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Posted on Thu Apr 8th, 2021 @ 10:21pm by Captain Rhenora Kaylen & Chief Petty Officer Remal Kajun

Mission: *CD*
Location: Liberty

It was the next morning before Rhenora received word that their cabin was no longer a crime scene. It would still require the remainder to be demolished and cleared but they would tackle that once they shuttled back down to see what was left.

The morning breakfast was an odd mixture of stubborn determination mixed with a lingering sense of loss. The coffee was drunk, the eggs consumed then there was the moment they almost dreaded.

Rhenora emerged from the bedroom clad in sturdy pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat and boots. There was nothing relaxing or glamorous about what they had to do. Only the lonely heartbreaking work of sifting through the ashes to see if they could salvage anything.

He was bending and stretching his legs and back in an attempt to find the flexibility within him that he had as a youth. It was there, deep down in hiding, he was sure of it. He had also chosen a comfortable pair of pants and a shirt meant to move with him. He would need it just for the heavy lifting he may have to endure. He caught her looking. "What?"

"Is a wife not able to look at her husband?" She poked her tongue out as he stretched, knowing she should probably do the same. "We're not as young as we used to be"

"My knees aren't the same as they used to be. I'm sure you can sympathize. Besides it gives me something to occupy my mind so I don't feel like I am attending the funeral of my closest friend."

"Time waits for no man, in body or in mind" Rhenora replied with a hint of sadness. She approached her husband and wrapped her arms around his midsection. "I'm half wanting to move on but half dreading going down there" she admitted, resting her head on his chest and hearing the reassuring beat of his heart.

“As am I.” He replied simply. “What has you worried?” He was genuinely curious about her attachment to the house versus his. It was a subject they rarely talked about, but would likely be discussed in detail during the rebuild. After all, this would be her home too, and the things she loved would have opportunity to take center stage.

"That whoever did this might come back to finish the job. Or that I realise I might not be able to face the destruction of our forever home" she spoke her truth to the only one who knew all of her secrets. "Actually a good helping of both"

"Facing the destruction of our home is going to be heartbreaking, not going to lie. I get it. Would it make you feel better to have a security detail come down with us?" He held her at arm's length, while looking deep into her eyes.

She thought for a few moments as though considering the suggestion before deciding it would be an intrusion into their personal space.

“ I think this is something we should do ourselves, emotions are going to be raw and I don’t think I want anyone just ‘watching’ over us if you know what I mean? Perhaps they could wait in the village in case we need them?” She offered as a compromise.

He kissed her on her forehead, just above her ridges. “If it makes you feel better, they are your security team after all. I for one don’t expect any trouble, I mean what kind of idiot returns to the scene of the crime anyway. And if they do return, well, let’s just say it will be the last thing they do.” He was trying to sound menacing and tough, for her sake as well as his own.

“ I’m hoping it will just be the two of us - no one needs to see us going through our things” She said sadly as they headed out of their quarters. The security detail walked discreetly behind them. So much for that idea.

As they entered the turbo-lift the guards entered and moved around behind them. Remal gave Rhenora the stink eye, “Was this your idea?” He asked, already feeling uncomfortable in the small space. He knew they had only discussed the notion but this was too much of a weird coincidence.

“ No, but you can bet your ass it was Savar’s. I don’t blame him though - he’s only trying to keep us safe. The notification is probably in my messages which I forgot to check this morning.” She admitted, knowing there was probably no way around it. It was what it would be.

“Are they going to follow us all of the way to Bajor, to our home?” He asked in more than a whisper.

“Yes.” The guard behind him spoke up, answering his question.

Remal half chuckled, “I, uh, I guess I thought they never spoke. My mistake. I guess that answers that.” The doors opened to a short corridor where at the end lay a set of doors Remal had never been through. “What’s down here?” He queried Rhen.

“ Oh a little something that I keep for special occasions” She smiled as the security guards flanked them leading up to the small ship. Thankfully the officers chosen were more multi-skilled than the usual security grunt - meaning one was a qualified pilot and the other a competent ops officer.

The doors parted before them, revealing the interior of the Captains Yacht - a small vessel not usually used but on occasions such as this was terribly useful. It had more stowage space than the average shuttle and was infinitely more comfortable whilst still being practical.

Mouth agape, he dead stared at her, “How long have you had this? And you chose not to say anything?” He thought about the number of trips they had taken, and the many times he had played catch up while she went on ahead. He was no pilot, but he knew a few and this was almost a hidden gem of luxury.

“ How long? Since I took command...I find it a bit pretentious to use on a regular basis though. Generally a regular shuttle will do the job and is far more economical” She shrugged as she settled into the passenger area.

He took a slow seat next to her. "Well, moving up in the universe. Perk of being a captain with so much importance, huh." Then he spotted a glass case filled with a variety of bottles. "Is that Springwine?"

"For special occasions, births, weddings, houses burning down. You know that sort of thing" Rhenora smiled. "Care for some, or is coffee more your style at this hour?"

He reached for one of the bottles. “There is no time that is a bad time for wine. At least none that I’ve found.” He uncorked the bottle and poured two glasses. “Birth, drink some wine. Death, drink some wine. Marriage, drink some wine. Endlessly plotting the downfall of society, well, you get the picture.”

“Thinking in general - drink some wine” Rhenora accepted the glass, knowing it would take the edge off her raw emotions as they descended down towards the planet. She was dreading what they would find. Remal’s life’s work in ruins.

He casually sipped his wine while watching out the window as the small ship detached from the underbelly of the main ship and began it’s flight towards the planet. She was swift, agile and graceful. The ship wasn’t half bad either.

They descended through the clouds, and made a low flying pass over the water and then the village before landing. The yacht was parked a short distance outside of the village but within easy walking distance of the cabin. The couple disembarked and walked in silence until they reached the start of the path to their cottage. The stench of burnt possessions was oppressive.

"Are you ready?" She asked, holding his hand to offer comfort.

His stomach twisted, “Not really.” He could already see the flowers, dried and shriveled embers of their former glory. They of course would grow back possibly once this season, if, their roots hadn’t been damaged. Otherwise they would be lucky to grow at all. “Can we just stay here for a moment?”

“Of course” She replied, taking a moment to take in the ruins of their home. The security officers set up a perimeter and kept a discrete distance. The roof had collapsed, the walls still stood but were structurally unsound and would require demolition. Hopefully they may be able to find some trinkets left unscathed by the heat inside. She sneezed as the soot tickled her nose.

He approached the first stone laid upon the path and crouched down. The stone and the earth were unfazed by the ravages of the fire. He ran his sentimental fingers over the flowers, carefully touching the crisp outer layers. The heat of the flame had evaporated the water within leaving only a dried and charred husk behind.

He allowed himself a moment of reverence as he remembered the chore of planting each and every bulb and even further back as he worked to adjust the genetics until he had the perfect color shape and scent. Pulling one from the ground he pulled it to his nose and sniffed. Sulfur and methane with trace elements of hatred, a detestable scent. As he stood he closed his large hand around the flower feeling it crumble into ash within his fist.

Without saying another word he took another step closer to the cabin, and then another, knowing Rhen was mourning in her own way and at her own pace. This was his. One piece at a time. Breathe, just breathe, breathe, just breathe.



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