|USS Sentinel NCC-83680
|Fala - A Charge To Keep
|Page 1 of 1|
|Author:||Fala [ Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:54 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Fala - A Charge To Keep|
<November 12th 2368; 08:00>
<Abandoned Battlement-Rhiana Province, Bajor>
Artori stood silently, obscured by shadow in the confines of a dank abandoned bunker and listened intently as his informant elaborated on his intelligence of Cardassian affairs. Artori had never seen the man's face but his information had never lead him astray and his latest information seemed to be the most vital that he had ever relayed.
"Two days from now," he continued. "Prefect Dukat will arrive on Bajor to tour the new mines at Tuathe, his travel itinerary has already been downloaded to your computer."
"How did you come by this information," Artori questioned, somewhat skeptically.
"As always," the shadowy figure spoke. "My sources are not your concern, have you a reason to distrust the information I give you?"
"No," Artori admitted. "I only question how you managed to obtain such sensitive information."
The shadowed figure chuckled and with a few scuffled footfalls began to leave, "Until next time."
<November 12th 2368; 13:00>
<Resistance hideout-Rhiana Province, Bajor>
With Lirana, Jorak and Awen gathered around a wooden table in the dimly lit room of their cells' quarters Artori went over the details that he had received from his informant. "The prefect's travel arrangements have him traveling through many poorly guarded districts," Artori had begun. "Even so, he will obviously surround himself with his elite guard. This is perhaps the single greatest opportunity we have ever had to strike hard at the Cardassian regime but also it is the most risky venture we have plotted. I want to know your thoughts, we have to be all in favor of this or not at all..."
Awen looked at Artori, then at the others. "As you said, this is a huge opportunity for us, for Bajor. I think we have to take it, Artori. If we plan it out well, we can accomplish it." Her confidence had grown even more, along with her skills. She knew she shouldn't become too overconfident, but in this case, she had faith in her friends.
Jorak nodded his agreement with Awen, "She's right Artori, if it means us dealing a fatal blow to the Cardassian power structure then I think it's worth the risk.
Nodding Lirana replied, "I agree. Did you have something in mind?" This was something the two of them had talked about before - an opportunity to really affect Bajor. Something to convince their people to rise up and bring about the end of the Occupation.
Artori looked at his three companions in successive order and sighed, "If we are all in agreement on this then yes, I do have a few ideas. I believe the best course would be to ambush the Prefect's convoy and attempt to take him out with a non direct method such as a well placed bomb. But we cannot be certain of which exact route the convoy will take so we will have to spread out in teams to cover each of the options. After the attack we would regroup at a rendezvous location outside of the city."
Frowning slightly, Awen said, "If we're split into several groups, each covering a different area, though, none of us will have any backup. It's a greater risk....if a group is discovered, there won't be anyone to help them."
"It's a big risk," Artori admitted. "But that's why we all need to be in agreement on this... The Prophets forbid it but some of us might not make it out."
Lirana locked eyes with Artori. She knew the operation was crucial and that they had a good group of fighters, but she also hated the thought of losing Artori. No matter what their skills were, there was always the chance they might not make it. It was something they all knew, yet this time the odds were less in their favor in some respects. "I think we have to, Artori."
"We've never backed down before Artori," Jorak spoke with uncustomary emotion. "We're not going to start now my friend."
Artori patted his friend on the shoulder and let an appreciative gaze pass over Lirana and Awen, "Very well. Now we are left with the particulars..."
<November 14th 2368; 06:00>
<The outskirts of Jo'Kala(city), Bajor>
The sun was just beginning to rise as Awen and Jorak headed towards their destination. Other than a few creatures already stirring, the area was mostly quiet. Each carried parts of the bomb, to reduce the risk of a premature explosion or detection. The two had memorized the layout of the area and would soon be upon the selected location.
Awen glanced over at her older brother. He seemed calm, considering the potential danger associated with the plan. Although she also felt mostly calm, there was still a bit of apprehension. In her mind, a little apprehension never hurt - it kept her more alert.
Jorak put his hand on his sister's shoulder and smiled at her reassuringly, "We're almost there little sister. In a few more hours it will be done and Bajor will be better off for it."
Navigating the dilapidated remains of the city's outskirts the pair silently made their way toward Jo'Kala's perimeter. The ruins were devoid of activity and at times the pair felt as though the path before them was almost too inviting; not ones to have qualms over good fortune they pressed on.
Once in Jo'Kala, the two made their way to one of the streets that eventually ran into the center of the city. They slowed slightly and Awen shifted the weight of the pottery she was carrying. Inside were the main parts of the bomb. She moved into a side street, followed closely by her brother. Setting down the pottery, she moved back towards the side street entrance to keep watch as Jorak finished assembling the bomb.
Jorak was known for his skill with explosives and though not formally trained had garnered an understanding of most of thier workings. With steady hands he pieced together the detonator and slid it into the weapon's casing over the charge, one mistake would mean a quick end to Awen and his life.
"I think I found a good spot," Awen said quietly as she returned to Jorak's side. "Similar pottery is nearby, so this will likely go unnoticed. We could watch from here, or find a higher vantage point."
Jorak placed a few bundles of soiled cloth into the half meter tall pot to hide its more sinister contents and looked up, his work completed. "Perfect," he said in a hushed tone. "I think we should get a little more distance, the remote is capable of transmitting a half of a kilometer."
Awen nodded, then moved quietly to her former spot as Jorak picked up the bomb. Glancing around, she looked back at him and motioned to the spot she had mentioned previously.
The street seemed deserted as Jorak approached the spot Awen had indicated but Jorak felt the disquieting sensation of eyes watching. He did not like being so obvious but had little choice, the bomb had to be planted close enough to the road that it would be able to decimate a passing vehicle. Setting the vassal down with the rest he proceeded on and rounded the block to return to Awen's side.
Once Jorak had rejoined her, she said quietly, "Let's go...we should be able to find a building or rooftop to inhabit while we wait."
With a nod Jorak followed Awen through narrow alley ways and tunnels of the city; she seemed to have a keen sense of direction and intuitive knowledge of architecture. Jorak became lost easily and yet invariably they ended up exactly where his clever sister intended them to be. As the siblings came out of a tunnel back onto the street level, presumably a few hundred meters away from their starting point Jorak caught a glimpse of movement at a distance.
"Hold up," he whispered. "There's someone out there..."
Awen glanced over at Jorak as she paused and listened. At first, she didn't hear anything, but within a few seconds, she did... "Footsteps," she said, under her breath. Giving it a few more moments to try to determine which direction they were in, Awen looked back over at him and motioned in the direction she intended to go. Trying to stay calm, she headed that way, trying to stay as quiet as possible. Although she wasn't sure who they were, Awen had to assume they weren't friendly.
Jorak's heart sank as he realized what was happening, they would soon be surrounded and he wasn't sure that they could escape with their lives. His hand played with the detonator hidden in his vest pocket be he knew that if he used it he and his sister would be executed on the spot.
Pressed against the side of a building, Awen peered around the corner. A group of four Cardassians were next to the bomb - it seemed as if they already knew what it was and were now looking for the two of them. Turning to Jorak, she said very quietly, "Four Cardassians...they've made us." She turned to lead them in the other direction, but froze as she saw more Cardassians coming towards them from the opposite end of the alley.
With grim realization Jorak swallowed hard and placed his hand on Awen's shoulder, he spoke with a shaky voice, "We have two options little sister. We try to fight our way out of this and probably be killed or we surrender and risk execution before we can attempt an escape. We have to choose now..."
Her mind raced; she didn't like either option. Awen debated which one would give them the better odds of survival. "I think we have to surrender and hope for enough time to escape... There's too many of them and we don't have our disruptor rifles, just knives. They're too heavily armed..." Although she tried to stay strong, her eyes conveyed the fear she felt.
As the soldiers approached Jorak removed the detonator from his pocket and held it where the Cardassians could see it, leaning closer he whispered to Awen. "No matter what they do to us, do not tell them that we are siblings. If they find out that we are they will separate us, or worse. Be strong Awen."
No sooner had Jorak finished than the first of the soldiers approached and took the device from his hand; driving his fist into Jorak's temple. The blow was solid and the Bajoran was dazed and fell to his knees, the soldier then turned his attention toward Awen.
Awen stood defiantly, not willing to flinch or look away as her brother fell and the Cardassian turned to her. Her heart raced and she braced herself for the hit she knew was coming. As it did, the Bajoran ground her teeth together to try to stop from wincing, but the force of the hit sent her into the nearby wall. She slumped to the ground before everything went black.
<November 14 2368; 06:30>
<Tuathe City, Bajor>
Artori and Lirana melded seamlessly with the drably garbed miners of Tuathe as they followed lock step with a work group headed for the mines. As the line of nearly five hundred workers approached the cities loading bay it divided into smaller groups and each group was ushered into a different transport by the Cardassian guards. Artori had planned on the Cardassians approach and had ensured that both he and Lirana would not be separated during the loading process. They each carried components to an explosive device that once through the trip to the mine they could assemble and plant where needed.
The loading process was short and after a few minutes the transport had lifted into the air, inside there was little room as the Bajoran miners had been packed in beyond capacity. Artori was held fast against the ships bulkhead and while he watched the landscape fall away through a narrow window he focused on the warmth of Lirana's body.
Lirana took comfort in the fact that Artori was by her side. What they were doing was certainly dangerous, but their team also had the best chance of succeeding in their ultimate goal. Since the entire reason for Dukat's visit was coming to see the mines. Her eyes moved to Artori's, but kept her expression even.
Artori met Lirana's gaze letting a silent understanding pass between them, they both knew that death was a real threat, it wouldn't be long before they landed and both knew what had to be done. His mind raced with dire possibilities but he shifted his thoughts to visions of his future with Lirana, the pleasant images balanced his fears and allowed him to focus.
A short while later, they were at the mines, being escorted inside. The environment was far from inviting - the mines were harshly lit and very dry which resulted in dust clouds from the slightest movement. As the two Cell members moved further inside, they made their way over to the tool lockers where they would have some privacy. Lirana slipped the smaller components from her outer jacket and handed them to Artori.
Artori quickly yet carefully assembled the components and the bomb quickly took shape. The foot long cylinder was remote activated and the plan was to hide it somewhere along the most likely path that the Prefect would take through the mine. After finishing, Artori wrapped the device in a sheet of soiled cloth and handed it to Lirana to tuck into her utility belt. Handing an ore extractor from the locker to Lirana he smiled weakly and whispered, "This is it my love, from here we have to part. Will you be okay?"
She looked at him lovingly and smiled at him, "I'll be fine, Artori, don't worry. May the prophets watch over you, my love. We'll be back together before you know it."
Artori desperately wanted to hold Lirana, to kiss her and tell her that he loved her but watchful Cardassian eyes had fallen upon them. He gave her one last loving expression, handed her a helmet to go with the extractor and pushed off in his own direction.
Lirana took the helmet and started off down the mine. Though her heart ached to glance back at him, she knew she couldn't risk it. Instead, she followed a small group of Bajoran workers for several long minutes as they slowly made their way to one of the various control booths. Lirana stepped inside and looked around to find a suitable location for the bomb. Eying a pile of rubble, she dropped the ore extractor next to the pile, then bent down. As she moved to collect the extractor, Lirana slipped the bomb amongst the pile.
Lirana stood, her task completed. She made a brief show of checking a chart on the back wall that displayed which workers were in which area before slipping out the door. Trying to not seem out of place, Lirana headed for the exit. As she walked out of the mine, a group of Cardassians - apparently waiting for her - started to follow along behind.
Her eyes searched for somewhere she could duck out of their site, but the area was too open. Before long, they were directly behind her. Knowing she had nowhere to go, she turned to face them.
One of the Cardassians pushed her to the ground and kicked her. Lirana flinched slightly as his foot connected with her stomach. She curled up to protect herself, but the next kick never came.
"There is no need for that...I have a better idea for this one."
<November 14 2368; 07:15>
<Tuathe Mine, Bajor>
Artori had made it out of the mine, barely evading the notice of the Cardassian guards who's attention seemed to be focused elsewhere. He crept slowly in a hunched position behind piles of rubble that had been removed from the mine and approached the rear of the line of Transports that had ferried the miners from the city. Crouching behind a cart of ore Artori peered around and surveyed the situation before him; the Transports were arranged in a perfect row twenty meters away and were lightly guarded. He would have to move in the open to get to the closest one but with the guards strangely preoccupied he felt confident.
Pushing off the cart Artori sprinted as fast as he could to the hatch of the closest transport and stopped just inside; he had made it. He crept slowly forward through the passenger compartment and approached the doors to the ships bridge while drawing his combat dagger. The doors slid open with a hiss and before the lone Cardassian pilot could react Artori had his knife against the pilots throat from behind.
"Prepare to depart," Artori said forcefully.
The pilot hesitated but after a few moments his fingers began to move over his console, as they did the ships rear hatch closed and its engines whirred to life. Artori removed the disruptor pistol from the Cardassian's belt holster and sitting in the navigator seat he leveled it at the pilot.
"Inform the control center that you have received new orders," Artori spoke without malice.
"This won't work," the Cardassian interjected, "and killing me will be your death warrant."
Artori leaned back in the navigator seat and shrugged, "I wasn't planning on killing you, don't force me to."
The pilot relayed his 'new orders' to the mines command center and the shuttle began to lift off, as it did Artori diverted part of his attention to the console before him. The rendezvous location was in a wooded several kilometers to the south, well away from civilized areas and Cardassian patrols. Entering the coordinates into the computer Artori instructed the pilot to engage the ships autopilot and step away from his console.
"What are you doing?" The Cardassian asked as Artori forced him toward the transports rear hatch.
"I'm letting you live," Artori replied smugly as he activated the hatch doors.
"But, the fall..." the Cardassian objected in a panic.
Artori shrugged and as the Transport flew over the open water of a large lake he kicked the Cardassian out of the hatch. Returning to the bridge Artori quickly went to work on the Transports systems, disengaging its transponder and navigating it lower to the ground, below sensor range.
Six hours later Artori paced the small forest clearing restlessly as he waited for his companions, something was wrong. As the hours passed his uneasiness grew and he was finally forced to admit that something was wrong. He wanted to go back but knew he could not, he had to wait and have faith that his companions were alright. As darkness approached Artori's faith was quickly replaced by grim realization, his companions, his lover, had been discovered.
A post by:
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori, Starbase 386
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori, Starbase 386
played by: Lt Cmdr Fala
|Author:||Fala [ Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:55 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Fala - A Charge To Keep|
<<Bajor, Kran-Tobal Prison, 2369, 2335>>
After being captured by the Cardassians during their mission to plant a bomb for Dukat, Awen and Jorak had been sent directly to a Cardassian prison. Their cells had no windows - just slits in the walls opposite the doors - and were thus dimly lit, like the corridors. A foul smell penetrated their nostrils, but after the first week, they barely noticed it anymore. Since they had arrived, the two had been trying to plot an escape, but thus far hadn't come up with anything feasible, although it was understood that if the opportunity presented itself, they would take it.
Awen sat with her back against the back wall of her cell, frowning. As the days wore on, she grew alarmingly more used to their current situation. Well, as used to it as one could get. The one good thing was that her brother was with her; it could help the time pass by a little more quickly.
Though a solid concrete wall divided their cells Jorak could still hear Awen breathing in the stark silence of the prison. As dawn came Jorak realized that another sleepless night had passed, neither wanted to close their eyes for fear of being separated from the other while they slept. Jorak stood on his cot and stared out the narrow window of his cell at the city beyond, it was a beautiful morning and as he watched the sun rise he almost forgot where he was. "Are you still with me little sister?" he murmured without taking his gaze off of the horizon.
"I'm here," Awen replied quietly. Not that there was anywhere else for her to be...but she knew that wasn't what he meant. "Another day in paradise..." Her eyes fell to the small metal plate that the guard had given her the night before. The food was nowhere near appetizing, but as Jorak had pointed out to her before, they needed to keep their strength if they were to escape.
"It could be worse," Jorak spoke meekly. "At least we're still alive, that means we still have a chance. I keep thinking about the others, do you think they made it?"
She sighed, "I don't know... It was almost as if they knew we were coming... And if they knew about us..." It was a conversation they had had before and one she was sure they would have again. "Any brilliant plans today?"
"You know I work best thinking on my toes," Jorak replied a hint of levity in his voice. "I'll let you know when it comes to me."
A few minutes later the heavy tritanium doors that sealed the detention center shut clanked open and the sound of jackboots followed; Cardassian guards were coming. "Wait for my signal little sister," Jorak whispered. "We only have one chance."
"I'll be ready," Awen said quickly. Getting to her feet, she moved near the door. Whatever would be happening would most certainly take place there or, preferably, on the other side. She tensed slightly and felt her heart beat faster.
The Cardassians approached quickly and one unlocked the door to Jorak's cell, the other stood a safe distance back and gripped the handle of his holstered disruptor eagerly.
"Out," the nearest guard barked. "It's time..."
Jorak did as he was told but at the last minute rushed the guard further away, with the element of surprise on his side he managed to knock the guard into the opposing wall with enough force to temporarily daze him. As the guard behind him drew his weapon and began to level it Jorak side kicked, sending the Cardassian into the bars of Awen's cell with a heavy thud.
Hearing the thud, Awen could see the guard's neck. Quickly she reached through the bars and squeezed as hard as she could. He had the advantage of having the door between them, but she dug her nails in and held relentlessly.
Jorak turned his attention back to the dazed guard just in time to knock his disruptor upward before it discharged, the golden energy hit the ceiling sending hot shrapnel in all directions. With his feet firmly planted Jorak jabbed the guard in his gut before spinning and bringing his elbow down on the Cardassian's temple hard, knocking him out instantly. He turned to find the other guard asphyxiating in Awen's unrelenting grasp.
Awen pulled from her reserve strength and gave a last final squeeze before releasing her grip on him once she felt the life slip out of him. She heard his body slump to the floor and looked out at her brother. "Little help?"
Jorak recovered the downed guard's disruptors and, after locating the key card, released his sister from her cell. As he did the detention facilities alarms began to sound; the internal sensors had likely detected the disruptor fire, "We don't have much time."
Scouring the prison's safe boxes, Jorak located the gear that had been confiscated from them, taking his knife by the blade he handed it to Awen hilt first. "Keep this," he urged her. "Just in case."
"In case?" She looked at him questioningly at first, but took his knife. Glancing down at it, Awen took a moment to run her finger along the blade before tucking it into her waistband.
The pair exited the prison block into the long hallway outside, the sound of boots marching could be heard in the distance; they were trapped.
"Not again!" Jorak growled as he searched the hall for an answer and finally after several long seconds he found his answer. Pointing to a panel on the wall he barked, "Through the ventilation duct, now!"
Nodding, she quickly pried the panel off the wall and slipped inside, moving further down so Jorak could follow her. Awen paused as he replaced the panel, then turned and headed in the opposite direction. Mentally she pictured where they were and tried to determine which way was best. She waited for Jorak to catch up at a branch in the ductwork, then asked, "Which way, do you think? I have a feeling we need to go left...""I think you're right," he whispered. He wasn't really sure but he had come to trust his sister's instincts and direction sense more than his own. "There should be a way to access the air intake ducts; they will lead us out."
Awen led the way through the left branch. It wasn't a fast journey; the duct work snaked through the entire prison. But the two followed it to the end. Putting her shoulder to the panel, she pushed it out and nearly tumbled out the air duct. Stepping aside, she gave her brother room to get out.
Pausing just outside of the duct Jorak took in the surrounding caves; they were large with ceilings some one hundred meters overhead and from somewhere below came the clatter of heavy machinery. Crawling to the ledge before him Jorak stuck his head over and the sight stole his breath; a massive docking bay filled lower levels of the cavern, hidden from any on the planet's surface. "Awen, look at this..." he spoke with a bewildered tone.
After glancing around a few moments, she turned at Jorak's voice. Awen crouched down and crawled over to where her brother was. "Wow... I would've never known this was here..."
"I know," Jorak said. "If we make it out of here alive we'll have to pass this along, if the resistance could hit this place..."
Awen nodded, "We could make a big impact..." Studying it for a few moments, she finally turned away. "We should keep moving."
Moving along the narrow ledge at a cautious pace the siblings came into a smaller cavern where the ground began to slope downward slightly; it was difficult to tell for sure but it seemed the best route to the outside world. As they moved along in the gloom the structure of the walls changed, becoming a rough cut corridor through what had previously been solid rock. The sickening smell of bodily waste and decay stung their nostrils, forcing them to breathe through their mouths. Jorak stopped and motioned for Awen to be silent, in the distance they could hear voices, more Cardassians. "We're close," Jorak whispered. "The exit is probably only a hundred meters further."
Listening closely, she tried to determine how many were coming. At least two, maybe three or four. Awen frowned slightly; they were so close to the exit.... "Do you think we can make it?"
Jorak didn’t answer his sister immediately, instead he silently edged his way along the gradually curving wall until the Cardassians came into view. The two guards paced the corridor just inside the entrance from outside, Jorak swallowed hard as he realized just how close they were. “Listen to me,” he began in a whisper. “One of us has to make it little sister, if it's only going to be one I’d rather it be you. Promise me that you will run and not look back, no matter what.”
Awen's heart stopped for a moment as what her brother was telling her sunk in. A defiant look crossed her face, "No, we can both make it, Jorak. Both of us." Her fingers slipped down to the hilt of the knife he had given her. "We can fight them off - we've done it before."
“Of course we can little sister,” Jorak said as confidently as he could; he wasn’t so sure. “It's dark, we may be able to slip past them... You lead and I’ll keep our rear covered.”
She hesitated slightly. In his voice, Awen could hear his doubt. They were able fighters, but they'd also been prisoners for some time... Still, she had to believe they would make it. The alternative was not something she wanted to think about. Finally, Awen said, "Alright, I'll be just ahead of you, Jorak."
The siblings stayed close to the wall where the shadows were heaviest and crept along with as much stealth as possible. The exit to the surface was some three hundred feet ahead and the guards stood between the pair and their escape. Awen slowed as they drew near and Jorak placed his hand on her shoulder reassuringly.
"Go on, we don't have much time," he whispered urgently.
Awen nodded and started moving forward as quickly as she could while still remaining quiet and in the shadows. They were so close, surely they would make it. But even as they drew nearer, she heard the guards getting closer. "They're coming..."
From behind them came the sound of boots and voices, the guards from the detention center where catching up, they were running out of time. Jorak realized then that what he had suspected before was the case, only one of them was going to make it out of the situation alive and with grim determination Jorak turned to face their pursuers. "You go ahead, I'll keep them busy," he said.
Knowing what he intended to do, Awen shook her head. "No...No, Jorak. We both go or we both stay. You can't fight them off yourself. But together..." She wouldn't accept leaving him behind; she couldn't. He was her brother. They were part of each other. It was as if saying the words would make them true, but deep down in the pit of her stomach, she knew. She didn't want to accept it.
Jorak’s expression softened as he saw the desperation in Awen’s eyes; she was beginning to realize that the end of their time together was at hand. With brotherly affection he took his sister by the shoulders and kissed her forehead,"It won't work that way, you know that Awen. They're too close. Either one of us makes it or neither of us does. Go now, that's an order."
Her eyes pleaded with him desperately. As she swallowed the lump in her throat and fought back the tears that threatened to spill over, Awen tried again, "We can make it, Jorak. I know we can. We'll fight together."
Still close to Awen, Jorak realized that his sister would not do as he was telling her unless she thought there was at least a chance of his survival. "I'll be right behind you, but first there are a few Cardassians with my name on them." The look on his face was resolved, yet full of admiration and love. "It'll be alright, I promise."
Knowing she was not going to win this fight, Awen slowly nodded. She tried to put the bravest look on her face that she could, but part of her knew what was to come. Still, Awen reminded herself that Jorak was a good fighter and had survived many battles. Finally, she started off towards the entrance.
As Awen moved away Jorak engaged the first of the oncoming guards and hoped that she would make it past those near the entrance to the tunnel. His spare knife drove brutally into the first guard's side a few times before the second managed to slip a blow in, driving a knife deep into Jorak’s chest. He knew he was dead and grappled with the guard as he began to slip to the ground. Jorak’s eyes searched the entrance to the tunnels and briefly met Awen’s before darkness consumed them; she would be safe.
At the last moment, the sounds of the scuffle behind her, Awen turned back. One guard had Jorak's knife buried in his side....but Jorak. Oh Jorak. Frozen in place, she watched as his life slipped away. Choking back the cry that threatened to escape from her trembling lips, Awen turned and fled as hot tears started to fall down her cheeks.
She moved quickly, then crouched down behind a boulder as the guards from the entrance rushed in to help their comrades. As they rounded the corner, Awen hurried to cover the remaining distance to the entrance. Glancing around, she saw a forest off to the left and ran to it in sheer desperation.
Awen ran until she could run no more, falling to her knees. A cry rose from within her, a cry of despair and pain that escaped from her lips with intensity. As her voice waned, the Bajoran sank to the ground, her body wracked with sobs. Her brother was dead - no longer would he call her 'little sister', no longer would she draw from his strength. She was alone.
A post by:
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori, Starbase 386
|Author:||Fala [ Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:55 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Fala - A Charge To Keep|
<<Bajor, Home of Mikar, December 1st, 2368, 0700>>
As the morning light slowly crept over the large bed, Lirana stirred. Her eyes fluttered open slowly and, for a brief moment, she forgot where she was. As she looked over her shoulder to where Artori should have been, though, her heart dropped as Lirana remembered where she was. She must have fallen back asleep after Mikar had had his way with her when he had woken up.
Lirana shuddered at the thought, but refused to cry again. She'd lost track of how long she'd been Mikar's comfort woman and, if she were truly honest, she didn't want to know. For now, there was little she could do; Lirana hadn't been able to come up with an escape plan - there were always too many people around and not enough opportunities. Part of her still hoped that Artori would find her, but she also didn't want him to know what she had become.
"Lirana," spoke a faint voice from the room's half open doorway. "I need to speak with you."
Hearing the voice, Lirana turned towards the door. "Come in."
"Lirana," Merkal whispered as she sat herself on the edge of the bed. "Do you remember me?"
Studying the woman's face for a few moments, Lirana finally nodded. "Yes...you were on the transport that we...that we attacked." Pausing, she then added, "I've seen you once or twice here, too..."
"Yes, Mikar is my... Husband," Merkal's voice quivered slightly. "That's not why I am here though."
Lirana tilted her head slightly, curious. "Then...why are you here?"
The Cardassian woman shifted her gaze back toward the door obviously nervous, "I want to help you... I'd let you out of here myself but because of where we are you would probably be caught again. Is there anyone I can contact who could come for you?"
A faint flutter of hope rose within Lirana. It would appear that this woman was willing to repay the kindness Artori showed them months previously. Immediately, her thoughts went to Artori. At the same time, how did she know she could trust this woman? She was, after all, a Cardassian. "Why do you want to help me?"
"I suppose it's only natural that you be suspicious of me," Merkal admitted in a whisper. "You and your companion saved my children, for that I am in your debt and every day that I see you remain here, brutalized by my husband, I die a little more inside."
The Cardassian woman paused for several long moments while staring into Lirana's eyes empathetically, the expression seemed alien to the Bajoran. "He's going to kill you when he has lost interest," Merkal finished, almost inaudible. "You aren't the first..."
Lirana swallowed hard; she wasn't saying anything that Lirana hadn't suspected already... But for someone to actually say it but a form of...finality to it. Quietly, she said, "He beat them to death, didn't he?" Already he had started getting more rough with her, so it wasn't much of a stretch for her to imagine.
Merkal only nodded, the expression on her face was enough to turn another woman's blood cold and words seemed futile. It was apparent that she had witnessed this too many times before and was scared herself. "I bear him children," she began, swallowing hard. "Cardassian, children. When a... His consorts become heavy with child that's when he..."
The thought of bearing the child of the man was enough to make Lirana sick to her stomach. She desperately wished that Artori were there; he would make her feel safe again. Lirana closed her eyes, trying to remember his touch, his arms around her. "What can you do?"
"I can try to get word to your companions that you are alive," Merkal offered. "I could help you get out of the compound... But you will not make it alone Lirana..."
At this point, Lirana saw no other choice but to trust the woman. She certainly seemed to be telling her the truth - or at least a very believable lie. Even if the Cardassian did betray her, the worst that could happen would be that she was stuck there longer or killed - either of which would happen if she didn't at least try. Finally she nodded and said, "Zael Artori...He should know that I'm alive..."
"Zael Artori," Merkal repeated. A clatter from the bottom level of the apartment signified that Mikar had come home, the Cardassian woman shot up off of the bed and headed to the door with haste. She turned briefly before exiting with a grim expression, mouthed the words; "I'm sorry" and was gone.
Lirana watched as the Cardassian woman slipped out of the room. Staring at the doorway, she couldn't help but wish that she could go with her....that she could see Artori. All she could do was hold out hope - nodding slightly, Lirana resolved to hold on until her love could find her.
<1 Week Later, Ta'Kol, 1000>
The small city was bustling with activity as Merkal made her way to the meeting point. It wasn't the first time she had put herself at risk to help a Bajoran, but it was far riskier than anything she had done before. However, since this particular group had saved her and her children, the Cardassian felt she was in their debt. Using some of her sources, a meeting had been arranged with Zael Artori.
She walked deliberately toward her destination. As Merkal drew closer, she began to get more nervous. Although she knew that news in any form was more than what he had had, she still was unsure as to how it would be received. Merkal then came to the ruins where she was to meet Artori; her eyes search the immediate area but didn't see him. Either he was keeping out of sight, had not yet arrived, or had decided not to come.
Artori crouched among the rafters of the ruined temple and from his shadowed place of hiding watched as Merkal entered the ruins below. She had contacted him the day prior claiming to know of his beloved Lirana's whereabouts, after several months of guilt and frantic searching Artori was not about to turn down a lead regardless of how suspicious it was. The Cardassian woman stood before the ruined alter and ran her fingers across the pictograms it was adorned with. Artori watched this and felt the hot bile of his stomach rise into his throat. “You have no right,” he uttered, his voice gravely from lack of use and filled with bitterness.. “Your people defile all that they touch.”
Though she didn't see him, Merkal turned towards the voice. "No right? No right to try to set things right? To pay you back for your mercy? I don't deny the atrocities that my people have committed, but not all of us are the same."
Artori slipped himself off of the rafter and after hanging by his hands for a moment he dropped to the floor a few meters from Merkal. “I know,” he said softly. “You can appreciate the situation that I’m in I hope. I’ve been searching for Lirana for three months now and had presumed her dead. Now you come along and tell me that she’s been a servant this whole time and wish to help us... Forgive my skepticism but I’m having a hard time believing you.”
Her eyes narrowed as she searched his face, "Was her faith in you misplaced, Artori? I have risked much to come here and bring you news of her. She needs your help; there's only so much I can do on my own." Partly she could understand his skepticism and inability to believe - he had obviously become frustrated with his search. But it would not help Lirana now.
Artori straightened himself and for the first time began to believe what the Cardassian woman was telling him; could his beloved truly still be alive? “I’m here aren’t I?” he spoke quietly. “What do you have in mind?”
"I can help her get out of the compound...but after that, it would be up to you. She may be weak and won't make it far on her own," Merkal explained. Any escape would be risky, and this one held the most risk for herself. If she were caught...
“How soon can we do this?” Artori questioned, his tone eager. He still doubted the Cardassian’s words on some level but if there was a chance that Lirana was still alive, no matter how remote he would take it. “If she is as bad off as you say then we shouldn’t wait long...”
Merkal nodded, "We can do so within the next few days. Give me three days to prepare; on the fourth is when you'll need to come. I will send more information for you." It wouldn't be easy, but she knew it could be done. She would have to work quickly.
Artori shifted uneasily, he didn't like the idea of such a long wait, if what Merkal said was true then Lirana might not have a few days. He approached Merkal slowly and produced an old Bajoran communicator. "Use this," he said carefully. "It's a secure channel. Three days, no more."
Her eyes moved from Artori, back down to the communicator. Merkal took it from him, and slipped it inside a pocket of her dress. Slowly she nodded, "Three days. I'll contact you."
Artori nodded and watched as Merkal departed, a part of him suspected that the whole thing was a trap but a larger part hoped that the Cardassian had spoken truth. With some renewed hope Artori returned to the shadows of the ruins and began to plan for a rescue operation.
OFF: JP by:
played by: Provisional Lt Zael Artori, Starbase 386
played by: Provisional Lt Zael Artori, Starbase 386 (Part 1) & Cmdr Fala (Part 2)
|Author:||Fala [ Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:56 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Fala - A Charge To Keep|
<<Bajor, Jalanda City, Home of Mikar, December 4th, 2368, 2100>>
Lirana lay on the bed, gasping for breath. Mikar had finished with her, completing the act by beating her. Her fingers slowly moved, shaking, up to her nose and when she moved them in front of her, she saw blood. Wiping the rest away, she next probed her eye. It hurt to the touch. Her sides and stomach ached from where he beat her, making it hard to breathe, so Lirana stayed where she was. Although tonight was when Merkal was supposed to come and help her escape, part of her still doubted it would happen.
Merkal waited until Mikar was well on his way to his post before daring to enter Lirana's quarters, she knew that a grim scene awaited her after seeing the smug satisfaction on Mikar's face; she only hoped that the Bajoran woman was still alive. Upon opening the door her hand went immediately to her mouth and she let out a slight gasp, the scene was worse than she had hoped for but Lirana was still breathing. Merkal rushed to the battered woman's side and after drawing a cloth from her pocket began dabbing at the blood oozing from Lirana's nose. "I'm sorry," she whispered with teary eyes. "Don't die, Artori is coming..."
Nodding slightly, Lirana swallowed hard before saying quietly, "It was not your act that did this...there's no need to apologize...I'll hold...on." Her breath was slightly ragged, but she managed a slight smile for the Cardassian woman. "When...do we leave?"
"Soon," Merkal said. "Can you move?"
"Yes," Lirana replied. Taking a few deep breaths to drum up additional strength, she gritted her teeth slightly and gripped the edge of the bed to help pull herself up. She tried to tell herself that Artori would be coming, trying to forget the pain.
Merkal frowned with concern as Lirana struggled and helped her into a reclined position against a pillow. She was seriously injured, perhaps mortally and there was little Merkal could do to help.
Leaning back against the pillow, Lirana did her best to rest. Whatever energy she still had she would need to conserve for her escape. Part of her had a bad feeling about it; she wasn't sure she could make it. But the thought of Artori being so close...of being in his arms again...gave her hope.
<<Bajor, Jalanda City, 2145>>
Artori had arrived at the location Merkal had designated early in the day and while dressed to blend in he feared being approached by the Cardassian guards as he loitered. Huddled into a dark corner as a pauper might he covered himself with a thin blanket and tried to stay dry. Merkal hadn't specified when she might signal him and he wasn't certain that the whole scenario wasn't a ruse but for Lirana he was willing to risk everything. So in silence he waited.
<Home of Mikar>
Though still concerned about Lirana, Merkal knew the girl's best hope laid in the fact that Artori had come for her...or so she assumed. She moved over to the wardrobe where she had hidden the communicator Artori had given her. It had to be now that he came....Lirana simply couldn't wait. Her fingers, trembling slightly, tapped in the message. With a final glance back at Lirana, Merkal slipped out the door to meet Artori at the front gates.
<<Bajor, Jalanda City, 2200>>
The primitive communicator in Artori's coat pocket began to vibrate softly and he knew at once that it was the signal he had been waiting for. With the street clear of guards for the first time all day he counted his blessings and stood to begin his trek. Through the wet streets of the city he moved slowly, faking a hunched shuffle that made him appear utterly destitute to onlookers and the ruse seemed to work; no one, Bajoran or Cardassian paid him any attention. After many long minutes of walking he finally arrived at the entrance to the walled manor and found the hatch open already.
Merkal stood just inside the entrance to the manor and felt herself growing even more nervous as she heard someone approaching. She hoped it was Artori; the precious time they had was growing shorter by the minute. Standing back a bit, the Cardassian waited.
Artori put his back to the outer wall and rested his hand on the disruptor inside of his jacket, slowly he peered around the corner. A few feet inside stood Merkal and upon seeing her Artori felt a sense of relief wash over him, until he saw the expression on her face.
Nodding to Artori, Merkal motioned towards the manor, "She's inside... I'm afraid she's not in very good shape and our time is growing short; we need to hurry."
Artori nodded and urged the Cardassian woman forward; he had not anticipated the possibility that Lirana would be injured and wanted to see her.
Merkal headed towards the manor at a slightly faster than normal pace. Knowing she needed to get Artori inside urged her faster, but she also realized that it could draw unwanted attention. The Cardassian gave a brief nod to those they passed while leading Artori through the corridors to the room where she had left Lirana.
As they entered the large bedroom Artori's gaze met Lirana's and a sense of relief passed between them immediately but Artori's was short lived. He swallowed hard as he beheld his love; her face was bruised and she breathed laboriously. "What have they done to you?" Artori whispered as he drew close, moving slowly as if in fear of breaking her.
Tears formed in Lirana's eyes as she saw Artori; he had come. She reached out to him with her hand, taking his hand in hers and squeezing it as she urged him closer. A renewed sense of strength welled up within her as she saw the man she loved. Her eyes stayed glued to his, trying to read the various expressions coming over him. "It doesn't matter now, Artori... You're here with me."
Artori felt moisture streak down his face as he brushed his lips over Lirana's forehead, the fear and anxiety that he had buried since losing his love were finally welling to the surface. "I thought I had lost you forever," he said with a hoarse voice. "We have to get you out of here..."
"You have me now, love," she whispered to him as she reached up with her free hand and gently caressed his cheek. Lirana moved her hand to his shoulder and struggled slightly to pull herself back up. "Let's go...I don't want to stay here any longer."
Artori nodded and knelt down to help the battered woman up but as he began hoisting her she winced and groaned from pain. He realized at once that her injuries were far more severe than what was obvious and his brow furled with concern. "Can you walk?" he questioned meekly.
Lirana took a few deep breaths as Artori helped her up, trying to determine how much more her body could stand. This journey would be difficult, but seeing Artori gave her the hope she needed. Pain was shooting through her, but with determination in her eyes, she nodded. "I can walk."
"You'll need to hurry," Merkal whispered urgently. "I can take you out the back way, but it still may seems suspicious. We need to get the two of you as far from this place as quickly as possible. Mikar will be back soon."
Lost in the moment, Artori had forgotten that the Cardassian woman was standing behind him and as she spoke the significance of her actions hit him. As he turned with his arm around Lirana, supporting her weight, he held Merkal's gaze for a long moment with a look of gratitude. The Cardassian only nodded and guided the Bajorans through the compound's back entrance until they finally reached the dimly lit alley beyond. As she stopped Artori turned once more and regarded Merkal, "if only more Cardassians were like you... Thank you."
"If more were like me, I imagine we wouldn't be in the predicament we're currently in. Good luck," Merkal said quietly as she nodded to the Bajorans and slipped back inside.
Artori held Lirana close as they navigated the winding corridors of the city's back alleys; the journey would take longer but in the hidden parts of the city they were safe. As they moved Artori realized that his lover's pace was slowing and her breathing was becoming increasingly erratic. At last he could bear it no more and he hoisted Lirana into his arms, "Another half kilometer and we will get you help, my love."
As Artori picked her up, Lirana's eyes met his. Her eyes were wells of sadness; she was having a harder time breathing, gasping for air that her lungs could barely provide. Suddenly she coughed violently, bright red blood covering her hand. "Artori..."
Artori glanced from Lirana's hand to her face and back; he realized suddenly that she was far too pale and beginning to slip into unconsciousness. He slowed his pace and finally coming to a stop as the reality that his love was dying settled in; she wasn't going to make it. Desperate and in shock he felt his legs begin to sway and just managed to ease his love down onto his lap as he collapsed into a sitting position.
"No," he whispered as his eyes began to tear. "No, this cant be..."
Weakly Lirana reached up to brush a tear away from Artori's cheek. Nuzzling her face into his neck, she whispered, "I'm sorry, my love...I tried...tried to hold on." Tears began to fall from her eyes now as well as she thought about her family, about Artori; the thought of leaving them was too much to bear. Finally she was back with him, only to have to leave him again. "I'm glad...I got to see you again, Artori..."
Artori was breaking up inside, Lirana was truly what bound him to reality and with her light fading so too was his own. He could not speak or move for a long moment and only stared into Lirana's eyes but he knew that he had to be strong for her in her last moments of life. She needed him to be there with her.
"You've given me so much..." he stammered. "You've been my guiding light... I don't know what I'll do..."
She smiled at him, "You'll survive, Artori....just like...you always have. I'll always....always be with you." Swallowing hard, she took a ragged breath; she could feel herself getting weaker, her life slipping away. Lirana did her best to be strong for Artori, even at the end. There were so many things she wanted to tell him...how much he meant to her...how much she would miss being with him in this world... But Lirana only had the strength for three final words, "I love you."
Artori couldn't help but sob, his throat constricted and seemed incapable of speaking. He wanted so much to tell her that he had always loved her, that he would have died for her... That it should have been him in her place but he couldn't, it was too much and as her eyes widened with the final release his sorrow deepened ten fold. She knew, she had to know... That he loved her. Why, he chastised himself, why couldn't he say it!?
With his face buried in her shoulder Artori clung to Lirana's lifeless form, holding her close and cried as he never had before.
A joint post featuring:
played by: Provisional Lt Zael Artori, Starbase 386
Played by: Cmdr Fala
|Author:||Fala [ Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:56 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Fala - A Charge To Keep|
<<Bajor, Jalanda City, 2215>>
As the rain beat down upon him from the narrow opening at the top of the alley Artori stared listlessly into the space before him. In his arms was his beloved Lirana, her lifeless form already growing pale and the heat of her body ceasing to comfort. As her life had faded so had Artori's grip on reality and with a clenched jaw the Bajoran man was rapidly being consumed by hatred.
His gaze drifted idly to Lirana's face, with her wide eyes locked on his he could see his reflection within them and his expression was a frightening contortion of anger. His thoughts drifted to Merkal, had he been deceived? No, he decided at last, she had said something, a name; Mikar. At once Artori realized what Lirana's last days of existence must have been like and the thought crushed what little self control he had left.
With a singular determination Artori gently laid Lirana against the alley wall where she would be dry and gently brushed his lips against hers while drawing her eyelids down. He drew the six inch blade from its boot sheath and with a steely gaze began to jog the way he had come. As he moved, his pace became faster and faster until he found himself in a sprint. His chest heaved from the exertion, but the wind and rain on his face, the burning in his lungs, cleansed him, purified him for what was to come.
As he rounded the corner to the compound's rear entrance he found that two Cardassian guards had returned to their posts and their faces lit up with surprise as they took notice of him. Artori was certain at that moment that he was not leaving the Manor alive but the thought did not deter him; he was dead inside already. Without slowing or flinching Artori hurled himself at the first of the two before the guard could draw his Disruptor and buried his knee into the man's chest crushing bone. The force of the impact sent a searing pain up Artori's leg but he took little heed. In a second he righted himself and turned on the second guard who had by then leveled his weapon and began to fire. The golden stream of energy grazed Artori's arm and singed his flesh but did little to stop him; a split second later the blade he carried was buried to the hilt in the Cardassian's chest.
As the two guards sank lifelessly to the ground Artori moved through the gate and rear garden toward the rear entrance to the Manor. As he approached, a third guard appeared in the doorway and began to level his weapon. As he did Artori hurled his dagger with lightning reflex, striking the guard in the neck and causing him mortal injury. Artori did not slow; he stepped over the Cardassian as he writhed on the floor dying and proceeded inward to search for his target.
The Manor seemed to be empty, the last of the guards slain and no trace of further activity. The room that Lirana had been in was empty as well; just as well, Artori mused, time to find a suitable means of retribution. As Artori left the room he turned to find a rotund Cardassian man with the rank insignia of a Gul standing before him with disruptor leveled. The Cardassian smiled, confident of his victory and chuckled, "So, you're the one she spoke of as she slept... I was expecting a little more to be honest."
Artori said nothing, he didn't have to, the raw hatred and bloodlust in his eyes spoke more loudly than any words could.
"I should thank you really," the Gul laughed, taunting Artori to make a move. "You saved me the trouble of putting the little tramp down."
Artori clenched his fists so tightly that he could feel warm blood running down his knuckles; he knew he was a dead man but so too would be Mikar. Time seemed to move impossibly slow as Artori's muscles flexed into action; his foot left the ground in his first step toward the Cardassian as the Gul's finger began to depress the trigger on his disruptor; his heart beat once before he was upon the Cardassian and a golden streak of disruptor fire had discharged but to Artori's astonishment it hadn't been Mikar's disruptor.
As the Gul fell to his knees Merkal came into view further down the hall and her knowing, saddened eyes locked on Artori's. She had killed her husband; she had saved Artori's life as she had attempted to save Lirana's and the fact was not lost on Artori. They stood silently for a long while and their gazes fell onto Mikar's lifeless form, his death signifying the release from a nightmare for one and the beginning of one for the other.
Quietly Merkal approached Artori, her eyes met his for a moment before she looked away and said quietly, "I'm sorry about Lirana... I wish I had found you sooner, gotten her out of here sooner for you." There hadn't been many opportunities prior, but the girl's death still weighed heavily on the Cardassian woman nonetheless.
Artori studied Merkal, could see in her that the remorse was real but it didn't seem to matter, he had no words for her. Lirana was dead, the man who had caused her death lay lifeless; it was done and Artori felt no satisfaction for it. He walked past her listlessly, brushing her arm with his as he went and didn't stop until he reached the compound's rear exit. Straddling the body of the guard there he turned back one last time to give Merkal an acknowledging glance before moving back out into the purifying rain.
Merkal returned Artori's gaze, realizing that no mere words could ever make up for his loss. As the Bajoran walked away, her eyes slid to her dead husband. No doubt there would be consequences. Merkal wanted to feel relieved that he was dead - part of her was - but overall it would change nothing, at least not for the better. Silently she watched as Artori made his way away from the compound. Merkal gave him a brief nod and hoped that he would be able to find some kind of peace, some day.
<Bajor, Kaladrys Valley, November 2369>
It had been nearly a year since Lirana had passed into the arms of the prophets, only a year since Artori had buried her at the mouth of the cave on the cliff that overlooked the land that was to be their home.
On his knees Artori rested, his face expressionless save for a solitary tear that escaped the crook of his eye; he had cried so many that to feel the moisture on his face was surprising. He had thought the well of sorrow dry already.
His eyes lifted from the mound of stones that entombed his lost love and took in the valley below. It was green again, just as he envisioned it and in his state of remorse he thought he could see the cabin that never was, its chimney billowing delicately. He thought he could hear the laughter of his children that would never be born, their lives free and unmolested by Cardassian oppressors.
The end of the occupation months earlier, the withdrawal from Bajor- the misery that had gripped it for two generations, made Artori's pain all the worse. If Lirana could have lived only a few months longer, Artori thought bitterly, the cabin and the children... With a heavy sigh the Bajoran man stood and straightened his uniform, the burgundy uniform of a Militia commander. No, Artori resolved, it was all gone and could never be replaced and it was best not to dwell on it. Whatever life he might have had died with Lirana and he was on a different path. He could not stop her death but he would not let her loss be meaningless; he had resolved to turn his anguish, his anger, into something useful. He could not save his lover but in her name he would save others.
After one last look at Lirana's grave Artori started down the trail to the valley below where his shuttle waited. The next phase of his life, a brighter period for Bajor itself - had begun. He and all those who survived with him were left the task of rebuilding and as a people vowed to never forget all those who had been lost. Rest now my love, Artori spoke into the wind as he descended, and in time we will be together again.
A Joint Post Featuring:
played by: Provisional Lt Zael Artori, Starbase 386
played by: Provisional Lt Zael Artori, Starbase 386
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