"The weapons fire... it's messing with the targeting sensors," called out Nikki as she frantically tried to get a good lock. For a few seconds, she quickly recalibrated the transporter, likely setting a Starfleet record for doing so. "Energizing now," she called out as the runabout was washed with the blue glow of the transporter.
A few moments later, Nikki looked back to see the entire crew. Excited, she couldn't help herself from bounding out of her seat and wrapping her arms around Tim, giving him a big hug. "Commander! It's so good to see you!"
"Good to see you as well," He said as he stepped aside. "I hate to spoil the fun, but shouldn't we get out of here?"
"Of course," interjected Meru, before taking one quick glance around the runabout to make sure everyone was there. "Ms. Zade, set course for the rendezvous coordinates with the <i>Dresden</i>. With that, she turned towards Tim and smirked. "You knew I couldn't leave you behind, didn't you?" she asked.
The name of that ship sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it."Unconsciously I expected you to rescue me, even though I was told you were dead. Again." He looked around and was surprised not to see Ellen yet. She must have heard they were all back onboard. "Do you mind if I'll join you on the bridge later? Assuming this thing has a bridge."
"Of course," replied Meru. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Tim didn’t need long to find the ship’s tiny medical bay. The door was open and he took a few moments to simply look at his wife, who was sitting on a stool next to the biobed and simply staring at her hands. He knew she was crying, or had been not too long ago. He couldn't describe how he felt right now.
“Hey beautiful, “he said to catch her attention and walked to her.
“Tim,“ she said after turning around and running towards him. He catched her and lifted her from the ground for a few seconds as he hugged her.
“I missed you at the transporter room,” he said with a smirk. “Had you already given up on me?”
Ellen hid her face in his shirt and cherished his smell. Cherished the way she felt to be in his arms again. “Don't you ever do that to me again,” she said as she punched him in the chest. She quickly looked up at the sound of pain he made. “Are you ok?”
“I'm fine,” he said.
“Oh, really,” she said after pushing against his chest once more, a bit more gentler this time, getting the same reaction. She signalled him to take of his shirt so she could examine him. “Come on, don't be a baby!” When he lifted his shirt she couldn't help but sound shocked at seeing the bruises on his chest. “What did they do to you?” Without waiting for an answer she guided him to the biobed so he could sit. There were bruises all over his chest and back. “I can't do much about the bruises here, without the proper material,” said Ellen. “I can do something about that gush on your arm, though. It will be an old fashioned fix, until we get to a real medical facility.”
She was about to walk away to get some supplies when he grabbed her arm and pulled her back to him, he took her head in his hands and said “Do you have any idea how much I love you?” and kissed her. When he lifted his head she whispered back that she loved him too. And let her head again rest against his chest.
"Hey Tim, just wanted to say..." Sera started as she walked through the door. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry," she immediately backpedaled and averted her gaze. "I didn't mean to interrupt," she apologized.
Ellen straighted and went to grab material to fix Tim's arm with red cheeks and Tim simply said. "Sera, may I introduce you to my wife, Ellen. Ellen, this is Sera, she is one of the two woman who helped save my ass." He said with a chuckle. "Is there anything I can help you with, or did you need medical assistance."
"Nice to meet you," Sera said to Ellen, her cheeks turning a it red. She shook her head as she replied, "No, I just wanted to make sure everyone was ok. We all went through a lot down there."
"Are you sure?" Ellen asked as she started healing the slash on Tim's upper arm. "Can I presume you've been there longer then Tim? How did you got there anyway?"
"Long story short," Sera started. "My sister and I got a lead on where our dad was found. We took a shuttle to pick him up and were picked up on the way. I allowed myself to be captured so they could get back to Federation space."
Ellen's eyes grew. "No way, and what happened to your father and sister? Are they safe?"
"I just looked them up," Sera nodded. "They were able to make it back to Federation Space with the shuttle."
"That's good. The world is a much better place with our loved ones around." Ellen said.
A little while later, on the bridge of the runabout...
Having changed out of the Breen suit and finished a cup of tea, Meru had taken over on the bridge, giving Tyrlai and Arthur a much-earned break. She was alone in the small cockpit when the door behind her opened. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the colour of his prison uniform. "So, looks like the Breen aren't too happy. Judging by the long range sensor activity, they've scrambled half their fleet to find us."
He took one of the available seat in the cockpit and took a look at the displays Meru was talking about. "All that for me," Tim chuckled. "What's your plan now? There is no way we can take them on in this runabout. No matter how much luck you have on your side."
"We did steal a cloaking device, remember," replied Meru. So far, it didn't seem like the Breen had noticed them; though a couple ships were close, they seemed to be fanning out in all directions rather than converging on their location. After a couple moments of silence, she looked over at him and offered him a faint smile. "It's good to have you back," she said, her tone expressing both regret over sending him on the mission that got him captured and relief that he was safe. "It was hard without you."
"Well, I'm not going anywhere anymore." he said. "So you plan to outrun them using a cloaking devise."
"More or less," she replied, in a pained voice as she pressed a button on the console, deactivating the cockpit voice recorder of the runabout. "I need to talk to you... about Lieutenant Reynolds."
Tim raised his brows. "This sounds serious." He simply said and waited for Meru to continue.
"I've had the pleasure of talking to both himself and his future self," replied Meru. "It's complicated, but..." She sighed and took a deep breath. "Do you think it is possible that there could be a secret agency, accountable to no one, operating with the tacit acceptance of the highest levels of Starfleet, doing the dirty work that idealistic officers like us are unable or unwilling to?"
Tim had to blink a few times to incorporate all that info. "Are you saying Reynolds is not from our time but from the future. And is doing what exactly?"
"No, not out Arthur, it's just..." Meru took a moment to gather her thoughts. "Remember when I told you about how I came back, after the mission to Gamia? About our future selves?" she asked, using careful euphemisms for her own death. "It appears I wasn't the only one to come back. Mr. Reynolds' older self came back as well; he was tracking his younger self when we found him."
"Found him where?" Tim asked. "and where is this future version of Reynolds now?"
"In a cloaked shuttle, following us. He told me about some secret society, he called it 'Section 31.' Real black ops stuff, completely unaccountable to the Federation council. Supposedly, they were behind the Khitomer conspiracy, among a few other things. At first I didn't believe him, but then..."
Trailing off, Meru looked out at the stars. Dead ahead was Federation space, home to countless millions of Federation citizens, united by the Federation Council and by Starfleet. The thought that somewhere, in all those stars, that something like this 'Section 31' could possibly exist, chilled her to the bone. They were supposed to be better than that. It was what separated them from the Breen they were trying to escape from.
"Article 14, Section 31: In times of extreme threat to the Federation, extraordinary measures may be taken..." Meru shook her head. "I know it sounds crazy, but too much of his story made sense. I... I had to make a decision. To protect Arthur, if only from himself. If Section 31 has their claws in him already, then there's nothing I can do. I have to hide him."
"Where do you want to hide him? If they are as you just described it will be hard to hide him." Tim said
"Not where, but when."
Tim sighed. "Temporal mechanics gives me a headache. There is a reason it was banned, you know."
"You and me both," replied Meru. "Catch is, in order to keep him safe, his handlers need to think he's dead."
Tim sighted deeply. "Let me guess, you already have a plan to accomplish that. A plan that I'm not gonna like."
"Do you like any of my plans?" countered Meru, before reaching for the control panel in front of her. "I'm deactivating the cloak; according to my estimates, the frigate at 256 mark three should intercept us in about three minutes. Our friends on the Dresden should be able to get here at around the same time." Meru took a deep breath and pressed a button on the control panel, overloading the EPS conduits that Nikki had jury-rigged to the cloaking device. "Fetch Lieutenant Reynolds for me; we'll need a tactical officer for this."
Tim grinned. Since when wasn't he considered a tactical officer anymore.
A few moments later, a red light pinged on the console. They were being hailed, no doubt by Breen vessels. Meru ignored the hail and instead switched to another frequency, one in an encoded, ultra-low band that wouldn't be picked up by the Breen. "Captain Washington, this is Meru. We've lost the cloak. Requesting an immediate extraction."
Just in time, the runabout shook. Sensors detected what appeared to be a polaran beam weapon being emitted from the Breen frigate, though readings were somewhat fuzzy. Arthur quickly wandered in behind Timothy, leaning on the wall as another beam struck the runabout's shields. He settled in at a console to the side and brought up the tactical display. At first, he was about to report an abnormality with the runabout's phaser banks... but when he looked up at Meru, he suddenly knew what it meant.
"What is happening?" Tim asked, even though he saw the look between Meru and Arthur.
"Lieutenant, remember that conversation we had a little while ago, when you tried to resign," started Meru, as the ship shook from what appeared to be a barrage of polaron beams. "I said I'd watch over you, but there are some things out there that are just too big..."
Arthur didn't say anything for a while, a lost gaze in his eyes. But when it seemed he'd given up, he raised his head and said, "For what it's worth, you did alright. More than... than anyone." Just after the runabout shook again, Arthur reluctantly stood up, took his comm badge off, and held it out to her with his palm open. With some difficulty, whether it be due to emotion or him admitting to something he'd never admitted to before, Arthur exclaimed, "It's been an honour serving with you, captain." In a hushed and thoughtful tone, he added, "Thank you... for believing in me. Even when no-one else did."
tag - Meru
Tim was about to say something, but before he got a chance to do so they were enveloped in the familiar blue gaze of a transporter. Seconds later Tim saw they all were in a Starfleet cargoroom. The door opened and a man, vaguely familiar entered.
"Captain Meru" Fred said glancing over to the room, stopping at his brother in law a bit longer then the other. "It's great to see everyone made it."Nodding at Tim, "and that your mission succeeded."
As the group dispersed Fred approached Tim, "Good to see you commander," he said and offered a hand. "We need to talk," he said on a very serious tone.
Ellen, who had walked to Tim, said. "Shut up Fred," At that comment Tim looked from Fred to Ellen and figured out who the man was standing in front of him. Ellen's big brother. He accepted Frederick's hand and shook it. "Offcourse we'll talk. I have a younger sister as well." he said, explaining he very well understood where that conversation would be about.
OOC-T: Can you please use quote when tagging. That way I don't have to add back all the bold and highlights each time.[/quote]