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A New Pack

Posted on Mon Dec 17th, 2018 @ 9:51pm by Lieutenant Ba'zra Jennings & Lieutenant Commander Ronan Channe

Mission: Episode 2: Columbus Ascending
Location: Holodeck 2
Timeline: January 3rd, 2389 11:30 hours

"Computer, lock the holodeck on my authority. Should anyone except Ba'zra Jennings attempt to override the lock, sound an alarm."

"Holodeck program locked under the order of Lt. Commander Ronan Channe. Access by Lt. Ba'zra Jennings permitted; any override of the lockout will sound an alarm."

"Computer, if Ba'zra Jennings enters, give her this message. Message begins. Baz, I am here but I am ... not in control ... if you enter, leave your anger outside. If you can't do that, then don't come in. Message ends."

He had done what he could, more than could be expected given the situation, and he turned his attention to home. The program was his home world, a representation from memory and those few records that existed in the Starfleet database, and though not perfect, it soothed in a way that no other place did. Ronan made his way down into the valley, long, ground-eating strides that precisely stepped between rocks and navigated the irregular, ungraded path with an ease that spoke of long practice. His face was shuttered, nearly thunderous, as he entered a cave concealed by brush, hard to find if you weren't looking for it, and stripped out of his clothes, each movement violent, barely controlled.

The wolf burst out of the cave, running flat out down the path and through the tall grasses, heading for the home place, a fierce growl rumbling low in his throat. Trust was not easy, not since the slavers had found his world and decimated his home, his family, and his childhood. Trust was ... difficult ... and now, words burned in his mind and heart that he had not expected to attach to his (former) commanding officer. The wolf howled his rage and raced through the grasses, looking for something to rend ... to destroy.

Ba'zra got back from her encounter with Marcus. She was still trying to live down the shame of having been in the brig for twenty-four hours with that unsufferable bug. Sure, nobody had outright laughed in her face but she heard everything behind her back. Now had some counselor in her face because the new Captain thought that somehow she was unstable. Well, at least Ronan mostly understood her: being divided - having two halves fighting to be a whole. After all, his world was not all that different and one of many reasons that she felt safe with him and could open up in ways that she had not in years.

A passing thought crossed her brain. Would she allow him to blood her? Mate for life? Part of her scowled and another part of her delighted, the two halves fighting again. She wondered what their child would look like. Would it be four parts? Would that be fair to wish on a child? Shaking her head clean of those thoughts, she entered her quarters and said, "Computer, where is Commander Channe?"

"Commander Channe is on holodeck one."

Curious as to what Ronan was doing on the holodeck, Ba'zra headed over and said, "Computer open holodeck."

The holodeck told Ba'zra as she entered, "Baz, I am here but I am ... not in control ... if you enter, leave your anger outside. If you can't do that, then don't come in."

"Bloody hell," Ba'zra whispered as she looked over the landscape. She knew what this must be: Ronan's homeworld. "You've gone full wolf, haven't you, Ronan? Well, you asked for me, you got me. I'm here, wherever that is."

The holodeck closed behind her and the landscape filled in, evidence of the gate, gone. She started searching for tracks, hoping that she might find some clue of where her boyfriend had gone.

Without enemy to rend, the wolf raced through the long grass and stopped on a low rise, muzzle pointed to the sky as he let out a long howl, filled with rage. He stood, large and powerfully built, silhouetted against the horizon while the winds raked at his gleaming coat and brought with its fierce touch, a scent. The wolf turned, blue eyes glittering with unnatural light, and began a silent approach.

Ba'zra continued to trod through the landscape. The path started to shed itself here and there but picked up after a bit. Grasslands surrounded her. She thought from a rise she saw something looking at her. Cautiously she turned around and then remained in place, silent, looking for a predator that she knew must be out there.

He circled slowly and silently, her scent traveling to him on an artificial breeze. The understood that the scents were wrong and that this place was not ... real ... at least not in the way he remembered from the days when he ran as a cub through these fields. Blue-green grasses rippling in sunlight, encroaching upon the deep shade of primordial trees that stood entwined in ancient embrace, all the while bending and swaying to the song played by a moaning wind in an ancient dance with the tiny, darting insects that moved from tip to tip. The scent .. now that was real ... and for a moment, the rage that clouded his mind parted long enough for him to recognize the scent.

The wolf had nothing but disdain for the complexities of service. The wolf preferred clear cut and simple definitions. One such definition had been a lie. And so he circled, drawing closer to the scent that mattered. Another definition was needed.

Ba'zra watched the grass in the wind. To one side, she noticed that it was not moving in the same direction as the breeze. Ah! There you are! she thought to herself as she stalked her wolf. "I know you're out there, Ronan," she called lightly. "I'm here. Your Ba'zra is here."

The long grass parted and the wolf stepped into the clearing. Alien scents assaulted his sensitive nose though now, rising above those scents was something familiar. Known. He paused, just out of reach, a low growl rising in his chest; anger warred with recognition. What was known must be known again. Tested for betrayal in this unnatural, untrustworthy place.

Ba'zra bent down and opened her arms wide in a welcoming manner. "Come on, Ronan. I've got some nice scritches and pets for you."

The wolf growled reflexively and then stopped, as the scent of her rushed toward him on the (unnatural) breeze. This was ... home ... mate ... rest from a world that betrayed. Pack could not encompass such a large thing as it had. Pack must be redefined. He approached slowly, silently, and came to stand before her. Could she be such a thing? Pack? A pack of two ... completely loyal to the other.

She looked into the wolf's eyes, keeping her arms out and steady. After some time, she brought one underneath Ronan's muzzle, an offering to sniff, to recall the familiarity and show that there was nothing to fear. Why would he revert to this now? What is bothering him?

The wolf breathed in the scent of her and moved in closer, muzzle extended, and in that moment, the wolf came to his decision. He growled, pleasurably and softly, reluctant to surrender and in need of this time with her. Still, honor made its demands and he moved away slightly, intending to return to the cave and his (at the moment) hated human form and then stopped. If she were to be pack, if she could be trusted, then honesty was required. The pause lengthened. Two halves at war; simple logic versus societal niceties.

Ba'zra's voice was calm but pleading. "Come on, Ronan. Come to Ba'zra. Let's talk. Tell me what is going on in there."

The wolf shifted before her, muscle and bone rippling, shifting, until Ronan stood before her. He came to where she knelt and dropped to the grass beside her, heedless of his nudity, and reached out a hand to touch her face then closed his eyes. "He was drunk, Baz. Drunk. While we were finding the dead and chasing the intruder, while the ship was blowing up around us, he was drunk. I have been hunting for the intruder since the day I discovered his ... or her ... existence and he was ... drunk." He turned to her, looking deep into her eyes as though searching to see if she understood what that meant to him. "He's been demoted to XO, with drug testing and all that ... which means I'm no longer XO of the Valkyrie."

Ba'zra growled, disgusted with the situation. "Well, that certainly explains a lot of things," she said spitting onto the ground. "I just got a lovely visit, myself." There was a sarcastic emphasis on the word, "lovely." Ba'zra moved up to Ronan and took him into her arms. "So, where does that leave you? Or me, for that matter?" She gave a short and snide laugh, "Well, I know one place that it is going to leave me." She did not expand upon that concept but waited for Ronan to respond. Her eyes were filled with concern as she held him close to her.

Ronan wrapped his arms around her, breathing in the clean scent of her, as he struggled to put into words what he felt. "My people believe strongly in honor and loyalty to the pack. I made the ship my pack and sought to serve them as I would have my family back on the home world." He sighed against her hair and fought back the grief that memories of that time brought to him. "But that can't be, can it?"

"Why do you say that?" Ba'zra asked curious as to his thoughts. She loved the feeling of security that she had when she was wrapped in Ronan's arms. With him, everything seemed to fade away and was right for a little while. "We all serve the Federation. Some," she paused as she searched for the words, "unfortunately, are not as dedicated?" Ba'zra wondered if that was the right word choice. Certainly Milo was a disappointment to them both. What did it mean for either of them in terms of their future positions?

"Its a hard thing for me to put into words," Ronan said, "because there is that part of me that doesn't need words. Some things are known." He sighed in frustration, the warmth of his breath stirring her hair, "but I will try. When you are pack, you are accepted in a way that I have not seen an equal to. We are loyal without question. Your threats are our threats. Your hurts are our hurts. We celebrate the good moments and commiserate over the sad ones. It's ... I don't know ... wired into our DNA, I guess."

"So, I made the ship pack. When we were attacked, I did what pack is supposed to do. I began to hunt. I still am actually. Sleep ... food ... recreation ... all put aside. Because what matters is the threat to the pack. Now, people mess up. No question. Among my people the greatest punishment you can give is to drive someone out of the pack. To be alone ... is like a living death. And he chose to get drunk rather than deal with the threat, he betrayed pack and for that, he should be removed. Not given my job and full authority over the workings of the ship and crew he betrayed. It sets up a conflict in my head ... which brought me here."

"I see," Ba'zra answered, considering the problem. "It is a betrayal," Ba'zra agreed. "Or a very stupid mistake or both." She held Ronan tighter to her and asked him a hushed question, "What do you know about my history? Or about Klingon history, in general?"

"Not much," Ronan said, "beyond the lessons at the Academy though I plan to learn a great deal more."

"Well, let me tell you as much as I can in a shortened period of time. Klingon society is divided into houses. Perhaps you could consider them packs. Each house looks out for its own and theoretically the entire Klingon people. However, each has their own goals and desires. My father's house was G'Bcyn. IT was not a major house but it was what I was born into. It stressed knowledge and education above all else as the route to power. Hence, my career started in science. But, I digress."

She paused slightly before continuing her story. "My father was K'Tang. I say was, as he was killed in battle during the Klingon Civil War, along with one of my brothers. My House did survive the Civil War and was on the winning side but we did not have a great military because of our emphasis on education, so we were weakened substantially. Our position is tenuous, I am told. I do not know because, shamefully, my human mother ran from the Klingon Civil War and stole me away, as well. I was taken to Earth. Acclimating to Terrans was not easy. They do not understand honor as I was taught. I made few friends because they were weak. Eventually, I joined Starfleet. I looked at it as a way to regain honor, like Worf did. I have not yet been successful." She fretted at that last statement.

"What I do know is that humans are weak willed and weak minded. Often, they mean well but they are flawed. I am half human, as you know. Therefore, I am partially flawed. I am doing my best to overcome it." She shook with the vulnerability that she was sharing with Ronan. Few knew the full extent of her story.

Ronan held her close, taking in her story, lending her his strength as she told her tale. "I too was stolen from my family and my home as a child and I too grew up in a place that held no semblance of honor, at least not the way I understood it. I was beaten so many times I lost count, each intended to remind me of my flaws. It could be," he said softly because this was a private thing, "that flaws are part of all beings no matter the race. I don't know. What I know is that I don't see you as flawed, Ba'zra Jennings. You are you ... you are ... the one being that I trust above all others. Tell me, do Klingons ever ... start new houses ... new packs?"

"You do not see me as flawed?" Ba'zra had to laugh at that. "You are a wonderful liar, Ronan; but, I will accept this lie from you. But, I know the truth. I would not have received a reprimand from you, had you thought I was perfect." She gave him a kiss on the forehead and said, "Klingons have been known to start new houses or packs or even merge." She tilted her head, wondering if he was thinking the same as she had thought earlier. "Is there something that you're trying to ask me, Ronan?"

"Yes," he said at once. "Starfleet and its rules do not define perfection, at least not to my mind, but that is a thing left for lazy discussion before a roaring fire. I have no pack. I'm not even sure the lands my people call home are ours any longer. Some day, I would like to go back there and find out. But for now, all I have to offer is myself. You know me, good and bad. I am not perfect but I am loyal, beyond question, and I am in love ... with you. So I ask, would you ever want to be pack? You and I, together, against whatever comes."

A wide smile filled Ba'zra's face. "I would like nothing better, Ronan." Then in a more sultry voice, as she took his hands in hers. "Take me. Make me yours." She started curling her fingernails in towards her palms. "Save the discussion for later."

And so he did.


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