Part of USS Heracles (Archive): Boldly Going

It Finally Happens – Chapter One

Earth - Boulder Colorado
MD - August 27th, 2400
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Homestead

 

Vausees stood with her arms around her chest, the chill of the dusk air seeping into her skin. She leaned against an oak pillar on the porch of Debrah's homestead, the Fergouson Ranch. The Fergouson Ranch, located deep in the valley that leads to Boulder, Colorado, was 440 acres in total and belonged to her family long before the Federation became the entity it is now.

She gazed out into the dusk at the vibrant pinks that hid the mountains in the distance. As she stood there, she sighed and a plume of white breath floated in front of her. As she leaned forward, snow fell onto the ground in front of her.

The porch suddenly lit up as the door behind her opened and Debrah stepped out. Her gaze locked on Vausees' frame, and she stepped up behind her and wrapped her arms around her. As she rested her chin on Vausees' shoulder, a glass mug in her hands steamed up in front of them.

“Are you coming in soon?” Debrah inquired as she gazed out into the snowy landscape.

A tired smile crept across Vausee's lips as she felt the warmth of her fiance's arms. "I'll be in soon," she said tiredly.

Debrah placed a warm kiss on her neck and said, "Don't be too long," as she slowly released her and stepped back into the warmth of the house.

Vausees took a deep breath and returned her gaze to the fading light before turning around and heading back into the warmth of the house. She smiled as soon as she shut the door and turned to face the rustic interior. She was aware that this location had been well used for generations and had received a few upgrades over the years. After hanging her coat on one of the pegs near the door, she entered the kitchen, which was nearly as large as the officer's lounge and galley combined.

Debrah stood with her back to her fiance as she slid a wooden spoon through the ingredients that were cooking in a cast-iron skillet.

"I hope you're hungry, darlin'," she said, turning to face Vausees.

Vausees replied, "Starved." Her cheeks reddened from the cold valley air she had been in just moments before, and they were now warmed by the heat of the large wood-burning fireplace. 


 

Shadow in the Snow

 

Vausees and Debrah were lying in bed together, long asleep. A person moved silently through the shadows cast down by moonlight into the thick forest that covered the mountainside deep in the mountains that bordered the valley where the Fergouson Ranch lay. The figure came to a halt in the shadow of two blue spruce trees, their limbs bowed down to aid in concealment as they reached up and tapped a button on the side of their goggles. As they looked down into the valley below, the bright green of their night vision faded and was replaced by the standard view.

"I've found you," said the person wearing the thermal face mask as they looked at the billowing smoke coming from the homestead's chimney. While standing there, the person reached down and tapped on a wrist sling. An indicator on their goggles indicated the presence of a nearby cave system as well as a town not far away. Stepping back into the shadows, the person moved away and toward the town.

As they approached the outskirts of town, they reached up and removed the thermal mask, allowing their long raven black hair to fall free from the garment. Dark brown eyes scanned the town's main street, settling on bright neon pink lights that read "Inn."

When the person entered, the woman behind the reception desk stood up.

"Good evening, my dear. "How can I assist you?" The woman behind the counter inquired.

"I need a room for a few months," the raven-haired individual explained.

The receptionist nodded and started filling out a form on a PADD, but when she got to the name section, she looked up at the person and asked, "What name is this going under?"

"Klair..." paused the raven-haired woman as her dark brown eyes studied the receptionist for a moment, "Klair Valdez."

The receptionist was taken aback by the Raven-haired woman's stare, but she nodded and entered the name. 


Ghosts of the Past

 

As Vausees stretched her arms, the early morning sunlight filtered through the shades and into the bedroom. As she lay there, a soft groan left her lips, and she smiled at her fiance. She leaned over and kissed her closed eyes before slipping out of the warmth of the bed and heading for the bathroom. Her feet padded softly on the wood floor as she walked. Debrah blinked open her eyes when she heard the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. She stretched before getting out of bed and going to the bathroom, just like Vausees. Debrah smiled as she slowly opened the shower door, trying to be sneaky about it, because she could see steam coming from the large and spacious shower. Only to be greeted by light blue eyes and a wicked grin.

“Did someone miss me?” Vausees teased as she stood under the waterfall shower head.

Debrah's breath caught in her throat as a result of the sight. She couldn't get enough of Vausees; even a glimpse of her body as she walked the Heracles bridge was exhilaratingly painful for her. Debrah's mind was flooded with stark and intimate images as she closed the shower door and moved toward Vausees, who had her arms open and outstretched in an invitation to join her under the hot water, and she knew Vausees was having the same thoughts by the look in her eyes.

Vausees sat in front of a mirror as Debrah slipped a black muscle shirt over her bare skin and brushed her damp hair out. She smiled as her love changed into blue jeans. Her body was both clean and tingly. A testament to how much time they had spent together in the shower under the heat of the water.

“So what do you have in mind for today?” she asked Debrah

“I was thinking about heading into town and seeing what is going on, and what has changed since I was last here.”

Vausees nodded as she adjusted the towel that had been wrapped around her; it had slipped down slightly, and she said, "I think I will join you," as she set down her brush and grabbed a hair tie.

Debrah smiled as she buckled her family buckle into the belt that she had slipped on, “That would be great.”

When the doorbell rang, Debrah walked over and grabbed the phaser from the small table next to the door, as she hadn't expected anyone to stop in. As she cracked the door open, she kept it out of sight. Branch Fergouson, her father, was standing on the porch. She let go of the phaser and opened the door for him. He took a look at it, then back at her.

“Expecting trouble?” He asked her

“Not at all, but I wasn’t expecting you.”

He nodded and entered the homestead. "Well, even if the deed belongs to you, this is still my ranch," he said as he stood there in his uniform. "After all, when does a father need to declare that he wants to see..." he paused as Vausees exited the bedroom. He nodded after looking at her and then back at Debrah. "You must be the one my daughter has been talking about," he continued to look at Debrah.

"And you must be Branch," she said, looking at the man standing in the living room. Her eyes remained neutral, but she could see why Debrah despised this man on the inside. She could see the arrogance washing over him in waves, but she could also see the confidence that accompanied it, which her fiance possessed in spades.

"What can I do for you, Lieutenant?" Debrah asked, shaking her head.

Branch shook his head at his daughter and sighed, "Still pissed at me for not supporting your decision to leave the fleet," he said.

"Actually, Mr. Fergouson..." Vausees' sentence was cut short by a look from Debrah telling her not to finish it, and she knew right away that Debrah did not want to continue talking with her father.

Branch looked at them and realized that his time was coming to an end. "I just wanted to let you know that I will be returning to the ranch due to orders from HQ," he explained before turning and opening the door. He paused before walking out, then said over his shoulder, "I just thought you should know." He then walked away.

Vausees could see the trembling on her love's body as she stood there in silence. She crept up behind her, wrapping her arms inside Debrah's and resting her head on her back. "I know you don't want him on the ranch, but I think it would be best if someone looked after the ranch when we leave," she said softly before turning her head and gently kissing her on the back.

Debrah relaxed and nodded, knowing Vausees was correct; they needed someone to look after the ranch, even if it was her father. She turned around, took Vausees in her arms, and gently kissed her. "I'm sorry if this turn of events has ruined our day," she said, looking Vausees in the eyes.

“It hasn’t.”

Debrah's lips creased as she took her and Vausees' hands and led them to the Volga-class runabout that they had borrowed from the Heracles while it was being repaired and refitted in one of the many docks inside the Spacedock.

A few minutes later, the runabout landed on one of the town's landing pads. They walked toward the market after disembarking. Vausees looked around the city as they walked. When she noticed a Raven-haired woman, she had to do a double take. However, this caused her to stop walking, and when she returned to where she had seen the woman, she had disappeared, as if she had vanished into thin air.

Debrah had continued walking when she noticed Vausees wasn't with her and turned to look for her. She noticed her love's expression and moved over next to her. "Are you all right?" she inquired.

"I'm not sure," Vausees replied, continuing to look in the direction of where the woman had stood.

Debrah shifted her gaze to where Vausees was looking, then back to her.

"What exactly is it?"

"I'm not sure, but I swear I saw someone from my past standing right there," she said, motioning to the Inn.

"Who do you think it was?" Debrah asked as she scanned the front of the Inn.

Vausees shook her head, but her mind only said one name: 'Klair’. 


The Past Hurts Too Much

 

Klair pressed her back against the office wall, closing her eyes. As she stood there, she took slow, deep breaths. She had just walked out of her room, looked up, and quickly moved out of sight. Vausees was standing in the middle of town, and she had been almost spotted.

"What the fuck, Klair," she said quietly to herself.

Her thoughts returned to a memorial as she stood there.

Klair stood in the shadows of a mausoleum, watching her funeral procession. Vausees' tears streamed down her face as she stood in the rain with the rest of their class, dressed in their dress grays. Rain fell from the skies as she stood there in the shadows, soaking her to the bone, and she wished she could run over and comfort the love of her life, but she knew it was best if she remained nothing more than a memory, even if it hurt her.

As the procession left, she observed Vausees standing at the gravesite. She'd seen Vausees fold her umbrella and was now standing in the rain as it continued to fall. It seemed like hours before the gravesite was empty and the cemetery was quiet again. Klair had borne the pain of seeing Vausees leave in sorrow and grief, and now she stood before her own grave, looking down at the marble headstone.

She knelt and lowered her head, placing a hand on its smooth, solid structure. Inside, she was enraged that she had accepted the intelligence department's offer, but she knew that her sacrifice was more important than her own happiness and would save more lives in the long run. Before standing, she removed a necklace from her neck and placed it on the headstone, along with her deactivated combadge. She then stood up and walked back into the shadows, away from that part of her life.

Klair opened her eyes and slowly exhaled, having been holding her breath the entire time she relived that event in her life. She peered around the corner of the wall, watching Vausees and another woman walk away hand in hand. She realized then that Vausees still believed her in that grave. She nodded, but she knew she still had a mission to pursue. 

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