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Posted on Sun Sep 11th, 2011 @ 9:47am by Steve Summers

Mission: All Souls Descend. Season 2, Episode 6

Leanne sat holding a small cup of tea in bar on the lower promenade. The yells of DABO! echoed from the table near her. Life was returning to normal on the station, but she looked like a complete mess. The woman wore some plain, off duty clothes, her eyes looked sunk into her head, and her complexion was pale. The cup of tea was the only thing that made her feel good at the moment, that and the thought of getting together with Krissy and Bev. They where the only two people she wanted to see, especially after everything that had just transpired.

Beverly stepped through the portal and into the bar, also wearing some simple off duty clothing as her Admirals uniform always seemed to dampen the spirits of those around her. She saw Leanne first sitting quietly in a corner not really integrating yet not wanting to be seen.

The barman now approached her from his side of the bar.

"Could I have a Saurian Brandy' please!"

Steve looked up from sweeping a cracked bottle up and said, "Sure 'Ill just go get it from the back; the previous owner of this bar has let it go to wrack and ruin. It'll be one moment". He left to get her the drink.

While the barman disappeared Bev once again stole a look over at Leanne. She looked like hell slightly warmed up, and given what she had been through it was understandable.

Steve returned to the bar and handed the Admiral her drink. "Here you go, I get off soon maybe we could go for a drink?"

The wizened Admiral couldn't help but smile at the brash nature of the barman and admire the fact that despite her age, now nearing the big five zero, she was still attracting young men, or in this case someone who was barely out of his teens.

"I appreciate the offer, but I have some friends I'm waiting for!"

So once her drink was in her hand she moved over to her friend, still somewhat taken a back at the not too unwelcomed offer from the young man. "Can I join you, Lee?"

Leanne looked up at Bev. "Sure, I didn't really know where would be a good place to meet you so I figure this would work fairly well." She picked up the cup and took another sip. "I'm sure you've got a bunch of paperwork to fill out after that mess."

"That dosen't even cover the half of it." She took a sip of the drink she held in her hand. "If I can be blunt Leanne, you look like hell! I'm authorizing Lam for extended leave and I can do the same for you if you want it?"

"I've thought about it, go back home for a while. It is all starting to get to be too much for me out here." She looked down at her cup. "I saw everything that happened, but couldn't do anything about it."

"I can authorize at least three months leave for you Lee... Don't be afraid of taking it." She was drawing on all the information she had seen or read about the possession by these creatures, and of the report written by the late Admiral Quinn. "I can sympathise with what you're going through' Lee. Remember, I've been there myself when I was changing into that creature. You helped me through it and now I want to help you through this!"

The two women continued to talk in low tones awaiting the final arrival of the trio, the gentle hum passing them by without a care.

Finally, looking slightly ruffled, Kristina Mason arrived and threw herself wearily into the vacant seat between the seated women. "Sorry I'm late." She sighed. "Still picking up the pieces; might be a month or so before the Marines will trust me after the asault."

Leanne looked at Krissy and got slightly uncomfortable. Of all the people that she - no, the creature had manipulated - Krissy was the one that was most directly involved. "Hi." She looked down at her tea with a sad look.

Mason looked between her two friends and sighed, "Well if we'll going to be in this somber mood I think I'd better get a drink and ask for the bottle." The Commander excused herself and crossed to the bar, not missing the misery being emitted by Leanne. The security chief shrugged her shoulders as the stood that the bar, she held no resentments against Ulonova - all forgive and forget.

Steve polished a sign near the door and noticed an officer near the bar. "What's your order?"

Of establishments dotted throughout the station booze hound, Kristina Mason had not paid this particular one a visit. She pouted at the question: "What's your speciality?"

"Todays speciality is Vulcan brandy, do you want it?" Steve said quickly.

"Hmm," Mason's jaw worked with thought as she tried to summarise her mood and therefore what she needed to settle it. "Make it a double. After my day I certainly need it."

"Comin' right up," Steve said with a delight, knowing that he had recommended the most expensive drink. "Here you go," Steve said, trying to hold back his chuckle.

She took a sip and clenched her teeth at the strength as it hit the back of her throat; a comforting warm sensation followed as it trickled down. She nodded her head in approval before moving back to the two women.

"Well," Beverly lifted her glass into the air with the ghosts of the last few days still floating near to the surface. "I think its time we toasted... To lost friends. Lorran Vos, T'Arjia, Mike Lake, Podi Weston and Annabelle Brenari".
Tears started to well in her eyes at the names she had started to rattle off but, at the same time, so many had been missed or forgotten.

"Here is to that." Leanne grabbed her cup and lifted it up. "It has been a rough tour of duty hasn't it?" Maybe I should take up that extended leave Bev offered

Mason tossed back her glass and downed its contents having clinked glasses together. The liquid burned as it descended but did little to ease the new heartache Bev had stirred with her toast. Leanne had been right, it had been a tough journey spanning many long months in which their number had been depleted and many lives lost on each leg. It felt cruel that she continued to live while they did not.

Beverly downed the contents of her glass, the sting of the liquid bringing tears to her eyes...or was it the memory of the fallen friends?
"I can't stay long..," she said to both women. "Take some time Leanne and Krissy, I need you to keep on eye on the new Commanding officer: T'Rena from the Magellan. I've promoted her to Commander and she assumes Command as from tomorrow at eight hundred hours."

Fingering the empty glass Mason nodded at Beverly's request hardly surprised that another CO had already been selected.

"I will I promise." Leanne looked at the two women. "I'll get it cleared with the new CO and I'll take a few weeks." She looked down at her plate then laughed a little bit, something popped into her head and she couldn't get it out. "Did I ever tell you guys about the time that Vos tried to cook me something? He actually set off the fire control systems in my room, it took the engineers three days to repair the damage in my quarters."

The quirky story bought a twitch to Mason's mouth as she envisioned Vos' comical explanation, a far cry from the live man they could all recall. It also stirred however memories of Zeek's tenderness and how lonely she felt without him. Time had yet to heal her fully.

Beverly also had a smile that lingered for a moment as the thought of the failed attempt at cooking brought back memories of Lieutenant Jenkins and her own illicit love affair with him. She had been almost twenty years his senior as well as her junior officer but the feeling of him beneath her, his youthful vitality and strength had pulled her back to him each time.
"Well...." Beverly downed the remainder of her drink. "If you ladies will excuse me I have a transport to catch".
With a final pat on the back for Leanne and a smile for Krissy she once again left her friends, walking away from them to a life of paperwork and administration...or so she hoped.


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