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Posted on Mon Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:23am by Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez

Mission: Removing The Blindfold. Season 1 Episode 5
Location: Jrez's quarters

The room was dimly lit, just the sort of thing that Jrez hoped would inspire intimacy. Thalal was due off shift and he’d prepared a nice meal. Unfortunately, it was starting to go cold. She should have been here a good quarter of an hour ago. He thought of paging her but dismissed the idea; that smacked of keeping tabs on her and he had no intention of doing that.

Half and hour passed....three quarters of an hour. Finally, after over fifty minutes, he heard his door chime ring.

“Enter.”

One look at Thalal and any thought of her tardiness left Jrez. He’d seen hang-dog, he’d seen depressed – Thalal combined that and more. Instantly he knew what the problem was and just as quickly he knew he had to tread very carefully in dealing with it.

“Dinner?” he suggested.

“I’m not hungry, Akina.”

“Maybe not, but some food will do you good. It’s not anything special,” he lied, “but you’ll be better in the morning for some nutrient now.”

Thalal considered that. Food was the last thing she wanted but Akina was right. The world moved on and, however much she might wish it not so, she had to move with it. “A little bit then,” she conceded.

Jrez hurried out to where the dishes were waiting. He spooned a small portion of each onto a plate and warmed it. Thalal was seated when he returned; he noticed she’d put a serviette in her lap. Hopefully a good start., he thought.

Thalal did little more than pick at the food. “I’m sorry, Akina. I’m not hungry.” She tried for a smile but it didn’t really work.

“What’s wrong, love?” he asked.

“Nothing.” It was said with such sadness that Jrez knew better than to contradict. “There’s been a few things,” she continued, hoping to avoid the real problem. “The girl’s night out... Helen Lyons said she invited me and Amber Winters said Helen had told her so but...I didn’t get the invitation. I found out about it because I happened to be patrolling the Promenade at the time. I don’t know what went wrong – it was probably something completely innocent but.... It all adds up, Akina.”

“That’s not it though, is it love?” How to drag it out of her? How to exorcise the beast? “You’ve spoken to Commodore DeVuor? You were hoping to do so when I saw you heading out to the night out.”

“Conmmodore DeVuor was.... she didn’t look like she wanted company. She wasn’t anti-social or anything but she wanted to be alone. Possibly she needed to work through what her new responsibilities meant and how this threat of war will impact on her. Whatever.... I chose to respect her isolation.”

Jrez could not but applaud that. He reached out and took her hand. Thalal flinched then, sighing, she eased herself into the intimacy “For a security officer, you’d make a good diplomat,” he said. “But that isn’t it, is it?”

Thalal grabbed Jrez’s hand and thrust it away. “You...!”

“That isn’t it,” Jrez persisted. He kept his voice quiet, soft. There was only one way forward, there was only ever one way forward – you had to fight down your own fears and...well, you had to go forward. “Thalal, you’ve spoken to Captain Crawford and she’s said you can’t go back to Andor – at least, not right now.”

It was as if a dam burst. Tears streamed from Thalal’s eyes. Her breath came in rasping gasps. She reached out to Jrez and grabbed him. It was not so much a hug as clinging but Jrez accepted it. For his part, he stroked Thalal’s back

“Shhh....” he said soothingly. Still holding her, he stood and moved round to kneel beside her. “It’s alright, love. Everything’s alright. Your time will still come.” Talk about a cliché, he thought but he couldn’t think of anything better.

“It....no....it won’t...it..... Never...,” she let out with a wail.

“Thalal zh’Simal,” Jrez said sternly, “you’re made of better that this. You’re Andorian: you were a member of the Imperial Guard; you are a member of Starfleet. More than that, you’re a non-commissioned officer. I expect officers to buckle under at the least sign of stress but NCOs....? Remember who you are Petty Officer zh’Simal and act accordingly!”
.
It was enough. Thalal pulled Jrez in close. This time it was an embrace. It might have lacked the intensity Jrez would have liked but better this than what had gone before. He held her tight. “You knew when you signed up that you’d given your life to Starfleet – that’s what you wanted. Now you want to turn back. Thalal, it will happen. Not now, not in the foreseeable future but it wi.....”

“And if I die, Akina?” Thalala demanded, “what then? What if my bondmates die?”

“As for your bondmates, if they die there’s not a thing you can do about it. As....”

“And then I have to live with...”

Jrez pulled Thalal’s head level with his and held it firmly. “Thalal, you did what you did for the best of reasons. If.... If others of your bondmates die you can still...” He put a finger to her lips. “We’ve been through this before. You can still procreate!”

“I know, Akina, I know but it will not be the same. I’d never.... I’d never forgive myself. I’ve been selfish and I’ve been thoughtless. I can live with what others think of me but how can I live with myself?” The tears came freely, running in rivulets down her cheeks and dampening her uniform. Jrez held on, waiting for the storm to pass as he knew it, inevitably, would.

Finally, with a great heaving sigh, Thalal regained her composure. “I’m sorry, Akina, I should not have put you through that.”

“How do you feel now, love.”

“Better, thank you.”

“Then don’t be concerned with putting me through that. I’m glad I could be here for you.”

Thalal kissed him. Her lips were salty from here tears but Jrez didn’t mind. “You’re a sweet, sweet man, Akina Jrez. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“And you’ll still get the chance to find out. When this war’s over you’re off to Andor. Put in a formal request for permission to return to your home planet once hostilities have ceased. I’m sure that Captain Crawford will grant permission if put in that manner.”

Thalal tried hard to smile. “The captain indicated that could be possible.”

Jrez rose and held out his hand. “Come, love, lets go for a walk. We might get something to eat at the replimat too.”

The smile came easier to Thalal’s face as she allowed herself to be gently pulled up. She did not reply, she just walked to the door, her hand firmly grasped in Jrez’s.

 

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