was among three who were missing and presumed to be dead. T'kayeda was devastated, especially when a badly burned body was discovered and seemed to be his. She felt as if her world was being torn apart, suddenly realizing how important he was to her. That night, she lit a meditation candle and started focusing on the words of Surak. While it was something she did regularly, tonight it was so much more difficult. She wanted to scream, to cry, to lash out at this world which kept taking from her...

It was as she fought through the emotions that T'kayeda heard something. At first, it was a whisper, and she thought it was a figment of her tormented mind. The whisper sounded familiar though. When it happened again, she focused on it.
"T'kayeda... hear me... I'm alive."
Now she was really starting to question her sanity. It sounded like Caleb, but they had a body so it couldn't be.
"T'kayeda... help me!"
She could almost sense the direction it was coming from, so zeroed in on it.
"Caleb?" She focused her words mentally, using skills she had long mastered.
"I'm here... captured... being tortured..."
His voice was coming in more and more clear, and she could see a thin line in her mind, showing where the voice came from. She quickly pulled out a PADD and looked up what was out there. With more words exchanged, she knew it was real and called her Captain. It was difficult to convince him, but she kept insisting. She even went down to sickbay and had the CMO, Dr. Janny, run scans to prove she was mentally communicating with Caleb. Going against their current mission, the Captain played on her hunch and turned the ship in the direction of the voice. As the ship flew in that direction, his voice became louder. There was excitement as word spread to the bridge on what was happening. They had all gotten to know Caleb and liked him.

But then the ship was hailed and ordered to stop. T'kdayeda was furious! That is until visual communication was made. It was Her... her mentor. With as many times as they had shared a mind meld, T'kayeda assumed she must have also sensed what was going on. She had sent an escort, one under her command, to take T'kayeda and the CMO to retrieve Caleb from his captors. The Captain was hesitant, but T'kayeda calmed herself enough to use logic to convince him to let them go.

Once on the escort, T'kayeda was ushered onto the bridge, where a stern half-Vulcan/ half-Human greeted her briefly, then demanded she focus and tell the ship where to go. She quickly complied, sinking into a corner and going back into meditation and guiding the escort closer to where Caleb was being held. It took seven grueling hours unil the captain o the escort ordered the ship cloaked.
"I am aware now of where we are going and who we are going after. One of the Federations darkest secrets has him, which is what the Director had believed. She is usually right. Go prepare to beam down with one of my teams. Her orders were to have you go down and be the one to pull him out."

(Part 14)
Hell hath no fury like a half-Vulcan/half-Romulan raging against those who had hurt a loved one. Though T'kayeda was by no means a warrior, she acted like one from the moment of beaming down until Caleb was safe. Outside of Dr. Janny, she had never worked with or even seen any of the others on the away team, yet they moved and attacked like a well-oiled machine. Her mind was focused on making it to the room where she sensed Caleb to be in. He was very weak, having endured days of sporadic torture and constant mind games.

It wasn't until she was in the same room as him, watching the CMO start to treat him, that her focus turned to what they had just done. Bodies were strewn everywhere and T'kayeda walked over to one, kicking it over to stare at the uniform and symbols on it. She then looked around the room, then down the hallway they had come, and finally went back to where Caleb was. Eyebrow raised, she didn't even have to ask the question before one of the armed security responded that, yes, this was the organization which supposedly did not exist. This was Section 31, and they had wanted Caleb for themselves, to force him to reveal his abilities and use it for their own. Her blood and brain felt boiling fury, along with the crush of betrayal, upon the realization. It took quite a bit of mentally reciting Surak before she was calm enough to act diplomatically once more.

Upon beaming back to the ship, she went right to Sickbay to be next to Caleb. He was weak and bruised from head to foot, but alive and already starting to heal. The half-Vulcan captain came down shortly after the escort went to warp.
"The Director, your mentor, relays her... pride... in your actions today. We are on the way back to the Iachad. The numbers are already aligning themselves again." With that, he walked out. T'kayeda was used to hearing about numbers and what those numbers were in relevance to various interests in the Federation or the Federations over-all well being. She heard about it constantly from her mentor but still was unsure of why those were so personally important.

They transferred back to the Iachad a handful of hours later and the escort departed as quickly as it had arrived. The ship continued onward to its mission destination, while T'kayeda stayed next to Caleb. Once awake again, he was quick to notice the change in her eyes when she looked at him. It caused him to smile, which caused T'kayeda to blush slightly. He tried speaking to her mentally and found that they could communicate with ease. This was very unusual, as Bajorans are not known for their psi abilities... but then again, Caleb was not a normal Bajoran.

She learned much more about that during the coming weeks. His special gift had been noticed by The Prophets early on, and it had been revealed that he was one of their "Chosen." Caleb had been found as a child, wandering the woods, and had been adopted by a rural couple. The Prophets had eventually revealed to him his history before he was found, and why he could only remember it in dreams. Some of what he said was completely mind-boggling to T'kayeda, and she had some trouble with reconciling it all. She ended up having to push it all into a corner of her mind in order for it to not distract her from daily tasks.

Their letter to Starfleet was met with silence, so one drafting his formal resignation was prepared. They did not send it, though, waiting to see if he would be ordered back to the line or to his prior ship. No orders came through, so Caleb continued to provide support on the ship as a civilian. Their relationship deepened, soon getting to the point where conversations about marriage were starting to happen.

History of a Halfbreed (Part 11 and 12)

(Part 11)

Over the next twelve years, T'kayeda focused almost completely on her career. While she leaned heavily on her Vulcan side, continuing to focus on mastering logic, at times it was her Rihansu side which was required in sticky situations. Those working over her noticed that there was rarely a negotiation or grievance which she could not successfully resolve. It allowed her to quickly move into an attache position. She moved from starship to starship, following the diplomat she was assigned to. He challenged her in every way to increase her skills.

He also knew her mentor, who was still sending her various arguments, lessons, and holodeck scenarios to work through. It meant T'kayeda was constantly busy and rarely had any downtime at all. While this may have bothered most people, T'kayeda did not seem phased at all. She seemed content to be constantly racing deadlines, learning about the cultures she would be working with, and edging her way up to becoming a diplomat.

Her greatest challenge was working with Rihansu. Working through her past was difficult, and more than once she found herself stepping away from logic and relying on emotion when responding to them. She wanted to rant at them for chasing after her clan, for letting the Tal Shair stay in power even after Hobus, for not being able to break the militaristic attitude. Yet, they were trying hard to move into the realm of diplomacy. Fair elections were taking place. Contracts were being made without threats. New Romulus had been found and soon colonization would be started. As if knowing this was the challenge she needed, the rest of the diplomatic team would let her lead all of the negotiations with them. Her mentors' lessons were digging deep into the mindset of the Rihansu. Before too long, T'kayeda was considered a specialist in working with them. It infuriated her, while at the same time gave her a source of pride.

Year thirteen gave her the promotion she had been hoping for, Diplomat. She was assigned to a team which traveled around the Alpha Quadrant, so she was a frequent visitor to Deep Space Nine. The station and its inhabitants facinated her, as did the wormhole. In her few quiet moments, it is where she could be found, on the upper level watching the wormhole.

It is where she first met Doctor Caleb Thornton. Now, to be fair, she had met him one other time. She was in one of the bars, trying to find an Ambassador who had forgotten a signature. He had introduced himself there, and they had a polite conversation. However, it was while viewing the wormhole where their first real discussion started. He was from Bajor and had joined Starfleet late, having already become a doctor. Something had happened, he initially did not say what, which made it so he was forced to take medical leave for a few weeks. Being her current ship assignment, the Iachad, would be in the area around the same length, they had several more conversations.

T'kayeda wasn't sure what to think of him. He was impetuous, flirty, but also had a deep hurt inside of him. It all fascinated her, though she tried to not show it... at first. She kept the logical Vulcan exterior around him, even as their conversations started to deepen... however, when he snuck a kiss in on her cheek she raised a cold eyebrow at him. He was persistent, though, and sneaky. When the Iachad pulled out from Deep Space Nine to its new assignment in the Beta Quadrant, Caleb had somehow called in some favors and had himself transferred to the ship as a civilian worker.

Part 12)
It was a temporary position, the one Caleb Thornton had taken. He would, eventually, need to return to his prior position. The thought weighed heavily on him, T'kayeda could tell even without her empathic ability. She didn't have much in the way of time to think it over, though.

The Iachad's first stop was Mol Rihan... New Romulus. They were to meet D'tan's flotilla as it arrived and continue assisting the fledgling democracy as it colonized their new home. Being he was a Reunificationist and T'kayeda was raised as one, she was expected to take lead on a handful of meetings and negotiations with him. It seemed the Federation was hoping for a connection. What they did not know is that T'kayeda had met D'tan before, twice actually. Both were when she had been living planetside as a child. She was hoping it would help undo the damage of her leaving the clan. It made her nervous, as illogical as that was. In one of those rare moments when she wasn't preparing or negotiating, she voiced the emotion to Caleb. He provided quite a bit of insight and support, something which made her smile a little. She was becoming more connected to him, despite her trying to deny it.

The connection with D'tan worked in her favor, thankfully. Especially since some of his staff refused to work with her at all, considering her an outcast and one not to be trusted no matter what. It made for a difficult two months, but she persevered. Where some doors were shut, T'kayeda managed to negotiate new ones. Her reputation for working with Rihansu started to spread. Before the end of the Iachad's time there, she had been responsible for several provision contracts outside of her normal duties.

And then there was Caleb. Where she would have normally worked right through from morning until bedtime, she found herself stopping a few hours beforehand. Oh, it was still long after the others quit work for the day, but it was early for her. They would walk through aeroponics and the botany lab, or sit in a nature scene on the holodeck. Sometimes, they would have dinner together. Caleb was an excellent cook, where T'kayeda was afraid of the kitchenette. She learned about some of his upbringing, and she told him about hers. She also learned why he was on medical leave, and it made her blood boil in anger. If she hadn't already learned about some of the darker sides of Starfleet from her mentor, she would have reacted instantly. Instead, she started to plan.

Caleb had a gift, one he was born with. He could heal people. Not just as a talented doctor, but with some strange power which came from him, through his hands, and sped up the healing process in the wounded. He could even target the ability to start a healing process where one hadn't been. T'kayeda learned of it after a moment where she had lost her temper. It was after an encounter with an incredibly rude and insulting Reunificationist, one who obviously had not mastered much of the Vulcan ways. No one saw her do it, but she had thrown a breakable object, then picked up the shattered pieces and threw those. In the process, she had cut her hand very deep. Caleb had offered to treat the cut and showed her by using that ability instead of equipment. T'kayeda learned that he would end up taking a milder version of the wound onto himself when using the ability. On the spot, she swore he wasn't going to be using that on her again. She wouldn't let him take on her pain.

Starfleet had started using Caleb as a shield. He had been assigned to a ground battlezone in a highly contested part of space. As a field medic, he would be out in the fray, pulling the wounded to treat. Those who knew his skill demanded that he use it to get the soldiers back out onto the field. It had been him breaking down and nearly dying in the process which sent him on medical leave to Bajor. Caleb swore to T'kayeda that he would not return to the battlefield. She helped him write a letter to Starfleet about his unfair treatment and request to be assigned to a ship or station. Her feelings for him had grown, and she wouldn't stand for him to be in harms way constantly.

Monday, January 1, 2018

History of a Halfbreed (Part 9 and 10)

(Part 9)

It ended up that her clan did not give her much of a choice. With Mother gone, and despite her being considered an adult by all standards, they started ordering her around. She -would- go to the Vulcan Academy of Sciences. She -would- apprentice under a well-known diplomat. She -would- return and start actively working to unify both Rihansu and Vulcan once more. T'kayeda quickly grew tired of it all. She was neither Rihansu and neither Vulcan. Both sides had betrayed her. Oh, she would be a diplomat alright, just not the way they wanted.

The day of her entrance exams for the Vulcan Academy, T'kayeda showed up at the Elders house. She had a single bag packed with her few precious possessions and clothes. Soton, who had completely agreed with her, would be taking care of Father. She showed them her acceptance letter from Starfleet Academy, her high scores on the entrance exams, and her transport plans. For people professing to follow Surak and Logic and striving for emotional mastery, they were quite emotional. T'kayeda had expected this and had a logical argument ready. She could still be all they had wanted and still be educated her way. By the end of the conversation it was made very apparent that, if T'kayeda left, she would be disowned by the clan and would not be welcome around any of them again. She was supposed to be their hope, how dare she betray them.

She walked away.

The trip to Earth and Starfleet Academy was a lonely one, but T'kayeda didn't mind. It gave her time to meditate, to soothe the emotions which threatened to show. Now was not the time. Strangely, Mother's katra seemed to accept her decision. Perhaps, along the way, she had figured out that it was in T'kayeda's best interest to learn diplomacy elsewhere. T'kayeda sure hoped so.

Starfleet Academy was both amazing and overwhelming at the same time. T'kayeda had never seen so many species in one place. Oh, there was always a decent variety on the planets or run-down stations she had visited or lived on. It was nothing like this, though. Within a couple of days, she was set up for her first classes and was assigned a roommate. She had specifically requested to not be roomed with a Vulcan, so she wound up with a human instead. Like T'kayeda, she was also going into diplomacy and was named Sierra.

It was through Sierra that T'kayeda learned much about integrating with the others around her. It was through Sierra she learned how to do things other than eat, sleep, and study. T'kayeda soon became fond of finding locations to hike. While she was never fully comfortable when planetside, it was very peaceful to be walking along in nature. Some of her best meditative moments were when in nature.

She also interacted with the few Vulcan's attending Starfleet. They met twice a week for intellectual discussions and working through Surak's words. Though they knew she wasn't fully Vulcan, this group was more understanding than those on their homeworld. They never criticized her if she struggled with a concept. They seemed to understand that, while she had been raised by reunificationists, she was not one of them. Over her first two years there, T'kayeda started to thrive.

(Part 10)

At Starfleet Academy, there were a few things which bothered T'kayeda. One was the assumption that she was the product of rape and not of love. She understood that, especially before Hobus, this was the most common way to get a Vulcan-Romulan offspring. It annoyed her to explain, but explain she did. Another thing she kept hearing was from the older professors, those who had been at the Academy for at least eighty years. Those elders would compare her to a student from back then, another halfbreed like herself. She was inquisitive, like T'kayeda, and also had a unique upbringing. Her mentor had even been a reunificationist. It made T'kayeda very curious.

In her third year at the Academy, as she was applying for internships at the area embassies, this person came to visit Earth and purposely sought T'kayeda out. She would never forget the day she met "Her."

T'kayeda was working from a nearby park, studying for an exam, when "She" walked up. The curly long hair, sharp features, perfectly slanted eyebrows and just a hint of the ridges Rihansu had developed over the 20,000 years since they left Vulcan made her look exquisitely beautiful. Without a word, "She" sat next to T'kayeda.

"I have heard much about you and needed to come see for myself this child which had been impressing professors all across the campus. Apparently, you will become an Ambassador at a young age, if they are to be believed." Her voice was very matter-of-fact.

"I have heard much about you as well, and have researched your career from sciences through tactical and up to where you are now, Rear Admiral." She replied formally. "It is most impressive."

"Like my mentor before me. I am taking a year from duties and will be tutoring you and preparing you for life outside of the Academy. You will have your internship. I've already put those pieces into place." Again, a tone which was very much a statement.

T'kayeda thought that over for a few seconds. "I am honored, Admiral."

"You will be challenged in ways you have never been. Be prepared T'kayeda'kam." With that, she stood and left.

Two days later, T'kayeda was moved out of the quarters she shared with Sierra and into a small apartment rented by the Admiral. She was indeed challenged greatly over that year. As if her studies and internship were not enough, her mentor kept presenting her with various theories, moral quandaries, leadership studies, and in hand-to-hand combat using a modified dagger "She" used. T'kayeda learned all about the Admiral's past, learned to work around those who followed the two of them like a shadow, learned to think faster and work harder and think deeper through all sides of a situation, and learned a way to release any overflow of negative emotions if she were to get angry. "She" liked to push T'kayeda until that frustration bordered on anger, and then leave her to settle on her own.

By the end of the year, everyone had noticed immense maturing in T'kayeda. She was ready to finish her triple major in Interspecies Ethics, Interspecies Protocol, and Communications. She kept in regular communications with the Admiral - who continued to challenge her in all areas even after departure.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

History of a Halfbreed (Part 7 and 8)

The watching and waiting was hard on everyone, but finally the chance to escape to the safety of Federation space was happening. So many months of planning, trading, scheming, and almost begging for help to cross the boarder was coming to a close. Everyone knew that, in just two more days, the escape would be made. T'kayeda had just turned fourteen. J'arn had taken her studies as far as he could. The fracturing of her mind by the Tal Shiar had caused the stalling out. The child who others had hoped would train to be a healer was in need of one. T'kayeda did not let it stop her from pursuing other studies, finishing advanced courses, and preparing for entrance into the Vulcan Academy of Sciences... if they could get there.

The day arrived, and everyone seemed to hold their breath as the old cargo vessel, with its newly built cloak, left its hideout and followed a careful path zigging and zagging through established cargo lanes, up until a vital point of deviation. It was all going perfectly through all of the first eleven hours. They could actually see the Neutral Zone lines, blurred as they were post-Hobus, on the screen. Freedom was close at hand... until a warbird detected their cloak less than twenty minutes from the line. It was patrolling at a distance, and raced in to question them. Everything they had rehearsed, everything they had planned, even the backup plans fell apart when the falsified ship signature failed to work. By then, they were just five minutes from the line. Caution was thrown to the wind as the cargo ship put every ounce of energy into the race to the line. Weapons fired from the warbird, the cargo vessel launched their own attack. The ship lurched, consoles exploded, and T'kayeda ran from place to place repairing what she could as fast as she could. She and Father worked side by side, frantic.

A cheer erupted as the ship crossed the Neutral Zone line into Federation space, but the warbird followed them still. Panic settled in, until the captain yelled "Here they come!" It was a Federation ship. They were saved... but T'kayeda and Father were not aware. In fact, they were trying to stop a plasma conduit from exploding and putting a hole in the vessel. They were so close to being successful, but the warbird took one final shot before retreating back across the line. She sensed in her fathers mind first, the sound of them being too late. He shoved her to the ground, throwing his body on top of hers, and her world went dark once more.

This time, however, the resources were available. The Federation ship, while small, was full of state of the art equipment. T'kayeda remembered meeting her first members of Starfleet, as they moved her into their sickbay. The burns and broken bones from the blast hurt so badly, but she had been through worse. She insisted on sitting, refusing treatment, until she saw her father successfully placed into stasis. The burns were horrific. He was nearly unrecognizable, and his chance of living wasn't good, but they were heading to Vulcan. They were heading to hope. To home. She allowed herself to be sedated and treated, knowing she would wake up once on Vulcan.

And she did. Eyes opening to the sight of pointed ears, greenish skin, stern faces, and that of Mother. Though she knew it would be frowned upon, T'kayeda allowed a small smile. Freedom! A planet everyone once could only dream of getting to. The stories told by those who had grown up here ran through her mind as the regenerators and other equipment put her back together once more. Never again would she have to endure such trauma, or so she hoped. Father was in bad shape, very bad shape, but they said he would live. She made herself believe they would heal all of his burns and breaks, repair all of the damage. Mother would not let her see him, but T'kayeda forced her mind to think of him as whole once more. They had the future they always had dreamed about right in front of them now. They were safe!

Safe... it is a relative term at best. What constitutes being "safe?" Is it a place to live inside of with food security? Is it a lack of ones enemies being around? Whatever "safe" is, it was not Vulcan, at least, not for T'kayeda. It wasn't for a lack of effort in trying to see it as safe, or even in trying to make it safe. There were too many odds against her.

First and foremost was that she was the child of reunificationists. Oh, they were tolerated on Vulcan, which was an improvement over some of her past experiences, but they were not embraced in any way. Second, was that she was a half-breed, and was called so by many a Vulcan teen who would practice logic and Surak only when an adult was paying attention. Third, despite all she had studied and prepared for while recovering, Vulcans her age were still ahead of her academically. This meant nights of intensive tutoring, in order for her to catch up in time for entrance exams into the Academy of Sciences. She was also working with her elder cousin, Soton, as he was a highly regarded healer. He had been helping her rebuild what the Tal Shiar had stolen. No, she would never be a Healer herself, but she now wasn't constantly walking wounded either. It allowed her to start training again in her other passion, diplomacy. Fourth, adults (Vulcan or off-worlders,) who may have meant well, were making comments about why Mother and the others of the clan kept Father alive. Some went so far as to say that letting him die would have been more logical.

It isn't as if Father had given anyone a choice. From the moment he was taken from stasis, he fought. Through days and weeks of procedures to repair his skin, lungs, airway, and bones, he battled to stay alive. No, he could no longer walk, and he was still quite disfigured, but his mind was intact and his hands were still able to do basic work. He wouldn't be fine-tuning anything, but he was still able to work inside of the home. His voice was now raspy, versus the strong and steady tone he once had. He still had some quality of life.

Or he did...

Mother had gone on a mission to retrieve more reunificationists from the other side of the line. A relay of ships had been set up and T'kayeda had taken a break from her studies to be on the small escort ship which would be bringing the refugees through the final leg of the race to safety. Unlike Mothers last two retrieval missions, this one went badly. The ship she was on had been in fierce battle and barely made it to the escort. They were starting to beam people over when a cascading failure started in the warp core. People raced to escape pods, but not all got out unscathed. What came out of her pod was barely alive. The ship quickly finished beaming those in the pods over and then raced towards Vulcan. T'kaeyda held her mothers hand, willing her to stay alive, but it wasn't to be. Her katra passed into T'kayeda's mind. A warning was sent to Soton to get to Father quickly. He barely made it on time.

Father was alive, but the severing of the marriage bond, along with T'kayeda not being present to help him through the trauma, left his mental functions in shambles. She returned to him barely conscious and calling not just for her and mother, but for a person she had never heard of before, though something about it sounded and seemed familiar. It took time for him to regain some semblance of who he once was, but Soton warned it likely was a temporary reprieve. He offered to take over Fathers care, moving in with them to better do so in his off hours. It allowed T'kayeda to finish her studies, though she knew a difficult decision needed to be made. If even Vulcan wasn't feeling safe, then why was she bothering to stay? Diplomacy here would be stifling, leaning too hard on logic and not enough on anything else. She couldn't be who she once was, the one she had glimpses of back when they lived on the other side of the line.

The question was... would she be strong enough to make that decision?

Monday, March 24, 2014

History of a Halfbreed (part 5 and 6)

(Part 5)
It was a week before she and many of the others were found. Being how it had to have been someone on the inside who betrayed the clans, some of their planned escape routes had been blocked. Thankfully, the person seemed to not have known about the ship they kept hidden in a nearby solar system. The large cargo vessel crept into orbit three days after the attack and, slowly, the survivors were beamed aboard. The mole also didn't know of many of the other reunificationist groups in other cities. Though some fled to safety there, one hundred forty-seven survivors made the ship their new home. No one knows how they made it out of the system safely, but they did. The ship, its residents shocked, injured and in stages of sorrow, picked a common route to travel deeper into Romulan space and began to blend in with the other transport vessels.

T'kayeda barely spoke for a month. Even the Elder sent to train her, J'arn, could not get more than a phrase or two from her. Many were worried of damage done from the severing of the bond, but nothing obvious could be found. It may have just been her way of coping. She worked quietly, studied endlessly, and took to staring out at the stars for hours at a time. Only when she was alongside her father, fixing one of the endless broken parts on the old vessel, did she come out of her shell. Mother worried, something illogical, but watched and let time do its healing. As the months passed, T'kayeda started to interact more with the others her age and spoke up again. It was a good thing too.

In her eleventh year, tenth month and fourth day of life, Hobus blew apart. With it, Romulus and Remus and countless other planets in the nearby systems vanished. Numbers unfathomably high died. The Romulan/Rihansu race was now a third of what it had been. It's people scattered everywhere, colonies were in chaos, and there was so much suffering. The Federation tried to help. Even the Klingons attempted to assist. Some groups accepted the help. Many reunificationists ran for the closest Federation ships and did all they could to support efforts. The cargo ship was quickly filled with refugees from the blast. The bays were turned into camps with any supplies which could be bartered for. It became very crowded very quickly. T'kayeda took to helping her peers as they arrived. She showed them around, helped them with their education and became a bit of a mentor to them. J'arn and Mother smiled, seeing the child bloom in such tragedy. It took a weight off of their shoulders -something which was needed.

In the space which was left after the blast, the darkest side of the Rihansu race began to thrive. The Tal Shiar. Those who had attacked anyone who failed to follow their mandates to the letter had seen this as a way to completely take over. These were the masterminds of the attacks on the reunificationist clans. They exploded from the debris and started taking control of everything possible. Children were brought in to be trained as future soldiers. Teenagers scripted in whether they wanted to be or not. The Tal Shiar had ways of making them obey.

The cargo vessel was constantly on guard, always on the move. All knew why. As Vulcans, Romulans and Remans learned to live together in the ship - they all hoped and prayed they could make it to Federation space. The vessel was slow and, because it had to stay in the shadows, it could take months to get there. But...somehow...some way they had to make it.

(Part 6)
Pain! So much pain. It felt like fire, felt like ice, felt sharp.
Screams...were they hers or one of the other unfortunates from the smallest of now three cargo vessels. A convoy did make a larger target, but were not so common that why...why were they attacked again? 
T'kayeda had been on that vessel for the last week, helping some of the new families settle in. It was a tiny ship of just fifty-two people, but they needed so much assistance. T'kayeda fought past the pain, forcing herself to remember where she was and how she got there. The convoy had scattered when the Tal Shiar ship appeared. They must have followed the easiest target. She remembered the explosions as she held onto a little toddler of a girl. Thinking hard she remembered the tractor beam and the boarding party. Yes, she had been captured by those they all feared the most.
More pain, laughter, questions, something burning in her veins. She swore and spit and became almost feral under the torture from the guards. How dare they do this! She would tell them nothing. But it hurt so bad! Maybe one secret to make the pain stop for a time? long had she been here on this table or in that cell? How long had she called out - losing control of all the skills so carefully taught by her Vulcan mother and teacher. 

And then it stopped for a moment. There were more explosions and screams - but it wasn't from those being tortured. She saw a race she was unfamiliar with come through the smoke. They helped her out of the cell. They took her off the Tal Shiar ship. Darkness took her for more unknown days. When she woke, there was still so much pain. Her mind felt torn apart. She could barely focus, her emotions raw, her body barely able to move. She was in the sickbay of those who rescued her, the bluish faces looking at her sadly. A universal translator was placed so she could understand them. Sometimes she wished she couldn't. Only nine survived the assault and the rigors of capture and torture. She listened and learned she had been in the hands of the Tal Shiar for just over four days and was the youngest survivor. T'kayeda also learned how severe her injuries were and how the ship did not have advanced enough equipment to effectively treat her. The equipment was older and some of it was quite primitive and the treatments hurt - but not as bad as the torture did. She also learned the people were mercenaries, but ones who hated the Tal Shiar. They were looking for T'kayeda's people. 

It was three more weeks before they found the cargo vessel. Mothers face showed true emotion at the discovery of her daughter being alive. Father picked her up in his arms, cradling her as if she were an infant. T'kayeda listened to the medic describe the injuries and findings and apologize repeatedly for not being able to do more. Then the captain came down and said he had called in a favor or two. A series of contacts had been made and they could be lead to a safer location. This one was closer to the Federation border. It would give them a better chance of either escaping or reaching out to those who could get them to safety. The decision was made to trust the mercenaries and they were escorted over the next month and then given a place to hide the ship. 

All the time T'kayeda listened. Just like when her bonded friend had been killed, she didn't speak. This time though, it was because she really couldn't. Even when she tried, nothing came out or it was jibberish. She also could not walk, her legs shattered so bad and the regenerator did such poor work that the damage had to heal on its own. She endured months of rehabilitation on all fronts. Those she had helped now visited her. She hated their expression though. She despised their words of sympathy and how they spoke to her like a young child. She was twelve point eight twp years old!  Only a few really just sat and talked to her. J'arn worked with her mind tirelessly. He was honest with her, saying exactly what the type of probing and chemical washing and damage from beatings had done to her. T'kayeda worked the hardest with him. She knew her abilities had been strong once and, deep inside, she felt they could be again. Seven months from the attack and torture, her body healed enough for her to walk unaided among the refugees. It seemed to give them strength to see her. Two months after that, her mind healed enough for her to speak again. 

Conversations among many of the reunificationist adults changed as she continued to recover. They needed to break from the ship. They had to run for Vulcan. What happened to "their hope" or "their child" could not be allowed to happen again. The clan unified around that mindset and started threading connections to get them out of Romulan space. 

History of a Halfbreed (Part 3 and 4)

(Part 3)
Those connections were how this particular group was able to leave the planet and barely anyone tried to stop them. It is how, days later, a quick drop-off of supplies filled a cargo hold. This was the work of D'tan's people. He had cultivated a network to help the others who believed that Vulcans and Romulans could live together again. That network heard the distress call, knew of the escape plan and brought in those who remained somewhat in the shadows on their beliefs to have a conflict above the planet. Republic versus Tal-Shiar was common. Having a ship sneak out in the battle wasn't...

The cargo vessel held the survivors in cramped, but comfortable safety. Quarters were shared by smaller families and bunks were built to hold singles in a small hold. thirty-three out of forty-seven who had been in the camp, now called it home. Days, weeks, months and finally over three years passed. They floated in deep space, hoping that with time their numbers could grow as the Tal-Shiar forgot about this particular group. Sometimes, minor conflicts broke out inside the ship. Sometimes, they were attacked by pirates or alien clans trying to prove something random. Rarely did they stop anywhere for more than a few days.

T'kayeda was in conflict almost constantly.

She sat up on a crate one morning, watching Father work. When he'd call for a certain tool, she would toss it down to him. Next to her was a ship component that needed fixing. She was barely seven years old, but had become a help to Father. While he never actually took time to teach her, she learned by watching and by intuition. He could send her into a conduit with a spanner and she'd return a short time later with the problem fixed. Father rarely had to give more than a simple direction or two. T'kayeda found the hours helping him maintain the ship a stimulating exercise. Also, as he was a man of few words, this was how they bonded. The others saw she had Fathers talent for engineering and some started handing the child smaller projects to work on. It did take a lot to keep the old vessel in shape. On that day, T'kayeda was tinkering with the component and speaking to another member when Mother walked in. She had an expression on her face which T'kayeda had long ago learned to dread. See, the child had been speaking in a dialect of Rihannsu which Mother disagreed on her learning. It was full of underworld slang and was in no way a proper language for her child to speak. However, it was the language spoken on many of the stations they visited for supplies. Mother looked at the adult, then to the now quiet child. At T'kayeda's side, a tiny fist clenched. She knew what was coming.

"Your father can finish the task on his own." She turned and left.
From where he was working on a shuttle, Father looked over and shrugged. He cherished his wife, but knew some battles just were not worth having. T'kayeda frowned before jumping off the crate and following the woman.

If Mother had her way, she'd be studying from wake up call to curfew and do nothing else. At least, that is the way the child saw it. Lessons in advanced mathematics, literature and the sciences. Lessons on logic and emotional control. Lessons on survival skills, as she was almost old enough for Kas-Wan...though a suitable planet needed to be found. There were also lessons on controlling what now could not be avoided. The child had a high esp rating and it showed. She could sense what others wanted, what they really were trying to say, what their surface emotions were and more. As there wasn't one on the ship with such skills or training on how to protect a mind that young, Mother did what she could. T'kayeda was tired of lessons. She wanted to interact with the handful of other children in a setting outside of lessons. She wanted to work alongside Father. She wanted to be off of the ship most of all. In her dreams she could remember what it was like for the short time they were on a planet. She wanted to breathe fresher air, to have soil under her feet and to have more people to talk to. The people here were no longer a challenge to interact with. However, she wanted to please Mother more. Perhaps if she focused more, learned more, talked less, the constant lessons would stop because Mother was proud of her progress.

It was right after she turned eight standard years that her pointed ears heard her parents speaking late one night. They were speaking of bonding ceremonies, of a boy from a reunificationist camp who was also half Vulcan and half Romulan. It could be a way to join the two groups more. Mother spoke of how it would be beneficial for everyone to be able to work together more towards their common goal. She saw logic and reasoning. Father did not want his daughter bonded, but he knew the small clan on this tiny cargo ship could not thrive until something big changed. He saw more hands, a chance to be planetside again, safety among numbers large enough to spread out and not be such a cluster which drew attention. They both saw that it might be a way to settle T'kayeda down a little. The years on the small ship had made the child restless.

T'kayeda saw conflict. She had read of the ceremony and concept of bonding. Though she had practiced surface mind touches, this would be much different. The boys mind would be joined to hers and a bond painfully created. She could look through it to his and he to hers... if they bothered to do so. She knew that, due to respect for privacy, most never did. Due to distances, educational tasks, clan conflicts and other reasons, many bonded children barely knew the person they were to eventually marry. T'kayeda wanted nothing to do with any of it. In her young mind it was frightening. She recognized her budding abilities and worried if she'd be able to keep his thoughts out of her mind. However, if it meant she could help her ship family and help her parents dreams of reunifying the two cultures, then she would do so.

(Part 4)

On a warm morning three months later, she did. The ceremony was held inside a cramped house just on the edge of the "slums" on a massive colony world. Older Vulcans stood around the two children as a trained Elder assisted in forming the bond between their fragile minds. T'kayeda had known the boy for three weeks now. He had been friendly to her, not forced friendly like she had been to him, but genuinely interested in her. She paid closer attention than most had thought she could to each step of the ceremony and process. When the moment came for the meld to be ripped away, leaving the lingering thread of a bond between them, she did the unimaginable. T'kayeda did the painful tearing just a split second before the Elder could. He was nearly thrown back from the force of her action and even the most strict of the reunificationist Vulcans gasped. Another quickly came forward to see if any damage had been done by the seemingly rash action. However, there was no damage to be found, only a proper bond and two children who now looked into each other eyes. For the first time since arriving on the planet, T'kayeda smiled.

She wasn't smiling that night though. Both families were taking turns berating the child. Sometimes almost yelling, other times the cold tone of years of logic came her way. The child looked down and pretended to care about what she had done. When the families were convinced she was regretful, she was sent to isolation in one of the stripped down shuttles they kept hidden underground. Sometimes discipline was needed among a group so large, and it acted almost like a brig then. Other times, it was one of the few places a mind could get some peace amidst the sprawling city. In this situation, it was the agreed upon punishment. Perhaps if the child learned what it was like to be without others for a few days she would be more apt to listen to logic. T'kayeda went willingly, still pretending to be repentant. Minimal water and no food was left as the door shut and she was left in the dim shell.

At first it seemed a novel glory for the nine year old. Finally, she could think without having to expend the energy to keep her mental shielding up tightly. So many minds, so many more than on the ship. This group was much larger than her own home clan of followers. They spread out between the edge of the slums and all the way into infiltrating the higher hierarchy on the planet. She had counted over a thousand in their first meeting at an arranged concert. Never again, on that planet, would that many gather who believed in reunification. She had even met two of the men that her family saw in almost a god-like fashion. The younger of the two had been very kind to the child. He had found her the teacher who would soon be working with T'kayeda on her mental skills. But for now, she was left in silence. The novelty lasted for the first day. By the second, she was starting to miss the now seemingly comforting pressure of other minds against hers. On the third, she started to be truly repentant for her actions. Silent tears fell against a face now fighting emotion and battling for control. As she laid on the cold floor, lost in her own quiet world, comfort came to her in the form of a small thread between two minds. She was not alone. The boy was there too.

From that day forward, the two children were rarely apart. To T'kayeda, he was her best friend and a stabilizing factor for her. Being planetside, though it had been what she longed for while on the ship, wasn't at all what she had expected. She hated the city and wanted to be back where there had been trees and free-flowing water and clear sky. She had only seen those things three times since they arrived, and that had been when some had traveled to the more distant members of the joined clan. With the boy at her side, T'kayeda was less restless and began to delve into her studies. The teacher the Rihansu reunificationist leader had promised had arrived, and if she were not with the boy, then she was with him. Because of both, Mother was learning that she had to let her child stray from her watchful eyes for more than a couple of hours. In the next two years, T'kayeda blossomed. Her skills started to be reigned in and honed towards what she was best at - being a diplomat among the younger generation. She could even be found negotiating disputes with the adults too. Another skill was coming out too. Her mind was so strong that talk began of her training to be a healer. The boy had a talent in mechanical work and Father had become a mentor to him. Many nights, the three of them would come in late from one of the storage zones the clans had set up around the region. They would be covered in dirt, lubricants and whatever else had been dug out of their task of that day. Both clans were thrilled with the friendship between T'kayeda and the boy. With them not growing up strangers, there was a even better chance for them to represent the ideals being taught.

And then the bottom fell out again. The children had been walking back from classes, keeping to the shadows as always. This time, the sky didn't explode with the smoke and fire from an above attack. This time it was a precision strike. The soldiers knew what homes to go into, what roads to be placed on and what faces to shoot at. There had been a mole...

T'kayeda tried to pull the boy into one of the tunnels as he watched in horror. She knew this time what to do... but so did a soldier. He was waiting at the entrance and grabbed the eleven year old. It was enough to snap the boy out of his shock. He leaped on the back of the soldier, biting and kicking so the creature would let go of his bonded one. The solider did, then grabbed the boy off of his back. He pinned him upside down, grabbed the boys legs and then swung around. The boys skull cracked against the tunnel entrance and he fought no more. T'kayeda screamed from a combination of the severed bond and the emotions of losing her friend. She then ran like she had never ran before...

Monday, January 27, 2014

The History of a Halfbreed (part 1 and 2)

 (Part 1)
It wasn't anything new or exciting, nothing for the heavens to open up about or the comms to boast over. No one but a few even seemed to notice the miniscule event of thirty-seven point seven four standard years ago. The moment occurred where billions of others had taken place... in a corner of a space-faring ship. It was the birth of a child.

She was very small, coming nine weeks before her time. Her skin was flushed green from the blood vessels being so close to the surface - a common condition with premature births. There wasn't enough time in-utero to build up a layer of fat. Her cries were faint as she was cleaned up and placed in a makeshift incubator. The nurse, who delivered her, quickly got to work stabilizing both baby and mother. It had been a hard day for everyone.

The ship was on the run again and smoke still lingered from the attack. People had been injured by those whom they had been trying to help. The rift seemed impossible to close on days like today. Yet everyone pressed forward. Both species were strong, built from the same lineage thousands of years ago. Doctrinal differences had separated them across the span of space. Nature and force of will adapting them until they were two difference species. One race turned militaristic and lived lives of distrust. Hatred abounded and factions warred against the others. Green blood spilled constantly. The other race bedded down deeper into its realms of knowledge and logic and management of emotions. It wasn't an entirely peaceful race, but it was a calmer one. This baby was both.

Now that was a bit more unusual. A child with a Vulcan mother and Romulan father generally came about via more violent methods. This child was conceived out of something close to love. He was a former sub-commander who could no longer stand the ways of his people and wanted to learn more diplomatic methods. She was a reunificationist. They both wanted a better future for the Romulan people and felt by bringing the two species back together, the future they desired could happen. T'kayeda, as they quickly named her, was a symbol of that hope. If she lived...

There were days when, even with some advanced technologies, the little one almost died. The ship had old equipment and was not set up for a premature infant. Most all of what they did have in pediatrics had been bartered for along the way. T'kayeda did survive, and slowly she started to thrive. One thing everyone noticed from the start, the baby seemed very alert and observant. Even when fevers raged or she had trouble with feeding, her eyes followed anyone who came near. As time went on, she started catching up to the normal development of a Romulan baby, but never quite to the level of a Vulcan one. That would take more time...

*fast forward three years*

"T'kayeda!" The woman's voice was firm.
The child stopped in her tracks. She had a weighted backpack on and was running ahead of her mother. They lived on a colony planet right now, and the woman was using every spare moment to work on the child's strength and stamina. Spending her first two years on a derelict spacecraft did no favors with her rough start added onto it. The last fourteen months had made a world of difference. She was keeping up with her peers in all areas and was quickly learning Kahr'y'tan (the philosophy of Vulcan), meditation and logic. She needed all of it, for the child had a fierce temper.
"Yes, Mother?" She didn't even seem winded after the fifteen mile run.
The woman simply raised an eyebrow.
T'kayeda sighed. "I was only a little bit outside of your imposed distance."
Another raised eyebrow, "Precision, child."
"I was ... four point two meters in front of the fifteen meter boundary for running in front of you."
"Four point three. Why do we have the boundary?"
The child looked skyward and tried not to sigh. Mother didn't like sighing. "There are people here and in the sector who do not believe the way we do and who do not wish for us to be here. The boundary is set so I do not stray farther than you or Father can reach in three seconds."
The woman nodded. "We will return to camp and start your lessons."

For a three year old who had not been part of Vulcan's infant schools, T'kayeda was a quick study. She soaked up knowledge from all sources. If she was not learning from her mother, then she was asking questions of the others in their camp or talking with those from the nearby town. Even when trying to be formal, mimicking her mother, she was able to negotiate for what she desired. It was a skill the other reunificationists noticed and were pleased to see. One of those things was a stuffed animal which looked something like a rat - but with six legs. It was not logical, but she had wanted it and reasoned the ownership of it from so many angles that her mother relented. The object went everywhere with the child. It was with her in the camp, in the village, next to her sleep-mat. It was even in the weighted backpack.

And it was with her when the group was discovered...

(Part 2)
Father had been working until very late for weeks now. He hadn't been attending the meetings Mother and the other reunificationists held. T'kayeda had been told that he was working on a ship. Since that is what Father usually did - generally for others to make money - she shrugged it off. She knew he checked on her as she slept and it was all that mattered to her. Sometimes he would bring old parts home for her to work on. At first, Mother did not agree, until she saw that the three year old had a knack for taking the equipment apart and many times could put it back together again accurately. Lately, it was one of the few activities she could do. Mother kept her in the camp almost constantly. For the last month she had only been to the town one time. She missed her little friends and asked often as to why she could not go talk to the adults there. Mother just gave her blanket answers or told her to be quiet.

It was another month before she was in town. T'kayeda was thrilled, as she hadn't even been on the long runs around the area in weeks. Mother put a near empty pack on her little back and the child grabbed her small stuffed animal. They were almost to town when Mother turned to her.
"T'kayedakam, listen very closely. You must follow everything I say."
She waited until the child looked in her eyes and nodded.
"It will be hard, but you may not speak to anyone, except to answer common greetings. You must stay close to me. No more than 3 meters away."
T'kayeda started to protest, but the look Mother gave quieted her in an instant.
"Yes, Mother." She responded unhappily.
Some of the others were going to town as well. All had bags for supply purchases. Those who stayed behind seemed to be busy cleaning up the camp, making it so nothing unnecessary was out of crates or bags. It was very solemn feeling. The atmosphere kept the child quiet and uneasy.

The group separated as soon as they were in the town. Some started general conversations with people they knew, while others went to the marketplace. T'kayeda's little backpack was soon full of root vegetables, a couple of blankets, some smaller medical supplies and a single pack of her favorite sweet treats. She was quiet, smiling shyly at the vendors and only speaking when spoken to. She was still too young to notice the people in the shadows or how some people seemed less friendly than before.

Then it happened. A military ship zoomed overhead and started dropping explosives. Another made a strafing run just as those shadows became soldiers. Someone in the town had betrayed their presence and beliefs. However, those who had betrayed forgot the Tal Shiar did not care who was around. If you had been in contact with the enemy in any way you were counted loss. People started screaming, started falling, started dying. Buildings exploded and the world turned into a haze of smoke mixed with the stentch of green blood burning. T'kayedas mother grabbed her and started dragging her down allies. Frightened by the sounds and her first sight of carnage, the child cried out. Mother hissed for her to be silent once, but when she cried again, Mother slapped her across the face. T'kayeda went silent. She was herded into a system of tunnels, around corners and through ancient grates for the next two days. All the time she could hear the whimpers of the injured. All the time she was forbidden to make a sound.

On the third day, they arrived in a large cave. It was there that the other survivors trickled in. Most of what was in the camp had been lost, but the one thing they really needed was unharmed. Above them, in a shallow dugout, sat a small cargo vessel. It had been carefully cloaked for months under the bedrock and a low level cloak. Only the deepest of scans would have picked it up. T'kayeda's Father was with it. He had picked the traumatized child up, holding her close as he showed her the ship.
"This is our new home, Daughter. It is better than the ship you were born on. We will be safer here, I promise."
She clung to him, knowing he would have been hard at work making sure his words would be the truth.

It was a freezing cold night two weeks later, when the enemy wasn't looking, that the escape from the colony planet happened. See, the reunificationists had connections too...