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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again Part: 3 and USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Who Mourns for Tyrants?

Cargo Bay 8, USS Denver
July 24, 2374 @10:00
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The cargo bay was empty aside from three torpedo casings set side-by-side on their stands. The bay doors parted and Órlaith entered alone. Her security escorts turned and stood next to the bulkhead on the outside. 

Órlaith crossed to the center of the bay to stand in front of the remains of her family.  She was the last one. Setting down the bundle of crimson she was carrying she separated one of the folded cloths and shook it out to reveal the flag of the Terran Empire.  She was surprised there was a pattern for it in the Denver‘s database. 

One by one she draped the flags over the coffins. There was no one else to mourn their passing. Just Órlaith and silent tears began to flow.

Her mother was in the center, and she placed a hand on the coffin.  “Not exactly the state funeral befitting the Empress of the Empire is it mamma?”

She moved to the right casket and stood there in silence, guilt gripping her. Through a choked voice, she forced out the words, “Sorry brother.  Us against the world?  I… sorry.” She fell silent as she wiped her face with the back of her hand.  “I just wish you had listened,  but that wasn’t in your nature was it? All action.” She gave a grave smile and a sad chuckle.  “I won’t forget you.”

Riandri stood off to one side of the cargo bay in the depths of the shadows observing Órlaith say her farewells to her family. It didn’t take much for her to understand exactly how Órlaith felt. Following the events in Montana she had spent 36 hours in sickbay during which time she had been on the receiving end of more than a few angry telling-offs by the medical staff. The disruptor blast she looks at had come close to claiming her life and if not for Órlaith she would have died for sure. The only positive side of her stay in medical seemed to be that the frequent headaches, nausea, and dizziness seemed to have resolved themselves; likely due to the removal of individuals in the caskets before her. 

Riandri stepped forward out of the shadows by the doorway. “The loss of one’s family, no matter what they have done, is the hardest thing to endure. For what it is worth you have my sympathies for their loss. I wish things had turned out differently.”

Órlaith looked up feeling self-conscious from her raw display of emotion.  She had been told it was a sign of weakness.  But Riandri showed no indication of derision, and her condolences seemed heartfelt. 

“Me too,” Órlaith replied simply. 

Riandri smiled and walked up beside her and stood there without saying anything for a few moments, “I wanted to thank you for saving my life and the lives of those on the team I was with. If you hadn’t acted the way you did we would likely be dead. I know for a fact I would be after I was shot.” She turned to look at Órlaith, “I know you have spoken to Commander Cheon but we will need to have a full debriefing soon.” Before Órlaith could respond Riandri held up a hand, “This is not the time for it, take the time you need to mourn your losses.”

Órlaith nodded, not really knowing what to say.  What was there to say? After a long silence, she finally spoke, “No thanks needed.  I did what I thought was right… I just hope Ian… my brother understands that.   There was no need to kill your people.  He just…”  she let her voice trail off choked with guilt and emotion.

“I am sure he does. It is easy for one to lose their way when continually pushed in a direction. You did well making your own path. I think he would be happy about that,” Riandri remarked.

“I wish I could believe you, Lieutenant,” she Órlaith replied.  “I really do.”

Riandri looked at the young woman for a moment and knew, at least in part how she felt. Without thinking she stepped up and wrapped Órlaith in a hug. Seeing Órlaith struggle with the loss before she reminded her of herself all those years ago when she grappled with her own feelings of guilt and shame for surviving the assimilation of her world and then more recently with the loss of James. “It is a belief you, we, all of us who have lost people must have for ourselves. If they cared for you at all then I know they would want the best for you.”

Órlaith hung her head,  “You didn’t know Ian.  He cared for no one but himself.  So no, I…”  She wiped the tears from her cheeks and sighed.  “Sorry,” she exclaimed feeling self-conscious again.

Riandri sighed, “Sadly some people are like that, all you can do is think about how you will want to move forward to make yourself happy and hope, I guess, that they would accept that.”

“That depends on your people I suppose.  In the Empire, I would be waiting for my execution, but I expect you don’t deal with criminals quite as harshly.   Growth is hard in prison.”

Riandri frowned slightly and stepped back, “We don’t, you are right. Though as for growth in prison, I cannot comment on that Órlaith but no matter what happens there is always a way to improve yourself.” 

Órlaith gave Riandri a skeptical expression,  “The ways of your people are strange. Mama would say it’s weakness, yet you have resisted the Dominion.   That is not weak.  In the reality where the Dominion has come to this quadrant time and time again, they came and conquered with little resistance.   Maybe there’s a strength that isn’t so apparent.”

Hiding her smile Riandri nodded, “That is true and something people often miss.”

Cargo bay – Entrance

Cheon stood by the entrance to the cargo bay. After having delivered the news of Órlaith’s parent’s death, he knew that she needed to see them, one last time. He knew what it felt like to have one’s parents suddenly gone without fully knowing why or how. 

Suddenly a chill ran down his spine and knew that he wasn’t alone, “Seong,” is all that he said as she stood in his shadow.

“What is to become of her?”

Cheon shrugged and shook his head. “That isn’t for me to decide.”

“And me?”

Once again he shrugged, “That’s up to you, however, all this cloak and dagger stuff isn’t really a part of the Federation and her allies,” he said softly.

“But it has its merits, Tal’Shiar,” a wicked grin spread across her lips as she winked.

He shook his head and changed the subject back to where it needed to be. “I think we should have a sit down with my Seong and discuss what the three of us can do to help you ‘stay’ out of trouble.”

Alt Seong’s grin vanished as she looked at him. Reaching up she gently rubbed the area where she had taken the bolt from the disruptor. Though it was healed, a phantom sensation still lingered.

“I think I am done with all of this blood and guts,” she confessed as she stepped out of his shadow and looked up into his eyes.

Cheon nodded, “Meet me in my quarters in an hour.”

A smile crossed her lips and she leaned up onto her toes and kissed his cheek before leaving his side to join Riandri and Órlaith.

Órlaith had not expected an audience for this noting Cheon’s entrance. In reality, she didn’t expect a formal funeral for her family. It was a surprise the crew had even bothered to place them in the casings for burial when a phaser set to vaporize would have been faster and more efficient. 

Riandri glanced at Cheon as he stepped up beside them, “Commander, how is your shoulder doing? On the mend I trust?”

“Fully functional,” he replied as he placed a hand on the casket. “I may not have believed in what your family did Órlaith, but no life should have been taken, and no family should have been ripped apart by this chaos.” He looked at her with genuine guilt in his eyes. 

Riandri stood silently beside the pair and nodded in agreement with the XO.

“Thank you, and to be honest I didn’t believe in their goals either.  Such a waste.  My father… both of them were mechanical geniuses and natural leaders.  They could have made the galaxy better, yet they chose violence.”

“Indeed,” Cheon said, placing his hand on her shoulder. “I’m not sure what will happen to you after you leave this ship, but if your statements are true, you should be well taken care of. Also, and I realize this is a long shot, but if you find yourself wanting to join the fleet out here,” he pauses to catch her gaze, “I’ll endorse it. If no one else does.”

Having said that he takes a look at Riandri and motions for them to leave to give this grieving woman time to do just that, grieve.