Part of USS Thyanis: Taken Under Wing and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Ch: 8- Longing for Home

SS Ridaere
June 2400
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Lihran quietly snuck towards his bunk, not wanting to wake the other Romulans sleeping around him. He did not want to spend the night fully with Covel, sneaking away just to rile the man up. He shrugged out of his uniform and hung it up neatly, leaving his boots at the base of the bed and crawling in, left in his trousers and undershirt.

He wrapped the blanket tightly around himself, wedging his back against the wall. Lihran felt his eyes droop shut, too tired to try and evade sleep, despite his racing mind.

He found himself recalling some memories of Starbase Bravo, wondering if he'd ever see these faces again.

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Lihran watched Cynndle walk over towards him with a cinnamon bun and coffee  seeming to be inspired by his own choice in snacks. Cynndle took a bite of his dessert and spoke, "So, that was a lot to take in back there. Do you think that there could be a Romulan connection?" 

Lihran got distracted by a bit of icing caught on the other man's upper lip, having the urge to lean over and wipe it off. He was thankful for his 80 years in the Tal Shiar for his ability to keep a straight face and fight off impulses no matter what his thoughts desired. He masked his distraction by taking a sip of coffee before replying, a slight flush to his cheeks. He found the man strikingly handsome and charming when they first met due to some tampered wire problems. He really needed friends here, and he wasn't about to ruin that by making an ill placed advancement. Besides, they were meeting to discuss the assault on Doctor Longfellow, purely a business meeting. Nothing else.

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Lihran paused and let out an agitated grunt. They still hadn't fixed the problem. Maybe he can patch a message through to Cynndle about his abduction. He'd notice hopefully if Lihran didn't answer calls about more sensor issues. He could hope at least. He let his mind wander off once more.

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Lihran sat in Heriah's quarters, listening attentively as she went on and on about a place on earth called Rome. She had suggested it to him as a possible new home. Hearing her talk about Ancient Rome and its similarities to Romulus absolutely fascinated him.

His mind wandered away from the conversation, studying the Trill woman. She was quite pretty, even Lihran had to admit that. This struck up a confusing conflict in Lihran. He only ever found himself attracted to men in his rather long life so far. The fact that he found a woman attractive confused and scared the Romulan. Angered him even. He was too old to doubt himself by now. His discomfort at his confusion displayed itself in a grimacing smile, Heriah's words snapping him back to the room. 

“As you may have deduced,” Heriah said with a smile, “I like to learn the ancient histories of places I visit.” Lihran nodded, giving his head a mental shake. He needed to stay professional.

-----

If he never made it back, a slot would open for another patient for her, at least. A Romulan seeing a counselor, how pathetic.

He was jolted out of his thoughts and snapped awake by a hand clamping down over his mouth. Lihran's hands reached up in the darkness to wrap around a surprisingly thin throat. He bolted upright, coming face to face with the young officer from earlier, Sekal. The young man looked terrified, clearly not expecting Lihran to try and strangle him.

Lihran dropped his hands to grab fistfuls of the younger Romulan's undershirt, leaning in to whisper, "You better have a damn good reason for doing that. I will not hesitate to beat your arse up for that."

Sekal's eyes widened even further, if possible, whispering back, "Your Federation friends sent you a message."

Lihran's heart dropped. He hauled out of his bunk, dragging Sekal mercilessly with him.

The cold, harsh metal floor of the warbird bit into Lihran's bare feet. He winced and pressed on, heading towards the remote cargo bay he beamed into earlier. Luckily, no one paid any mind to two barely dressed men running off with purpose. It was the Star Navy, after all. Some questions you just don't ask.

Lihran hauled the younger Romulan behind a massive crate and slammed him against a bulkhead, snarling, "How much did you read?"

Sekal gulped, "A-All of it, sir. I hid the PADD in this bay, I-"

Lihran hissed, shaking Sekal, "What were you doing in here?! Why were you snooping? Covel sent you, didn't he?" Lihran's jaw dropped as Sekal began to cry. Lihran looked the young man over closely, realising he was barely an adult even. Was the Star Navy really that desperate to conscript so young?!

Lihran felt bad, gently placing Sekal down, awkwardly patting his shoulder. Sekal slumped against the bulkhead and slid down to the floor, pulling his knees up and wrapping his arms around them as he sobbed.

Lihran truly felt bad now, kneeling down beside him and  to pull him into an embrace. Sekal was receptive to the hug, crying into Lihran's shoulder, clinging to the older Romulan. Lihran grimaced, never really being one to offer comfort, awkwardly patting his back. Sekal's sobs reduced to a few hiccups and sniffles. The younger Romulan pulled back, mumbling an apology. He pulled up his shirt to wipe his face, glancing at Lihran, "I'm… I'm sorry, I don't know what overcame me." 

Sekal took a breath, "I read it all, yes. And I hid the PADD so it didn't get discovered. I don't want to be here. I hate this. I hate what we've become. We are the bad guys, aren't we? I don't want to be evil."

Lihran sighed softly, "I had the same realization during the supernova when the Federation protested against helping us flee death. No one wants to help the supposed villains. They don't care about the lives lost. They were Romulan lives and should not be saved. I was the bad guy. That's why I left. I am part of Starfleet… I…"

He paused, a frown on his face. He didn't want this kid to die when the Federation ultimately blasted the Ridaere to pieces, "If I can get out of here alive, I'll take you with me. I can use your help anyways."

Sekal straightened up, the prospect of a fresh start tantalized the young mind, "Absolutely. I'll do anything! I want to be a hero, to be a good guy! What's your plan?"

Lihran couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm, "We will start a mutiny. In that chaos, we will leave. Now, where did you hide my PADD? I need to send some messages."