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Tsereteli and Sen: The Desoran Operation 
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Post Tsereteli and Sen: The Desoran Operation
<Desora VI, Malkar Province, Jeurdo City, Late 2389>

Obfuscated by a relentless downpour the settlement of Jeurdor had seemed far more diminutive than Captain Erik Tsereteli had been told, no bustling metropolis was to be seen on such a day only the dark and deserted streets of a city in hibernation. That was just as well for the bedraggled Starfleet officers, the Captain and his companion, Lieutenant Commander Archana Sen hadn't wanted to be seen lurking about and the cover that the storm had provided was just what they had needed. Indeed, their mission had been a success, they had collected data that Starfleet hoped would prove an enemy presence on the politically unaligned planet.

Peering out from behind the corner of a building, Captain Tsereteli confirmed that their path was clear and motioned for his Chief Security Officer to follow him closely. He then darted out across the river like avenue and into another dark alley on the other side, "we should be getting close..."

Even though she was completely soaked, with rivulets of cold rain running down her face and her dark hair slipping precariously from its usual upsweep to cling to her face, Archana was in surprisingly high spirits. The chance for a little cloak and dagger adventure, as an old human relative liked to call it, was always refreshing, not to mention somewhat exciting, and the current mission was no exception. Staying close to Erik, the Betazoid looked dubiously at their surroundings while surreptitiously pulling her tricorder free. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” she said, just loud enough so that her companion could hear her over the downpour, “but we’re heading in the wrong direction.”

"Hows that?" Erik questioned in a sharp yet hushed voice as he spun about to regard Archana. "We're heading back the same way we came..."

Archana just managed not to roll her eyes in full view of her Commanding Officer, though it was difficult to suppress the urge. Honestly, Erik was so typically male sometimes. Even in life or death situations, he would be the last one to ask for directions, she was half sure. “It would appear that the tricorder agrees with me. And besides, I distinctly recall that we took a right an alley or so back, when we should have taken a le—” All thoughts of direction fled as Archana’s tricorder flared to life with new readings. Abandoning her argument, the Security Officer was suddenly all business again. “We’re being followed.”

Erik's hand instantly went to his phaser and he removed it from it's holster inside of his black overcoat. After a quick glance at the weapon's settings the Captain motioned forward and the pair moved on at an increased pace. "How many?"

Blinking a sudden splash of rainwater out of her eyes, Archana looked intently at the tricorder’s glowing screen. “I count four. Three appear to be Nausicaans, but the fourth…” She frowned darkly. “The fourth is unknown.” Reaching for her own phaser, Archana quickened her pace so that she was now striding shoulder to shoulder beside Erik.

The pair darted from alley to alley, two shadowy silhouettes in the torrential weather but not so well obscured that those pursuing them had lost their trail. With a glance over his shoulder Erik could just make out two large figures gaining on them, presumably Nausicaans, the thought of their interrogation wasn't at all appealing. Tapping his comm-badge Erik was prepared to make a hasty exit before analyzing his data, if it wasn't complete they would have to risk a separate incursion but it was a better option than interrogation and death. The problem was that nothing happened.

"My comm-badge," he signaled to Archana through heavy breaths. "It's not working, yours?"

Her back to Erik’s so that she could face their pursuers head-on if necessary, Archana swiftly tapped her comm-badge. As she already expected, it was pointless. The device had been soaked through, even beneath the layers of her outer clothing. “The rain,” she said, heaving a frustrated sigh. “These won’t do us any good, at least not until we can get them dry.”

"We cant outrun them," Erik said as he threw himself around another corner, pulling Archana along with him by her jacket. A green disruptor blast narrowly missed her head and impacted a nearby wall sending out a shower of small debris.

Archana made a mental note to thank Erik for likely saving her life. She wasn’t so sure their pursuers’ weapons were set on stun. Darting a few glances around the alley they were currently rushing along, the Betazoid suddenly dug her heels into the ground, forcing Erik to stop if he didn’t want to leave her behind. After shaking free from his grip, Archana now took Erik by the arm, leading the pair to a darkened door that lay half-concealed in the shadows. Filled with adrenaline as she was, it took all of three solid, well-placed kicks for the door to hurtle in on itself, hanging pathetically on its old-fashioned hinges while light suddenly poured out from within. “Gentlemen first,” she said, gesturing to the doorway.

Erik had to admit that he was a little stunned by Archana's sudden burst of action but at the same time the scene had evoked something else within him. He had served with Lieutenant Sen for several years and they had had their moments but for the first time Erik was beginning to see the security officer as more peer than subordinate. Shaking off the momentary lapse of attentiveness he stepped into the doorway, Archana couldn't see the grin that had formed on his face.

Once inside Erik's attention was quickly drawn to the sound of foreign music in some chamber deeper within the structure, somewhere beyond the dark corridor that he found before him. With phaser ready he slowly stepped forward, focus so trained on hearing what was in front of him that he only loosely registered the sound of the door closing behind him. "Any idea where we are?" he whispered back toward the Lieutenant.

Her body still fairly humming with excess adrenaline, Archana paused only to make sure the door was as firmly shut as possible behind them before joining Erik in the corridor. She pulled her tricorder free once more and quickly perused its readings. “I'm not entirely sure. There appears to be a much larger room down this way, judging by all the life signs I’m reading coming from that direction.” She paused to grin wryly at Erik. “I’m also sensing some…interesting…emotions from the inhabitants. My guess is that there’s quite a party happening here. And,” she added, glancing over her shoulder, “I’d say we’re better off joining said party than waiting here for our pursuers to find us.”

Erik regarded his companion with skepticism but knew that she was right, the only problem was that they were hardly dressed for a casual night out on the town. Disregarding that truth for a moment Erik cautiously moved forward, he rounded a corner in the hallway before finding himself at a closed door, the sound of music thrumming easily through it. He cracked the door slightly and was immediately confronted by the loud music and the scent of some kind of smoke, he quickly closed the door and suppressed a cough. "Ops didn't replicate us evening wear," he half mused.

Archana raised an eyebrow, smirking slightly. “If that party in there is half as wild as it sounds, then I’d say that no one in attendance will notice what we’re wearing, let alone remember us at all come the morning.” All the same, the Security Officer made a halfhearted attempt to fix her hair, relocating various pins in hopes that she’d look a little less waterlogged than she felt. “All we need is to lie low while we buy ourselves some time. With luck, our comm badges will work again after they’ve dried a bit anyway.” Determinedly opening the door, she tossed an arch look over her shoulder. “And who knows? We might even have some fun while we’re waiting,” she laughed, mostly joking, before pushing her way into the room.

Erik growled under his breath as he was dragged into the room behind Archana, he had been prepared to pull rank to avoid the situation but before he could protest they were in. As he had suspected they were grossly out of place, most in the room wore local styles of dress suits or thin dresses that left little to the imagination all quite stylish while he and Archana wore what most would consider formal business attire. Erik ditched his jacked behind a pillar, at least without the overcoat he seemed to be mostly dry. With a steadying sigh Erik put on a smile and tried to pretend as if he was enjoying himself.

Her tricorder and phaser both safely hidden away, yet close at hand should she need them, Archana followed suit and tossed her jacket aside. The music was unlike any she’d ever heard before, a thrumming, sinuous sort of sound that was rather exotic, if somewhat harsh, to her ears. A thick, purplish smoke hung heavily in the air, making the room around them hazy and adding a sense of mystery and unreality to the scene. The party's patrons seemed to be having what she euphemistically would call a very good time. Their loud voices and raucous laughter only added to the increasing din, and the emotions she sensed from them were heady indeed.

“Now all we need to do is stay together,” Archana said, addressing Erik behind her. Except, she realized a mere moment later, Erik was no longer behind her. Whipping around in semi-alarm, she searched about her with widening eyes until she saw him again, borne away to what constituted as a dance floor by the insistent arms of no less than three females. Unsure whether she wanted to laugh or stamp her foot at the sight, she took a single step forward before she herself was waylaid, halted in her tracks by a male in a garish yellow suit and with a proffered drink in his hand.

Ignoring whatever awful pickup line the man yelled over the noise, Archana put on her most seductive smile as she placed her hand on his arm. “Dance with me,” she stated and was gratified when the man readily agreed, taking her by the hand towards the opposite end of the room. At least this way she’d be near Erik again without blowing their cover. Then, somehow, she could work out a way to get them off the dance floor and, most important of all, off the planet entirely.

"What planet did you say you were from dear?" purred the demure Desoran woman who pulled Erik along by his left arm. Her skin was a much brighter orange than the others, her hair raven black and cut short with long bangs. Alltogether she was the more attractive of the three, at least in Erik's estimation.

"He didn't say at all, you only just met the man," stated another Desoran with a hint of annoyance as she pulled Erik by his right arm. This one was a pale orange, she wore her hair long and tied back, so much so that it stretched the skin on her face; presumably for a more youthful appearance?

"Actually, he is a Hoo-mon. Homo-Sapiens Sapiens, by their own terminology," the third of the Desoran females chimed in with a mousy voice, drawing the attention of the others as well as Erik's.

"That's right," Erik replied with an impressed if shocked expression. He hadn't even noticed the third companion until she spoke up and after taking notice he was surprised that he hadn't. While shorter and far less physically 'endowed' than the other two this Desoran's bright teal green eyes seemed to draw him in and made him wish to stay locked with their gaze. "How did yo..?"

"I'm Jaasata," interrupted the second of Erik's 'companions', her lips curled up in what might she have intended as a seductive smile. Her hand clasped Erik's face by the cheeks and lead it awkwardly close to her own. "I'm the one you want to talk to if you're interested in getting to know us better."

From a few feet away, Archana observed Erik and his, for lack of a better term, companions. She was having an incredibly awkward time keeping her dance partner’s hands to himself, especially since she had to maintain her persona of a woman who would actually want to attend a party such as this. She hardly paid any attention to whatever the Desoran man was trying to say, but deftly and subtly managed to maneuver their nearly entwined bodies so that they came even closer to Erik. The sooner she could step in, the better. As important as it was to hide from their pursuers, this was getting ridiculous.

"Actually," Erik managed through his squeezed cheeks before freeing his face with a hand as gently as he could. The three Desoran women were obviously a 'S'lassa Dii', loosely translated 'Bachelorette Trio' or a legally linked group of women in search of a mate. With a low population of Males on Desora it was no wonder that such practices had become common. Despite the novelty of the idea Erik had no intention of following the situation to it's logical conclusion, lucky for him Archana had appeared in the arms of a Desoran man only a short distance away. "Actually, ladies, I'm already spoken for..."

The trio shifted their gaze following Erik's and each one's face ran the gamut from disappointment to open disdain but it was Jaasata who spoke, "I think you'd find yourself far more... Satiated, with us, Human."

“I think not.” Archana spoke crisply and firmly, having finally had enough of the charade. She didn’t like seeing Erik surrounded and manhandled by three awfully forward women, nor did she like the odd surge of jealousy that the sight inspired within her. Though she had no real claim over him whatsoever, as his Chief of Security, she reminded herself, she would do whatever it took to keep her Commanding Officer safe. In this instance, she felt that keeping him safe from predatory Desoran women definitely counted.

Having abandoned her dance partner mid-dance, Archana now sidled up beside Erik, placing a possessive hand on his arm and staring down the woman who had suggested that Erik might be better off elsewhere. It wasn’t terribly difficult, she found, to play the role of jealous and assertive significant other, and she’d apologize profusely to Erik later. “As diverting as this party is, darling,” she said, letting her gaze drift to Erik’s, “I find that I’m not so keen on the idea of sharing after all.” She gave a meaningful—and vaguely threatening—look at the three Desoran females to underscore her words.

"I understand, um, my dear," Erik replied trying as best he could to slip into the role, he really wasn't very convincing. He cast a mock apologetic look toward the three Desoran women followed by a brief sizing up of the male before taking Archana's arm and turning away. As they began to walk Erik could feel the Desoran's eyes on his back and he spoke under his breath,"that wasn't awkward at all..."

“Only about as awkward as your acting,” Archana said under her breath. Following Erik’s lead as they moved farther across the dance floor, she sensed rather than saw a commotion coming from somewhere behind them. Casting a covert look over her shoulder, she stiffened slightly when she saw a trio of Nausicaans at the edge of the room. “Our pursuers are here,” she said to Erik, her voice calm. “I don’t think they’re here to dance, either.” As she peered through the room’s haze, she could just make out another set of doors at the end of the dance floor. “I vote we make for those doors up ahead, but we have to do so casually. If we run, then the Nausicaans will have no trouble spotting us, even in this crowd.”

Erik casually peered over the crowd at the three hulking aliens as he and Archana slowly made their way through the throng toward the doors she had spotted. Eyes seemed to drift over them as they passed but if any of the Desoran's thought anything of the pair of Humans in their midst they didn't show it. Within ten seconds the officers had made it to the doors but as they did so the high-pitched scream of disruptor fire rang out from behind causing Erik to duck reflexively. A quick glance back revealed that one of the Nausicaans had fired his weapon into the ceiling and that the crowd was quickly scattering, being at the front of a wave of scared people Erik and Archana were swept into the lobby that waited beyond the double doors and finally out onto the wet streets once more.

With a lowly muttered string of curses that would have made her fellow Security Officers proud, Archana covertly reached for her phaser even as the panicked herd of Desorans pressed all around her. Casting her head over her shoulder to try to map the movement of the Nausicaans, the Betazoid’s attention was diverted for all of a moment, but it proved to be more than enough. Although Erik had been just beside her, when next she looked, all she saw were the panicked faces of the Desoran patrons. “Erik?” she called as loudly as she dared, trying to force her way through the crowd. But it was no use. If she didn’t want to be trampled, or draw unnecessary attention to herself, Archana simply had to let herself be pulled along with the rest of the herd.

By the time she was finally able to break free, Archana made a quick sweep of the alley she found herself in. As the Desorans trickled away, disappearing into the thickening fog, she found herself increasingly alone. Thankfully, it appeared that the Nausicaans were nowhere near… But neither was Erik. Archana reached quickly for her tricorder and froze when she came up with nothing. Her black eyes widened as she realized that the instrument must have somehow fallen from the secret pocket that held it in the crush of bodies she’d only recently escaped, leaving her with just a small phaser, a waterlogged comm badge, and a distinct lack of both coat and Commanding Officer.

“Perfect,” Archana murmured into the growing stillness around her. With little more than wits and intuition to guide her next move, the Security Chief picked a direction and hurried off into the night.

OFF:

This JP brought to you by:

Commodore Erik Tsereteli
Commanding Officer
USS-Sentinel NCC-83680

and

_________________
Lieutenant Archana Sen
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Sentinel NCC-83680


Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:32 pm
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Post Re: Tsereteli and Sen: The Desoran Operation
ON

<Desora VI, Malkar Province, Jeurdo City, Late 2389>

It wasn't long after the fleeing crowd began to disperse that Erik had to concede that he and Archana had been separated. With the rain pouring in sheets like it was combined with the already dingy lighting of the city it was impossible to make out individuals at any distance, despite the Captain's best efforts to do so. Unable to linger at the scene any longer he joined a few Desorans in their flight from the chaos.

A few blocks away Erik felt comfortable enough to deviate from the path that the aliens were taking and he found himself in some kind of abandoned storage facility. It was darker than the street and cluttered with the wreckage of scavenged debris but it was much to Erik's delight it was dry. The Captain removed his Tricorder from his trouser pocket and opened it but as he suspected it didn't function. All Starfleet equipment had been rated for use in foul weather, he took that as a testament to the degree of misery that the Desoran's had learned to tolerate.

A commotion in the near distance sent Erik into a crouching position and he quickly darted behind a derelict machine of some sort. He stayed low for a few moments until he was satisfied that no one was approaching before poking his head up to survey the scene. His gaze was greeted by that of a cat sized mammalian creature which had knocked a bit of debris loose higher up, it's fur stood on end and it's eyes looked menacing. "Right," Erik said as he stood and backed away, back out into the rain. "I'll find another spot."

Before setting out on their mission Erik and Archana had established a rally location should they be separated and presuming that she had not been captured the Captain knew that she would meet him there. The thought of Archana being interrogated by Nausicaans disturbed Erik greatly but he knew that his security chief was more than capable of taking care of herself. Erik had been trained as well and he knew better than to head back to a rendezvous location too quickly after encountering hostile forces and so he circled through the streets for the better part of an hour.

Soaking wet and satisfied that he was not being trailed he finally began to make his way toward their meeting place by zig-zagging various alleyways just to be sure. The room that they had secured was an unused office space at the rear of a commercial complex, the facility was all but deserted and saw very little foot traffic. In fact, the only movement they had seen on those streets the previous day was their own and that of their contact on Desora, presuming she could be trusted it was the most secure location available. As Erik approached the storefront he decided that he wasn't so sure that they could but with his mind consumed by getting out of the weather he decided that he would risk it.

OFF

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USS-Sentinel NCC-83680


Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:03 pm
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Post Re: Tsereteli and Sen: The Desoran Operation
ON:

<<Desora VI, Malkar Province, Jeurdo City, Late 2389>>

It was with no little relief that Archana watched Erik quietly slip through the door into the dark, dank, but blessedly dry room they had previously designated for their emergency rendezvous point. Somehow, though, that relief quickly transformed into something else entirely, and the ready, welcoming smile on her lips fell as her annoyance rose. “Where on earth have you been?” she all but demanded, already on her feet and moving to meet Erik in the center of the room. “I was just about ready to go out and start searching for you.”

Erik was taken back by his Security officer's sudden change in demeanor, the emotional reaction that he was seeing was not a side of Archana that he was accustomed to. Holding his hands up and taking a step back as Archana approached him he defended himself, "I wanted to make sure I wasn't being tailed. The last thing I wanted was to bring the Nausicaans back here..."

Archana had to admit to herself that it was a fair argument. Huffing out a breath, she visibly deflated as she glanced around the room, her gaze never quite settling on any one thing. “Well at least you’re here in one piece,” she said after a moment. “I was… Well, I was worried,” she admitted in a rush, giving him an arch look that was almost defiant. The admission was an uncomfortable one, though, and she tried to temper the moment with some levity by adding, “After all, I could never show my face back in the Security Department if I lost my Commanding Officer, now could I?”

"I suppose not," Erik replied with a slight grin after listening to Archana silently. She looked almost vulnerable to the Captain and suddenly Erik felt as though he was seeing Archana in an entirely new fashion. She was soaked from head to toe with her hair a mess and matted to her forehead and face, her casual outfit so water logged that it clung to her body like a wetsuit. He was so taken in by her seeming vulnerability that he had to force him self to look away before she caught the change in his gaze. Instead his eyes found the window where the only light that filled the room entered, casting the small space in a gloomy hue of green.

"Any word from Sentinel?" Erik continued with a question as he cast a quick glance back at Archana, not allowing his eyes to wonder anywhere but to hers.

Archana’s senses flared, and the empathy realized that Erik was uncomfortable. More to the point, she had made him uncomfortable. Feeling a strange pang of embarrassment, even though she had no idea what she’d done precisely to make him react that way, she casually took a few steps away, feigning interest in her still unresponsive comm badge. “Until our equipment dries, I don’t think we have much hope of contacting them. We may be in for a longer stay than we anticipated, unless they find us first.”

"And they aren't expecting us back for several more hours," Erik finished Archana's thought for her. "I doubt they would begin looking for us at all until morning." The thought of being stuck in hiding for ten or more hours while sopping wet and cold wasn't Erik's idea of a good time but as he removed the data chip from his pocket and examined it he told himself that it would be worth it. He glanced away from the window back toward Archana again and even in the dim light could see clearly that she was freezing. He would offer her his overcoat had it not been cast aside at the speak easy, "are you going to be okay Lieutenant?"

Even as she fought against a shiver, Archana smiled, determined to find and keep her equilibrium. Normally she tried and succeeded to remain upbeat. Given the circumstances, though, as she stood there, cold and alone in the dark with Erik, she was feeling decidedly off-kilter, a sensation she was none too fond of. “Of course I will be,” she assured Erik, meaning every word. “It’s just a few hours, and we’re out of the rain, at least. Besides, I’m sure we’ve both been through worse.” Leaning against an old desk, she attempted to detangle her soaked hair. She winced at her first efforts, the knotted, black strands tangling in her fingers. “The question now is, whatever are we going to do to pass the time.”

"Provided that the Nausicaans don't show up here, yeah," Erik replied with a gesture out the window and a quick smile. He leaned against the wall next to the window and stared out at the pouring rain, he tried to ignore the cold, to put aside the difficulty of the moment. His mind wondered over the past and present, memories of those who had come and gone aboard the Sentinel. He stared out at the rain for what seemed like minutes though Erik was uncertain how long it had actually been and then suddenly a memory, particularly relevant to their current situation came to mind and he smiled again.

"Do you remember Brexis Seven?" Erik asked about finally breaking the silence. His gaze stayed transfixed out the window but his minds eye went through mental images of the planet he had referenced.

Archana paused in her task, the one hand that wasn’t snarled in her hair hovering in the air as she recalled the place. “’The shoreleave of a lifetime,’ they said,” she chuckled, remembering all too well that particular trip. “But what they forgot to mention was that even paradises like Brexis Seven experience potentially deadly tropical storms. But at least it was warm there,” she said with ill-hid longing. That look turned to one of mild distaste as another memory surfaced. "That was the first and last time I saw Captain Rentok in his version of a bathing suit, just before the storms hit. Thank you ever so much for bringing the subject up," she laughed, resuming her task.

Erik looked back at Archana finally and laughed for several long seconds at the image of their former Captain, a Vulcan, in a golden one piece bathing suit that could only ever been fashionable on a hand full of severely style deprived worlds. As his laughing subsided he found himself staring at Archana again as she continued to wring the water out of her hair, this time he found it all but impossible to look away. His throat seemed to seize up and only after a few moments of trying was the lump swallowed where it settled into the pit of his stomach like a brick.

"Yeah," he said weakly before clearing his throat and continuing normally. "They say that Vulcans can’t be embarrassed but I'm almost certain that he left the beach a shade of green darker than normal... That's probably why it was the last Shoreleave we had that year."

While Erik was laughing, Archana couldn’t help but notice the way his eyes seemed to light up, even in the relative dark of the room. It wasn’t often that she had the chance to see him laugh so openly, and the Betazoid found, perhaps foolishly, that she wanted to commit the image to heart. Something strange seemed to hover in the atmosphere around them, some emotion or sensation that even an empath like Archana had a difficult time putting a name to. With anyone else, she would have been tempted to probe the situation, uncover the source and depth of the emotions at play. But with Erik, there were certain boundaries she had always abided by, rules she’d made for herself ages ago. And no matter how tempted she was, those rules had to be followed.

“He was a good Captain. Rentok, I mean,” Archana said, searching for something to fill the silence she’d allowed to grow. “Not that you aren’t a wonderful Commanding Officer, of course. You were the obvious choice to take his place, but the best choice, too. Everybody knows that.” She was painfully aware that she was rambling now, and in an attempt to cut herself off, she abandoned the hopeless case that was her hair and retrieved her comm badge to test it once more, though the device was still perfectly lifeless.

Erik could easily sense the shift in Archana's speech pattern as well as her posture and Erik silently cursed himself as he broke his stare off and looked back out the window. Archana was a Betazoid and while she never seemed to have any more bearing on what Erik thought or felt than anyone else he had to remember that he was an open book to her. He wondered though if that really bothered him, his trust in Archana was absolute and she was one of very few individuals who knew him as more than a Commanding Officer. He sometimes forgot how important that was and how much he took the relative casualness of their relationship for granted. Was he too inattentive to detail?

"Archana," he said softly but not uncharacteristically so his eyes remained fixed on the waves of rain that beat down on the street outside. "I don't think I've ever told you how much you mean to me." Erik hesitated for a moment searching for the right words, the brick in his stomach suddenly feeling impossibly dense, "as a colleague and as a friend. I depend on you for a lot, I have for a long time now and you've always been there when I needed you." After he finished Erik wondered why he had chosen to say such a thing at that exact moment, it was true but he was not the type to voice such things so casually.

For a moment, Archana wasn’t sure what to say, let alone what to feel. All she could do was stare silently at the comm badge resting in her palm, trying to rein in the almost jubilant, glowing emotions Erik’s unexpected words had inspired. If she felt too much, she was afraid she’d say too much. And there were things she didn’t want Erik to know, things she had refused for so long even to admit to herself. If she wasn’t careful, she’d tell him everything, and then nothing would ever be the same again. And yet, she couldn’t simply say nothing. Heaven only knew what Erik was feeling, waiting in yet another growing silence for Archana to speak.

“That means a lot to me,” Archana said quietly, and the sincerity of the words almost made her ache. “I want to be someone you can trust. You’ve earned my trust over and over again.” Once the words began, it was difficult to control them, and the Betazoid found herself saying even more than she’d intended. “When I first came to the Sentinel, I was… Well, I was broken a bit, after my divorce and everything that had happened there. But you were a pillar of strength for me, whether you knew it or not. You helped make the Sentinel a home for me, really, and for that I could never thank you enough.”

"No thanks is needed," Erik said as his mind struggled to keep up with and contain words that his heart demanded be said. "You're a fine officer and I think that we've always had a fine working relationship." He bit his lower lip and cursed himself again, it had been a completely pat response and completely the opposite of what he had wanted to express. It was the safe response. Erik realized then that he had feelings for Archana, or at least he found the ability to admit and even accept those feelings. "That's not what I meant to say... I just..."

=^=Sen... Captain do yo... =^=

Erik's froze for a moment and then rushed to pull the comm badge from his vest pocket, the device was still damp in his hands but had obviously dried enough to function. His eyes locked onto Archana's and he was forced to make a decision, to respond or not to respond. The Sentinel would be there after a few minutes more but his heart was now locked in a death match with his mind. His personal yearning and emotions pitted against his sense of honor and duty. The commbadge was an easy escape, "Sentinel, this is Tsereteli, do you read?"

More than a little jarred by the interruption, Archana watched in stunned silence as Erik spoke with the Sentinel. Establishing contact with their ship should have been excellent news. It was exactly what she had wanted to happen mere minutes ago. But that was before Erik had started speaking, before he’d actually addressed feelings and emotions in a way that he never really had with her before. And somehow she knew, either through empathic senses or woman’s intuition, that he had been about to say something momentous, something she’d never dared hope to hear, not even that part of her she kept hidden under lock and key.

But it was too late now. Archana knew it intrinsically somehow. The moment seemed to be lost, and whatever Erik had been about to say, they were surely back to being Commanding Officer and subordinate again now. “It looks like we’re about to be rescued,” she murmured while Erik waited for an answer, her words strangely somber.

=^=We have you, Captain. The storm over the city seems to be intensifying, we have a few more minutes left in this window if we don't extract you now we may not have another chance for several hours.=^=

Erik's gaze lingered on Archana's, her disappointment was palpable and despite their immanent return to Sentinel the Captain couldn't imagine feeling any worse than he did in that moment. "By all means, two to beam up..." Erik hesitated as if to ask Archana's permission, to seek her silent consent that everything was okay but as she averted her gaze his heart sank and he knew that the moment had ended with crushing finality. "...Energize."

OFF

a JP written by:

Lieutenant Commander Archana Sen
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Sentinel

and

_________________
Commodore Erik Tsereteli
Commanding Officer
USS-Sentinel NCC-83680


Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:12 am
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