Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: USS Arcadia
Timeline: 1403 Hours, MD 2 (March 4, 2393)
[Previously in A Girl and A Boy - Part 1 "Things of Beauty"]
. . . . . .
Kevan watched the Marine go, then took a look around her quarters. It was hard for the investigative security chief in him not to study and make assumptions about her based purely on the decor. The most notable items were the variety of weapons on the wall, including a Klingon bat'leth that he would not have expected to see. Although she was a marine, Korra was a fighter pilot. It seemed strange that she would be so interested in the up-close-and-personal approach to combat. Perhaps she hadn't been kidding about breaking his arm.
His eyes scanned over a bookshelf, his fingers tracing along the spines of several books. Keats. Tennyson. Chaucer. The Bajoran war poet Kell Varic. Poetry was another unexpected hobby, it seemed. His eyes rested on a framed picture of a younger Korra with a young man who looked suspiciously like Captain Lee. He wondered at their history together; the photo suggested they were close. How close, though?
. . . . . .
[Previoiusly in Defiance]
"Congratulations." Said Korra. The word came out with more sarcasm than she had intended, but with all that's going on, she wasn't exactly in the mood to apologize. But again, she rarely was.
"I'm just saying - I'm kind-of a big deal where she comes from. Maybe I should go talk to her for you..." he suggested.
Korra stopped abruptly in her track. "What? No! Why?" she blurted out. "Why would you want to do that?"
"I dunno." He shrugged. "I guess if you feel awkward about talking to one another it might help to have someone who could bridge that gap. Unless you really don't want to talk to her?"
"I'm not feeling awkward!" the Marine retorted without much thought.
Kevan looked at her, a smile forming on his face that seemed to wash away his earlier stand-offishness, if only for a few seconds. In the mood she was in it was hard not to think of her as cute. Had he honestly just come up with that word? Didn't seem right, true as it might be.
. . . . . .
Terri Cornelia Lee was the foremost expert in the field of temporal mechanics and a level 3 Mok'bara adept to boot. There were not temporal equations that she couldn't solve, and there were no arms that she couldn't break. But she still couldn't figure out the Katian Lotus puzzle in front of her. And she had been working on it for a full two minutes! Two minutes! Alenis had said that patience was the key to solving the puzzle when she asked her to give it a try. But patience was stupid. And so was lotus.
Then the door chime to her quarters rang.
"Come in!" she shouted and slammed her fist into the half-finished 3-D model, shattering it back into pieces. Stupid puzzle.
Kevan started as the door opened, double-taking at the sound of her voice and the abrupt sound of something breaking. Familiar, he noted. He'd started to become accustomed to angry women wanting to smash things with their bare hands.
"I hope I'm not interrupting," he said apologetically, taking half a step inside. "I can come back later if you're busy..." he took a quick glance around the room. It was about as far from what he expected as possible, with the contents not unlike what his own bedroom had been like in his teenage years. Military discipline had changed that attitude in him, though evidently not in Terri.
Terri glanced in her visitor's direction and quirked an impatient eyebrow. "What do you want?"
Just like her mother, he mused. "Making sure you're healing up. Not decking anyone else on board. That sort of thing." Kevan moved to perch on a seat but found it covered in discarded personal effects so elected to stand. "Love what you've done with the place."
"Oh," Terri's frown softened. At least someone didn't make a fuss about the state of her room. But then her brows tightened again. "Wait, are you being sarcastic?"
Kevan let a grin spread across his face. She was cute. Wait - did he just think of her as 'cute'? That was all kinds of weird. He cleared his throat a little awkwardly, then responded, "A little, but we don't police that sort of thing on board ship. I'm sure you're just missing your quarters on the Themyscira."
Terri grumbled unintelligibly under her breath as she stood up from behind the desk and moved over to the couch where some of her belongings were piled haphazardly in two standard Fleet issued storage containers.
She rampaged through the containers, evidently looking for something. A few moments passed before she pulled out a pair of mek'leth and began polishing them with a piece of Kantor beast hide.
"If you come here to patronize me, you should get out now before you regret it."
"Damn, you are definitely Korra's kid," Kevan chuckled to himself. Realising she had a pair of Klingon blades close to hand he added, "I mean that in a good way. Fierce. Passionate. Possibly capable of killing me in a dozen ways." He still stood just by the door, not properly welcoming himself in but still watching her as she moved around. Made sense not to appear too intrusive. "You have a lot in common, you know."
"No, we don't!" Terri shouted back, each of her hands holding a just sharpened mek'leth. She was about to add something far more colorful when her brows tightened. "You don't know what you are talking about."
"I know Korra," he commented. He almost added the word 'intimately' but thought better of it in the moment. "Probably better than you do, in some respects. I guess that's another reason why I thought it would be good to speak to you. Maybe encourage you to talk to her. Get to know each other a little better, work out what you've got in common." His eyes tried not to glance down at the blades in her hands as he spoke.
"We have nothing in common!" Korra grunted through her teeth. There was a moment of tense silence as she looked down and continued to sharpen her mek'leth. But then she looked back up with a raised eyebrow. "What do you mean you know her?"
"We've worked together for a while. I feel like I have a good...grasp...of her personality." He chose his words carefully. "Believe me when I say she's hardly the devil here. She's your mother." He lowered himself a little so he could talk a little more quietly. "I lost my father when I was younger. At first I wanted to blame him for leaving me, but...he was still my father, and that was important to me. Being angry doesn't change things, in fact it just wastes time you could be spending trying to know them better." He smiled momentarily at the mek'leths in her hands. "You know you should replicate a Rura Penthe iced whetstone. They're supposed to be good for the longevity of the metal."
Terri turned around and shot the Trill a sharp look. "I'm not angry!" Turning back to her mek'leths, she resumed sharpening her blades with the hide. "I don't tell you how to do your job; don't you tell me how to do mine."
Dash was right, of course: a Rura Penthe inced whetsone would be far more effective sharpening tool than then Kantor beast hide. But luxuries like that had been hard to come by ever since the last days of the War, and all replicator uses on the Themyscira were tightly controlled in order to preserve whatever little resources they had. That was the kind of life she had been living for the last two years, and she was so used to it that even after coming aboard the Arcadia, it never occurred to her that the replicators could be used for anything other than the absolute essentials.
But that's not something she cared to explain to Dash. Who did he think he was to just come in and tell her who was and wasn't her mother? How dare he? He didn't know her, he most definitely didn't know her mother.
Suddenly something crossed her mind. Turning around to face him again, she asked coldly, "Are you sleeping with her?"
The question took him off-guard. His initial reaction probably wasn't the most subtle, either.
"Yes," he finally admitted, tensing just slightly for her reaction.
"That bitch!" Terri lashed out and flung the mek'leths in her hand, knocking down a stack of books haphazardly piled on the dinner table next to them. Among the fallen were Keats, Chaucer, and Kell Varic, the Bajoran war poet.
"I knew it! I knew it!" she repeated herself furiously. "I knew she couldn't possibly be my mom. My mom would never cheat on my dad! Never!"
Kevan stooped to pick up the books. His eyes rested on the titles. "You know, Kell Varic's family were tortured and murdered during the Bajoran occupation. He lost everyone he loved over the space of six months." He opened to a page he knew was there. "Mine is not to find reason in condemnation. Nor to justify in rage. Nor to seek retribution in grief. Mine is to seek rest in the midst of the night."
He looked down at Terri. "She loves that one too." He lowered himself to a crouch, closer so that he could look her properly in the eye. "Your mom isn't cheating on anyone. Maybe she has some kind of destiny in the future. Fine. But right here and now, it's different. I don't believe in any of that 'destiny' bull - I do believe in love. And I..." Kevan trailed off, frowning at his own near-admission. He felt something inside of him, almost burning in his chest. He took a moment to settle himself. "I believe that there can be love between the two of you."
"Don't you touch them!" shouted Terri as she grabbed the books from the man. "They are my mom's!" Her voice faltered slightly at the end of that sentence. Those books - along with those two mek'leths - were the only momento she had left of her mother, a woman she had never met, but loved so deeply nonetheless.
Setting the books down on the couch, she turned her attention, or rather ire, back to Dash.
"And that's a whole load of BS! My mom had always loved my dad! They were always meant to be together. Always! Who do you think you are, coming in and breaking up my family? My family!" Her voice faltered again. "My . . . family . . ."
He was close enough to grab her. Not roughly, but firmly. He put his arms around her shoulders, letting her finally break down on him. His heart hurt for her, seeing the emotions she was finally let bubble over and knowing that she must have been through a hell of a lifetime. "It's okay," was all he could manage to murmur, desperately uncertain what to say.
A few moments passed before Terri realized that she was sobbing in his arms, but as soon as she did, she broke free of him. Terri Cornelia Lee never showed weakness to anyone, most definitely not to someone responsible for breaking her family.
That's it. It's all the Trill's fault.
"Get away from me!" she cried. "It's all because of you! You took her from my dad, and now she hates me!"
He watched, a strange calm descending on him despite her rage. There was a realisation that she was beyond helping now. Whatever trauma she had been through had left her broken, fixated upon this idea of 'destiny' as Captain Ishikawa had described. He wasn't going to change her mind. He took a step back, towards the door. This had been a bad idea. He paused, wanting to say something, but found that the words weren't coming. So instead he backed silently out of her room and into the hallway before allowing himself to breathe again.
As Alenis stepped off the turbolift and headed to Terri's temporary quarters, she replayed Captain Ishikawa's words in her mind again. The Captain's summon was unexpected and her words cryptic.
"Lieutenant Lee is now your sole responsibility," the Captain had told or rather ordered her, "her safety and well-being supercede all your other responsibilities toward the Themyscira and the mission."
Alenis didn't know what the Captain had meant. Of course she would always take care and protect Terri, but Terri was not someone who needed protection from anyone. On the contrary she had lost count of the number of times the girl had saved her from one danger or another. And their mission, wasn't their mission to come back and warn the Federation of the impending war? They had done just that. What else was there for them to do?
Alenis shook her head as she rounded a corner. She had thought about asking the Captain what her new order meant, but her guts told her it would be better not to ask. She had always felt that there was something unsettling about Captain Ishikawa, but she also knew that the Trill was fiercely devoted to Terri's father and would do anything, however unsavory, to ensure Terri's safety. She shouldn't worry about the Captain's motives, but . . . her thoughts were interrupted when she noticed the Arcadia's security chief coming out of Terri's room.
"Lieutenant Dash," she came to a stop and greeted the man as protocols required. "is everything OK?"
Kevan blinked as he was momentarily surprised by the approach. "Fine...Lieutenant." He had to pause to check her pips. She looked vaguely familiar - possibly one of the Themyscira crew. "I was just speaking with Lieutenant Lee, making sure she was okay."
Alenis glanced at the doors to Terri's quarters. There was a tinge of concern in her voice. "Was there any reason she wouldn't be?"
"She got into some trouble a couple days ago," Kevan explained. "I was checking in on her. Seems she is still in the mood to break things."
Alenis nodded slightly. She knew what he was talking about. She was there when the brawl went down on deck 1. But brawls never upset Terri. On the contrary, she delighted in them - it's almost like she lived for them. There must be something else. The Katian Lotus puzzle perhaps. The girl wasn't exactly known for her patience.
"She . . . will be fine. Just give her some space, Lieutenant." another look in the direction of Terri's quarters. "I'll talk to her."
Lieutenant Terri Cornelia Lee
Chief Science Officer
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant JG Laren Alenis
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief of Security
USS Arcadia - 89015