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 Attaining a confession

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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:01 am

"I'd welcome the company," he said, smiling weakly. Their stroll together through the Promenade to the Replimat was slow and careful.
"Once we have the coordinates, the only thing we'll have left is to go and find them, you know. I can't think of a better reason to use the Hippolyta. I wonder how many Federation prisoners are being held there, how many Bajorans." His lips drew into a flat line. "I wonder how many people have given up hope."
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:07 am

Wait, the Hippolyta?

T'Pren stayed very close to Rai's side as they walked, keeping an eye on him in case he stumbled or fainted or whoknewwhat. But she stopped dead in her tracks for a few seconds when her CO started planning a rescue mission for her fathers.

"Sir, I--" She frowned deeply, making sure to catch up to him if he kept going. "That is--"

The half-Vulcan sighed. "When I stop being in shock, I am sure I will be grateful for the gesture beyond words, but with tensions so high between the Cardassians and the Bajorans, is now really the time? We don't even know how old her information is."
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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:16 am

"We'll send a small reconnaissance vessel first, of course. I felt her though, when she told us. She's telling the truth. We can try to get them back through the Cardassian government, but it might take years before we even get the Cardassians to admit this penal colony exists, much less get their cooperation. They'll bog us down with bureaucracy. They'll try to negotiate a prisoner exchange. In the meantime, they're out there, waiting for us. It might be more than just your fathers, it could be hundreds prisoners. Even if they weren't the fathers of my Lieutenant, I'd still go after them. It's the right thing to do. We'll be in and out before they even know we're there, we've got Romulan tech on our side now."
They arrived at the Replimat, where he ordered a very large, glistening double cheeseburger. The dark pupils of his eyes already shone a little bit brighter as he sat down to dig in.
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:21 am

The nausea had returned to T'Pren by the time the burger arrived, so as she joined Rai at the table, she looked down at her delicately-boned hands resting on the lap of her uniform. The left one was already starting to swell and turn some very impressive shades of black and green, so she imagined her jaw must be starting to noticeably bruise as well.

"Will you stay behind on the station or will you leave that to the Lieutenant Commander?" she wondered, her voice barely audible.
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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:37 am

"I really want to take the Hippolyta out for her first run. Selfish, I know, but I've been stuck here with runabouts for so long."
He squinted at the mark on her jaw.
"Lieutenant, when did that happen? Have you been sparring with Akhil?"
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:42 am

T'Pren looked up in surprise at the question, completely confused as to what they were discussing until Rai mentioned Akhil.

"Is it coming in?" she asked instead of giving a straight answer, reaching up to touch the massive affected area of her face. "I'll get it taken care of after this, sir, there just wasn't time between..." Whatever it was, she trailed off, glancing surreptitiously around them for listening ears and then dropping her voice even further: "Is it safe to leave her in charge of the station? Someone ought to stay behind." And by someone, she may or may not have meant herself.
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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:50 am

"It's quite alright, I'm glad he's helping you find an outlet. You deserve it. Let Regan give you an anti-inflammatory though, it'll only take a moment and you'll be ready to wage another glorious battle before you know it," he chuckled softly.
"I couldn't agree with you more, I was planning on leaving Dr. Ozan in charge for this mission. She has clearance, she's perfectly capable, and I trust her. I know she'll give me a good medical officer for away missions, too."
He took a huge bite out of his burger.
"This could really use a milkshake. Why didn't I get a milkshake? I'm going to go get a milkshake."
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 2:56 am

At the news that Regan would be staying behind, T'Pren experienced a surge of panic, both because it meant someone else was going to get to stay behind and because it meant that someone else was the one person on whom she depended most. She could find absolutely nothing to say that seemed worth the saying and another wave of nausea passed through her when Rai began to talk of milkshakes.

So when he got up to go get one, she put her elbows on the table very rudely and then put her face in her hands, working much too hard at remembering how to breathe.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 3:11 am

Rai returned with a tall, Neapolitan milkshake, which he sucked through a straw until his cheeks caved.
"Lieutenant, you might actually look worse than I do. You're very sweet-- the sweetest-- but you don't have to stay on account of me. All I needed was a little iron and a chat with a friend. Why don't you go rest up a bit?"
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 3:16 am

The young lieutenant shook her head, still covering her face with her palms, and only after practically manually walking herself through the breathing process did she finally look up to meet Rai's gaze. She did, in fact, look absolutely miserable, though she wasn't crying yet. "I'd rather not be alone, if you don't mind," she admitted in a thick-voiced whisper.

T'Pren's cheeks (well, the parts that weren't turning pine green from Akhil's fist) flushed suddenly as she realized he may in fact mind. "But of course you have a promotion to prepare for."
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 3:28 am

"I imagine, with a partial Vulcan upbringing, that one of your fathers emphasized the importance of independence, but let me assure you that there's nothing more genuine than wanting to be with other people in your dark hours. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Stick around as long as it takes."
He devoured his sandwich as quickly as he could.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Wed May 21, 2014 3:33 am

T'Pren opened her mouth to tell Rai that, in fact, Muroc was a rare Vulcan breed who let his daughter enjoy her emotions and flirt with both sides of her heritage as much or as little as she liked. Her mouth opened...and shut...opened again...and finally clicked shut and stayed that way. Because the idea of speaking about him was too painful, yes, but also because she had no idea which verb tenses to use. Her expression lapsed into a troubled one, her Vulcan brow knit in deep, difficult thought.

She said nothing and paid no attention whatsoever to the Commander and his food.
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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 10:40 pm

Rai went to visit Tahain in security after the promotion ceremony, Lt. Inabnet wasn't far behind.
He lowered the forcefield, and Dr. Tahain lethargically nudged her confession over the threshold of her cell. He quickly replaced the forcefield, still unwilling to trust a former agent of the Obsidian Order.
A lump formed in his throat as he read over the sum of her misdeeds. He felt far less terrible about torturing her. Tahain had spared no detail to the extent of her cruelty and callousness to her patients, victims, and subordinates.

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 10:48 pm

Lieutenant Inabnet may not have been far behind, but she did dawdle as much as she dared, trying to work up the courage to read the confession and wondering apprehensively whether or not she really wanted to do that in the first place.

There were large gaps in her memories of her adolescence. Maybe it was better that way. Maybe not remembering everything was a kindness the Cardassians had done her.

But show up she did, still not too far behind the newly appointed Captain, in her dress uniform and with her hair still intricately braided back from her face and ears. Rai no doubt felt her outside the door, calming herself and steeling her nerves with one last careful moment of breathing. When she stepped silently inside, she gave her attention to Rai instead of Tahain, waiting to hear from him just how bad it was. Of course, she could feel him now too, feel the disgust and horror. She pressed her lips together tightly and lifted her brows at him. Did she want to read it? her look asked.
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Capt Darren Rai

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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 10:57 pm

"Lieutenant, I-- I don't know if you want to read this. I'm not sure it would necessarily grant you the peace you're seeking," he said. "It's not my choice to make. I figure, you've been through enough," he said.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:03 pm

And she almost agreed. Not just because T'Pren herself was dealing with some fairly intense anxiety about what might be on that report but because she trusted Rai and a large part of her was perfectly willing to take him at his word and walk away and never think about it again.

But she would think about it again, she knew. Every moment of every day until she read it. Her inner struggle and hesitation slid straight through determination and directly into resignation. She didn't dare show any emotion in front of Tahain, but she knew the Captain could read everything she was feeling, so that she didn't actually have to show it. Someone else was getting it.

With T'Pren's resignation came an emotional calm that was neither pleasant nor particularly placid...but it was, momentarily, quiet. Silently, keeping eye contact with Rai, she reached out for the PADD.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:26 pm

Hesitantly, he held it out for her.
"I'll leave you to go over it. But, if you want to talk about it, you know where to find me," he said.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:31 pm

T'Pren's hand closed over the edge of the offered PADD and began to tremble almost imperceptibly. Her whole body did. She didn't dare glance at the Cardassians and her expression barely shifted, but she was suddenly deeply vulnerable, though she managed to avoid fragility. "Please don't go," she whispered. And because she knew she wouldn't be able to maintain neutrality while reading, she slipped out of the room, fully intending to dive in the second she was out of sight from the prisoners.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:34 pm

"I won't, if you don't want me to," he said. He felt so many things speeding through her, her doubt, her fear, her panic.
"I'm here."
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:41 pm

Just those two simple words, "I'm here," did miraculous things for T'Pren's turbulent emotions. She was still trembling, still vulnerable, but she was a little more capable, a little more ready. In the security office, with the brig no longer an issue, the young lieutenant, skin very, very pale, sat down against a wall and forced herself to begin to read.

Almost as if on its own, one hand reached for Rai.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Mon May 26, 2014 11:50 pm

Very quickly, he joined her at her side.
"I'm still here," he said, and clasped her tiny hand in his.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Tue May 27, 2014 12:35 am

The hand Rai held squeezed his tightly, using their contact and his presence as an anchor against the flood of blocked out memories that came bubbling sickly to the surface of her mind like an overflowing sewer. Large parts of T'Pren's teenage years were still blank, to be either coaxed out through more thorough therapy later or because she simply hadn't been conscious for chunks of time.

She wasn't thinking about the Captain as she read and remembered, so unfortunately he was probably receiving plenty of it himself: weeks of solitary confinement, needles the size of her forearm going into her spine or her skull or her stomach, long hours strapped to cold exam tables staring up at blinding white lights, numbed but still conscious while gloved hands groped around her insides. Hyposprays. Skin grafts. Swabs. Intrusive surgeries and exams and chemical injections that left her bedridden or vomiting or telepathically blind. And through it all, little T'Pren Inabnet being so, so sweet and cooperative. Trying desperately to do as she's told, to stay on good terms with her captors, coaching the other children to do the same after a rebellious older boy was made an example of. A pon farr -- her first -- with a young Vulcan man who was also being held, her love for him and his for her and their brief moment alone together because it was the only way the Cardassians could keep their investments alive. His breaking out, coming to her and asking her to escape with him. Her terror and refusal. His public execution when his attempt failed. T'Pren's reward -- a Cardassian festival dessert -- for turning him down. A Cardassian scientist showing up after days without food or water or even guards to lead an escape.

Tears slipped down T'Pren's cheeks in mourning for the young girl she was and the trauma she didn't remember suffering. But in the end, as she set the PADD down on her lap and leaned her head back against the wall to close her eyes, the half-Vulcan was strangely relieved.

"So," she whispered, exhausted but with grim humor, "I may one day be responsible for the end of all hominid life in the galaxy. I should put that on my resume."
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Tue May 27, 2014 1:23 am

Rai laughed ruefully.
"There are no words that would be right for this situation. There are no trite platitudes. I can only say how grateful I am that you survived. Everything else, we'll deal with as we come to it," he said, again choking down a lump in his throat. Perhaps it was the exhaustion, but he found himself holding back tears.
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Tue May 27, 2014 1:27 am

T'Pren dried her own tears on her outside shoulder, pushing her cheek against her dress uniform and then dropping her head back again to land with a little thunk sound against the wall. This time, though, her eyes were open and staring up wearily at the ceiling. Her fingers intertwined with Rai's and this time when she squeezed, it was for him and not for her.

"I didn't mean to flood you like that," she murmured apologetically, finally turning her head a little to make sure he was okay. "I imagine that was the last thing you needed."
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PostSubject: Re: Attaining a confession   Tue May 27, 2014 1:49 am

After a moment's hesitation, she wondered, "How much did you get?"
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