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The Nanjing--The Next Step

Posted on Sun Dec 6, 2020 @ 8:17am by Lieutenant Commander Kelani Tetanal & Lieutenant Zekori Dosan

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: The Black Hole, Triumphant

Kelani sat at a secluded table in The Black Hole, lost in thought. With reassignment pending, she felt strangely adrift--missing her "family" on Triumphnt already.

Thoughts of family turned to her Imzadi, who had been abruptly reassigned and whose ship had disappeared. Try as she might, Kelani could not sense him anywhere--it was as if he had never existed...

She sighed staring sightlessly into her cup of tea...

Lieutenant Zekori Dosan walked into The Black Hole. He was only onboard the Triumphant for a short time, in that time he was a part of the Nanjing that brutalized and brought the sense of terror into his crewmates. He hadn't put in a transfer request as he was more leaning towards the line towards tendering his resignation from Starfleet and return to Bajor as a civilian. He looked through the crowd to see if he saw any familiar faces that he could come to for consul.

The Bajoran Chief Operations Officer frowned struggling to find at least a member of the senior staff until he spotted Lieutenant Commander Kelani Tetanal. The woman who introduced him to fencing, he was looking forward to being her regular sprawling partner but that won't be the case. She was the closest he had to a friend onboard the entire ship.

He approached her, "Lieutenant Commander, may I join you?"

Kelani was pulled out of her dejected musings by a voice asking to join her. She looked up to Zekori, whom she remembered from their fencing before the nightmare that had been the Nanjing. She smiled and said, “Of course, Chief—I would welcome the company.”

As Zekori settled into a seat, she continued slowly, ”I may not be very good company at the moment—I feel somewhat—adrift...”

The Bajoran nodded his head as he sat down across from her, "I feel that is the case with most shipmates that are being split from each other to new postings."

“An excellent point,” Kelani replied. “But the people aboard Triumphant have become more than just shipmates to me—they have become my family...now that we are to be separated, it feels—surreal.”

She looked at him and smiled faintly, “How are you coping with all of this? Have you been given a new posting?”

"I haven't received a new posting as of yet," Zekori replied. "I'm not sure if I want to keep my commiss.." He trailed off mid-sentence.

Kelani leaned forward, alarmed, "Chief, are you all right?" She asked urgently, even as she reached out telepathically, trying to determine what caused him to stop speaking as he had....

Zekori spoke straight to the point, "I am seriously contemplating resigning from Starfleet and returning to Bajor."

Kelani’s eyebrows shot up. After a moment she asked gently, “Because of what happened during the last mission?” She sighed and continued, "I confess that I have considered the same thing—no matter where else I might be posted, it would never be the same as being aboard the Triumphant—and there would never be the same sense of belonging as I felt there. I am unsure if I could be content under the command of anyone but the Commodore...”

The haunted Bajoran nodded his head to her comment, "I became something I swore I'd never become. I swore never to become an oppressor like the Cardassians stripped my people of their identities in which I became as a part of the Nanjing."

"I get that, the Triumphant felt more like home than my first few postings in Starfleet. I felt a sense of belonging, a part of the crew just like when I felt when I was a part of the Higa Metar. A community, a family."

"But the Nanjing gave you no choice," Kelani told him, "At least with the Cardassians you could choose to resist. With the Nanjing, your will was totally stripped from you--I could sense that much....the Nanjing blocked most of my abilities, but I could sense you trapped and trying to find a way out...." she leaned across the table and covered his hand with hers. "Chief, you were a victim in all of this! Please don't assume a guilt that does not exist--you did not break your vow. Your body was invaded and your will stripped from you." She paused for a moment, then continued, "I will tell you this much--I don't know if it will help or not, but it is true." She took a deep breath and continued, "Even when you were dominated by the Nanjing, your mind was the one I could sense the easiest. Apparently you were fighting their control the entire time."

She smiled at him as he spoke of his feelings about serving on Triumphant. They were so much like her own....

"I agree, Chief," she told him. "If we both decide to remain in Starfleet, I hope that we are posted to the same ship....then maybe the family feeling will continue in a small way."

The Chief smiled at her words of relief. She was the closest person on the Triumphant that he would consider a friend in his short time aboard the ship, "Indeed, I appreciate your words, Kelani."

"However, Bajor is calling for farmers with my work in the soil reclamation project before I sought a commission in Starfleet I realize its the Prophet's calling for me to return to Bajor. With your background in the sciences, I wouldn't say no to your assistance if you are interested into getting into agriculture."

Kelani's brows lifted in surprise, both at Zekori's use of her first name for the first time since they'd met and the offer--a completely different sort of challenge....

After a moment she smiled at him, saying, "I think I would like that, if you could find time to fence with me, Zekori."

Her hand still covered his--she squeezed it gently....

Her touch was comforting and smiled, "Of course I'll always find time to fence with you."

He placed his free hand on top of hers.

Kelani smiled at Zekori, saying, “I believe we are about to begin an adventure of a totally different sort, are we not? It will be very different from Starfleet, but in many ways just as challenging...”

"Farming will definitely be very different from Starfleet but it will definitely have it challenges as we navigate ourselves through it all," Zekori replied.

“That it will, Zekori,” Kelani replied with a smile, placing her free hand on top of his. “That it will...”

 

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