Calling in a Favor
Vausees sat in the homestead's living room. A holographic projector in front of her was making an outgoing call. It abruptly changed to a woman in a command uniform.
"What can I do for you, Captain Vax?" the woman asked as she looked at Vausees from the projector
“Captain Vehl. "I'm sorry to bother you, but I need a favor," Vausees said, looking at her superior.
Th'lora Vehl tilted her head slightly to one side as she listened to one of her Captains speak. She was intrigued, but she didn't let it show in the conversation.
"I require an internal investigation," Vausees stated as she sat on the plush couch. She averted her gaze for a moment when the front door opened and Debrah entered, stomping her feet to clear them of snow. Debrah smiled as she looked up toward her fiance and noticed captain Vehl on the table. Vausees returned the smile before turning her attention back to Th'lora. "Sorry about that captain, Debrah just walked in," she admitted.
"Who or what do you need to be investigated?" Th'lora asked, nodding.
"This is going to sound strange, perhaps even a tad crazy, but I need an investigation done on Klair Valdez," Vausees said as she leaned forward and took a mug from the table that Debrah had placed and brought it to her lips. As she sipped from the mug, she hoped her nervousness wasn't visible on her face, because only a lunatic would request an investigation into a 'dead' person.
"Captain, when do you need the information?" Th'lora inquired, seeing no reason to deny the request of a highly decorated and promising captain.
The sound of Th'lora asking her when she needed the information instantly calmed Vausees, as she knew her request would be granted right then and there. "There is no timetable, just when you can," she said as she replaced the mug on the table.
"I will have what I can get to you as soon as possible," Th'lora said, nodding.
The holographic projector then turned off as the image of Th'lora faded away.
Th'lora sits down in her office a few days later and locks the door. After going over her finds one more time, she establishes a secure and encrypted connection with Vausees. She informed her that she had discovered some disturbing content and was wondering if she could receive an encrypted data package.
Vausees informs her that she is not at home at the moment and that she and Debrah are out and about in town. Debrah states that her homestead has an encrypted data bank, gives Th'lora the code to access the data bank, and tells her that they will contact her once they have gone over the information Th'lora has given them.
Vausees and Debrah return home from town a few hours later and immediately begin sorting through the data that Th'lora sent them. Vausees sighs and rubs her eyes, clearly exhausted by what she has read and enraged at her former lover for faking her own death.
Debrah approaches with two glasses of wine, one of which she hands to Vausees, who graciously accepts and begins to take a long pull from the glass. She places a nearly half-empty glass on the table and looks up at her fiance.
“It took me nearly a decade to get over this woman and her supposed death before discovering she was still alive." Her irritation was audible in her voice as she spoke to Debrah.
Debrah remained silent as she listened to her speak about Vausees' former lover's deception. She knew that when Vausees entered one of these states, she should remain silent and let her fiance rant and rave uninterrupted.
Vausees placed the PADD in her hand on the table and rubbed her eyes again, "Baby if someone did this to you, what would you do in return?" Vausees asked Debrah as her hand dropped from her eyes, which opened to look at her.
Debrah remained silent as she considered the question Vausees had just posed to her. She shook her head and looked into Vausees' eyes. "I honestly don't know what I would do, but if I were in your shoes, I would want answers regardless of how I got them. Especially the why," she said, standing up and moving over to sit beside her. Debrah slipped her hand into Vausees's and began to massage her soon-to-be wife's wrist and fingers, having discovered that her hand was clenched into a tight ball.
Debrah's simple, yet intimate gesture to Vausees' wrist and hand was soothing and distracting from the anger that was building up inside her mind. She looked at Debrah and smiled as she leaned in and gently placed her mouth over Debrah's. Vausees speaks a moment later, as they separate to catch their breath.
"We need to contact Captain Vehl," she said, her breathing deep as she sat there with her forehead pressed against Debrah's.
Debrah swallowed and nodded in agreement, but she didn't trust her own voice, and her eyes were closed as she fought the urge to increase their arousal even more.
Vausees sat there for a moment, both willed and allowing her symbiont to control her state of mind. When her eyes opened, she reached out and tapped the holoprojector, saying, "Call, captain Vehl." As it attempted to connect with Th'lora, the projector powered up and displayed the command.
Th'lora was looking over the station logs at her desk when the holoprojector next to her lit up and displayed Vausees' name. She took the incoming call.
"I was wondering if you had forgotten to call me," she said, putting the monitor to sleep and concentrating on Vausees.
Vausees sat there for a moment, then nodded when Th'lora appeared on the holo.
"Nope, I hadn't forgotten, I just needed to understand what you sent me, and I also needed to process some unchecked emotions before I called," Vausees explained, before adding, "Captain, do you happen to know if Klair is in Boulder?"
"Actually, she is," Th'lora said, referring to Klair's most recent mission. "She appears to be on the hunt for a Tal Shiar mole. And, to be more specific, a Federation officer."
"Wait, you're saying the Federation planted an officer in the Romulan Tal Shiar, and she's now looking for this person in Boulder?"
"We don't know, but I do know that Klair was promoted to Captain a few months ago and given complete autonomy to run her own missions as she saw fit, and this came up. I'm not sure why, but if I find out, I'll let you know." Th'lora closed the file on Klair's current mission.
Klair sat alone in the diner, reviewing the file on her PADD. She read the contents while flicking her fingers across the device's smooth surface. Cheon Kyo's service record as Captain of the USS Denver was on the PADD.
As she went over his records again, Klair's mind was filled with rage. Nothing in them suggested that he was a Tal Shiar, but she was familiar with their brutal methods from her time as a handled field agent. 'I know you're a traitor,' she reminded herself. She noticed the waitress approaching her with a small plate of apple pie out of the corner of her eye.
As soon as the desert was placed on the table, she looked up with a soothing smile, which was the absolute opposite of what was going on inside her head and hidden behind the calm she exuded. "Thank you," she said softly, dismissing the waitress and returning her attention to the PADD.
Vausees sat alone in the living room, her eyes closed. Debrah had retired to the bedroom and was sound asleep. As Vausees sat there in silence, shadows danced on the wooden walls; her thoughts were far from Boulder. She remembered Klair's touch and even her taste, despite the fact that it had been years since she had felt or tasted such things.
Her light blue eyes shot open, and she stood up. She snatched up her long black duster and slipped into it without missing a beat. She paused in front of the bedroom on her way to the front door, looking into the room and at Debrah sleeping. She sighed as she quietly entered the room and hovered over her fiance. Her light blue eyes pierced the shadow that covered Debrah's smooth skin, and her breath caught in her throat for a moment before she turned her face away and closed her eyes.
"I'll handle it my way. I hope you can forgive me," she said quietly into the darkness as she slipped out of the room and out of the homestead, heading for Boulder, where she knew Klair was.
Klair set her fork down as the lights went out. She knew who had done it and peered out the diner's small circular window at someone dressed entirely in black under the soft glow of a street lamp. "I was wondering how long it would take you," she said softly to the person in the light, who she knew perfectly well.
A soft swear from the waitress drew Klair's attention for a split second, but when she returned her gaze to the street lamp, the person had vanished. She scoured the dimly lit street, but couldn't see the figure in black, owing to the obscurity of the window size and her knowledge of her ex's skill.
She stepped outside, threw on her overcoat, and made her way to her room at the Inn. She kept looking around her as she walked, mostly into the shadows, but no one was there. She knew she hadn't imagined the figure standing under the street lamp, and she would be damned if she allowed her mind to wander away from her mission and focus on her ex.
She heard a phaser charging as she closed the door to her room. She smiled as she looked over her shoulder at the blue glow of the stun setting that had moved out of the shadow of the corridor leading to the bathroom.
"Sit down," said a disguised voice, but Klair recognized it.
"You can take off the disguise, Captain Vax," Klair said as she turned to face the woman who was still partially hidden in the hallway's shadows.
"I won't repeat myself, Ms. Valdez," Vausees said as she stepped out of the shadows and looked into Klair's dark brown eyes, her light blue eyes shining with a slight glow.
Klair took a seat, recalling Vausees's state of mind all too well. She had seen Vausees' temper flare up on several occasions and knew not to press that button. Even if she knew she could take her ex-lover, she knew she wouldn't leave the room unharmed. Besides, it would only prolong her mission, and she didn't have time to waste.
"What brings you here?" Vausees inquired.
"It's none of your business, Vax."
Vausees' lips curled into a dark growl as she stood there hearing Klair mention her symbiont's name. "You no longer have the right to use that name," she said through clenched teeth, her phaser held outstretched and level with Klair's face. "And I'm making it my concern because you're now in my town."
For a brief moment, Klair was taken aback. She recognized Vausees as a woman who lived in space. As she looked at Vausees, she cocked her head slightly. "Your town? When did you consider Earth, let alone Boulder, Colorado, to be your home?"
"Since you decided to come here when you were supposed to be dead," she retorted, "since I discovered you lied to me and abandoned me." Since you thought it best to do a mission in my fiance's hometown and to go after someone in the Federation," she explained, having realized that the only reason to return to Earth was to go after someone on the planet.
Klair was caught off guard once more, and she was growing tired of it. As she looked at Vausees, her dark eyes narrowed. "How?" was all she could say.
"I know everything about you, or almost everything," Vausees continued, her gaze fixed on Klair. "Now "Raven," are you going to tell me who or should I call my fiance and my intelligence officer to this room?"
Klair knew she had to try to escape quickly. If Vausees was this close to determining who her target was, she needed to finish the mission right away. She charged at Vausees without thinking. Her palm landed on the side of Vausees' wrist as her other hand snatched the phaser from the disabled hand and tossed it out of reach. Vausees was taken aback by the sudden movement and pain, but she forced herself to react and block a kick with her shin as she attempted to counter with her good hand. It was easily blocked and became trapped against Klair's arm and torso.
When Vausees caught a fist in the face, her vision blurred. When she felt the impact of a knee to the gut, she grunted. Her legs buckled as her breath left her lungs and her strength left her body. As she struggled to stay awake, stars exploded behind her closed eyes.
Klair threw Vausees' body to the ground as soon as she noticed her legs giving out. Leaning down, she said one word into her ear, 'Cheon,' then grabbed her bag from under the bed and walked out the door, not bothering to close it.
Vausees' mind replayed the word as she lay there, her body screaming out in pain that numbed all of her other senses. She tried to stay awake, but her body won and forced her to fall unconscious.
What were you thinking
Debrah wiped Vausee's brow with a damp cloth. The right eye of Vausee was swollen shut and had a deep periwinkle color. When Vausees saw Debrah, she opened her good eye and then looked away.
"Look at me, baby," Debrah said as she sat beside her.
"You're upset with me," Vausees said as she lay there.
"Not at all, but I'm perplexed as to why."
"I needed answers."
"Did you get them?" Debrah inquired as she turned her fiance's face toward her.
Vausees allowed the painful touch as she gazed into Debrah's green eyes. She moved her head. "I don't recall."
"What were you thinking?" Debrah asked, slipping her hand away from Vausee's face.
“I thought I knew her but I was wrong…dead wrong.”
"You're lucky someone noticed the door was open and called the authorities," Debrah said as she stood up and walked over to the window. Snow was starting to fall again and she shook her head as she turned back to Vausees. "Just promise me that if you're going to do something stupid, you'll bring me along."
Vausees sighed and pushed herself up into a seated position. She took the cloth and placed it in her lap, saying, "I doubt there will be another," as she looked down at the cloth with her good eye.
Klair stepped off the shuttle that had taken her from Boulder to San Francisco. She closed her eyes for a moment as a breeze kissed her skin and the smell and taste of salt assaulted her.
Her mind was flooded with images of her and Vausees standing on the boardwalk, talking about their future together. She growled and shook her head, attempting to shake the memory from her mind. She opened her eyes and walked toward Starfleet Headquarters.
Vausees stood in front of a bathroom mirror, inspecting the coloring around her eye. Debrah had applied a dermal stimulator to her swollen, open eye. She sobbed softly as she lowered her head.
Debrah's hand came to rest on her back as she heard her sobbing and began to rub her back.
"I failed," Vausees said, sobbing.
"How could you have known the type of person she'd become?"
"She was my first love, and I thought I knew everything about her," Vausees turned her head and looked at her. "I was mistaken, and it almost cost me my life."
"I can't imagine the pain you're feeling, but I promise that I will never do that to you," Debrah said as she gently turned her to look into her eyes. As she looked at Vausees, she smiled.
"I am glad you are with me, and I am sorry for trying to fix this issue without consulting you, let alone taking you with me," she said as she leaned forward to rest her head on Debrah's shoulder.
"Don't be concerned. What has been done is done. Just concentrate on us and our future," Debrah said as she led Vausees from the bathroom into the living room.
"You're right," Vausees said, taking a seat on the couch and curling her legs under her.
Debrah sat next to her, pulling up their wedding itinerary so far.