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Fear Is All I Hold

Posted on 05 Feb 2019 @ 5:37am by Lieutenant Gabriel Walker
Edited on on 10 Feb 2019 @ 10:25pm

Mission: Prologue
Location: Transport Ship "Kyger Rose"
Timeline: -5 to report

“Is this seat taken?”

“No,” Gabe said, not looking up from his PaDD.  He’d already noticed the woman as she entered the compartment and dismissed her as having bearing no interest.  If anything, her question was untimely as it happened simultaneously as the arrival of a message. He didn’t want to open the message yet, not until he had time to look at the packet and verify it wasn’t a video message.  He didn’t want to take the chance the message could be overheard by others.

The woman who asked about the chair sat down, setting something aside a cup of coffee with too much cream.  “I’m Anna,” she said.

Gabe looked at the PaDD then opened the message.  It was short and simple but gave him all the information he needed.  “Have we previously met?” he asked, glancing around the compartment before settling on the dark haired woman across from him.  “Because I don’t remember you.”

“No,” Anna said, smiling as she pushed a lock of hair behind her ear.  “We haven’t met yet.  But, I’ve been working up the nerve to come talk to you.”

“Why?” Gabe asked, straightening the PaDD on the table in front of him, making sure the corners of the device lined up with the edge of the circular table, leaving only a slim arch visible below the PaDD.

“I think you’re interesting,”she said, wrapping both hands around her mug and leaning forward.

“In what way?” Gabe asked.

“I thought, since we’re about done on this trip that I might lose my chance to introduce myself,” she continued, apparently choosing to ignore his question.  “Maybe even hope to get coffee once we arrive at the station.”

Gabe glanced pointedly at the dark liquid in her cup.  She looked down and smiled again.  “Yes, well, more coffee, I guess.  I’m going there for a few weeks, I’m a exobotanist and I have a chance to research a type of orchid found on Babylon.  You traveling for pleasure or business?”

Gabe stared at the woman, her form of babbling irritating and, honestly, it was taking time away from the book he was reading.  “No,” he said, picking up the PaDD.  Taking a look beyond her at a point halfway across the compartment.  Then, with a flick of the thumb, he brought went back to the page he was reading when he was inconveniently interrupted.  

“So,” she said, the word drawn out to twice it’s length.  “Do you want to get coffee on the station?”

“I don’t drink coffee,” Gabe answered.  He looked out the porthole again.  The ship seemed to be slowing.  If that was the case it would soon drop out of warp and head to the station at impulse.  As a private, commercial transport, it’s warp field was limited to a much further distance than a starship.  As a Starfleet officer, Walker could have travelled on any one of the starships coming to DS13 but, choosing to travel commercial.  The cost was much more, but it also got him to the station a full three and a half days prior to the arrival of his assigned ship.  His orders gave him several days lead before he had to report to the ship and duty.  The extra three days allowed him a chance to explore the planet.  Just him, a pack and four days lost in the planet’s wilderness. 

He thought it would be a nice break before going back to work.

Except, going commercial left him open to the social onslaught of other passengers.  Like the one at the table with him.

“It’s not really about getting coffee,” Anna said.  “I’m asking-“

“I know what you’re asking,” Gabe said.  “I was merely trying to be nice and not directly tell you that I find you boring and uninteresting.  The idea of spending any time with you would be less preferable to attending a Klingon Opera performed by amateur Cardassians.”

“What?” Anna said, her smile gone.  It seemed she was about to say more, but Gabe suddenly stood and left her at the table.  He left his PaDD as well.  

The trip across the compartment was short and he glanced out the porthole again.  Inertial dampeners were working just fine on this ship, they’d transitioned from warp to impulse drives without even a hint of a jolt.  Which meant they were less than half an hour from docking with the station.  

“Hello,” he said, crouching down so that he was closer on the level of the blonde girl.  She was ten, with hazel eyes that looked out at a world that was full of terror for her.  She hunched in on herself and looked ahead, at the front of the compartment and the head there.  “No, it’s okay.  You’re safe now, he won’t be able to hurt you anymore.”

“Daddy?” she asked.  Gabe blinked.

“Yes, your Daddy.  Your mother is really worried about you and she’s waiting for you to be found.”

“Mommy?’ she said, her voice cracking and a tear welling in one eye. Gabe inched just a little closer, still squatting in front of her, his back to where the man accompanying her disappeared.  “Daddy said Mommy was dead!” She kept her voice down, out of fear.  She looked toward the head again then back to the strange man by her.  “He said she died and I had to go live with him!”

“Your mother is very much alive,” Gabe said, shifting again.  “And she’s going to be very happy to know that you’re safe.”

“I’m not,” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper.  “Daddy is mean.”

“I know,” Gabe said.  “But he won’t be mean to you anymore.  I’ll make sure of that, okay?  I just want you to sit here, quietly for a few more minutes.  Can you do that?”

Before she can answer her eyes went wide as she looked past Gabe.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a gruff voice said from behind him. It had the rasp of someone who enjoyed his drink a little too much.  Someone who let his drinking get the better of his temper.

“Retrieving a child unlawfully taken from her custodial parent,” Gabe said as he slowly stood, turning to face the man in front of him.  He cocked his head, narrowing his eyes as he regarded the child’s father, wondering just how much control the alcohol he’d consumed would have over his ability to make wise choices.  “The judge at Starbase 51 just signed the warrant, authorizing the arrest.”

“By you?” the man said, a half smile on his face.  Gabe knew there was a reason he detested intoxicants.  The delusion intoxicants instilled in imbibers was one of the most irrational things he’d had to put up with. 

“Yes, I’m Lieutenant Walker, Starfleet security and you, Lieutenant Tomarov, are under arrest.”

“I don’t think so,” the man identified as Tomarov said.  “No one is taking my daughter from me again.  She’s mine!”  Gabe saw the girl flinch, used already to the man’s temper.  

“According to the Court, custody was awarded to her mother.  As a Starfleet officer you are bound-“

He never got the chance to finish as Lieutenant Tovarov swung on him.  It was wild and desperate and fueled as much by alcohol as everything else about the operations officer.  Gabe was expecting something like this, however, after reading the man’s personnel file when the girls fright and terror first flashed into his thoughts.  At first the intrusion angered him. He wasn’t officially on leave, but it was close to it and here he was, being drawn to emotions so strong they tore through his self-imposed psi blocks.  But, as he realized the reason for the fear, Gabe’s anger settled on it’s true source – Lieutenant Richard Tovarov.  He obtained a secured commline back to his former chief and the rest fell into place.  Once he was able to verify Tovarov’s identity, Powell was able to get a judge to issue the warrant, allowing him to be taken into custody.  

Gabe waited only until they were about to come into port. He couldn’t risk waiting until they docked, Tovarov could get him and the girl onto the station and slip past them as others were crowding their way off the transport.  By the time they docked, he’d have the man in custody and the girl could be turned over to social services to wait the arrival of her mother – who, Gabe understood, was already on a transport heading this way.  It felt good that Powell not only put him up for this promotion but had that much faith in his ability that he told the mother she would be able to retrieve her child and put her on a transport only a day and a half behind.

Tovarov shifted and settled into a stance.  As a cadet and into the beginning of his Starfleet career he participated in Fleet athletic programs, starting with boxing and then moving to mixed martial arts.  He was a much better boxer than fighter, but that wouldn’t matter.  Despite his alcoholism, he maintained a boxer’s physique and knowledge.  If he weren’t besotted, Gabe might be more worried.

He might have taken the time to enjoy this, but the confrontation was distressing other passengers.  Worse, it was scaring the girl.  When Tovarov swung at him again he went low, came up under the punch and delivered a strike to Tovarov’s solar plexus, accomplishing the dual task of knocking the ban backward and knocking the breath out of him.  Tovarov stumbled backward until he tripped and went down.  Gabe knocked him down again as he tried to scramble to his feet.  “Call ahead to the station,” he said as he grabbed Tovarov and flipped him over.  He slipped a pair of flexirestraints out of his back pocket and secured Tovarov with them.  “Have security meet us at the docking ring and...”  Gabe took a deep breath as he turned to face the compartment.  “Your departure will be delayed until security takes custody of this man.”  He frowned for a moment. “I’m sorry about that.”

He turned back to the girl, but keeping  aware of Tovarov.  “You’re safe now,” Gabe said to the girl, upset at how she continued to flinch but he reminded himself that displays of adult male violence would haunt her for several years without proper therapy.  He saw another member of the flight crew, a short, older lady.  Gabe watched her throughout the flight, admiring how easily she seemed to mother others.  Well, he judged her motherly to him.  To the girl, however, she would be more grandmotherly.  Gabe hoped so, at least.  He didn’t fully understand what “mother” and “grandmother” meant.

“Would you look after the girl until we arrive?” Gabe asked the woman.  He was rewarded with a bright smile that light the woman’s entire being.

“Of course,” she said, turning to the girl.  “You want to come with me, we have ice cream and warm cookies.”

The girl looked to her father, lying, sputtering invectives and curses.  It was an automatic reaction.  Gabe felt she was about to ask for permission.  The attendant must have thought the same thing.  “C’mon, honey, you don’t need to put up with none of that nonsense at all.”  She took hold of the girl’s hand and led her away from this compartment.  Gabe wasn’t sure where they’d end up, but wherever it was, he’d be much better than here.  He went back to his table and retrieved the PaDD he left there.

“I still don’t like coffee,” he said to a wide eyed Anna as he walked away, headed to take Tovarov to a secure, quiet place until he could turn him over to base security along with the warrant.  He felt Tovarov, and him, disturbed the passengers enough and should let them have the last few minutes before they docked to try to find their peace again.

Lieutenant Gabriel Walker

Starfleet Security (pending assignment USS Mark Miller)

On Leave


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