SIM:Nearian Ben'thal - Spores of Love

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((Colony 2642))

Replacing the isotope in the grid literally took ten seconds to implement. Soon his PADD was showing a solid green connection to the Constitution and the repulser field was intact. But what came next was a complete shock.

Gorlan: =/\= Ryan to Ben'Berellian Monkey'thal. Come in. Your mother sounds like a quacking duck, and your father smells. You should go home and wash him. =/\=

Ben'thal: =/\= Mister Gorlan please clock out until further notice.=/\= =/\= Ben'thal to Ensign Nori please relieve Chief Gorlan and take command of engineering until my return.=/\=

Gorlan: =/\= Sorry :: Sarcasm.:: Sir. I Quit, and I fired all the other engineers so we are going to use main engineering for a keg party.=/\=

Nori: =/\= I am off Sir, and I will not stop my mud bath for you. Nori ::Decicively.:: Out.=/\=

Nearian was shocked, had his staff gone mad? A keg party near the core, and refusing to take orders? Parts of the colony were disappearing around him, staff and crew were franticly packing the last of the research and samples, he needed to get on board and make sure the core was stable and the transporters were not over used.

Ben'thal: =/\=Ben'thal to Transporter Chief. One to beam up directly to the main engineering office.=/\=

Tansporter Chief: =/\= Gotcha Bucko, one coming up.=/\=

After the way the transporter chief was talking Nearian was surprised and relieved to find himself in the doorway to the main engineering office.

Walking over to the window he was dismayed by the sight. Gorlan was in a ring of yellow shirts playing poker and drinking out of red plastic cups.

Ben'thal: oO How did they manage to get beer... Oo

Then he saw a crewman roll another keg over from the big engineering replicators.

Ben'thal: Computer scan main engineering for toxin. Common name. Alcohol.

Computer: Multiple traces found.

Ben'thal: Ban toxin from replicators ship wide.

Computer: Acknowledged.

Nearian had the sudden urge to run to the holo-deck and dance in a field of lilacs. Shaking the image off he returned to his job.

Ben'thal: Computer instate transporter control program Ben'thal zulu two and core shield program Gorlan theta delta three.

The computer beeped in response and Nearian could see the power meters change position. He got another unusable urge to shave the hair off of his head, shaking it off he knew he was losing it to.

Ben'thal: Computer lock down all engineering consoles and functions code. one. two. three. alpha. beta. gamma.

Computer: Confirm.

Ben'thal: Ben'thal Gamma Orion Zulu Four.

Computer: Acknowledged.

Noting the code on his PADD and dropping it in the desk drawer he stood up and looked out the window.

Ben'thal: Let them have some fun, I'll throw them in the brig tomorrow... or the day after.

Rather suddenly his uniform felt to tight, of course it always had been, but normally he didn't notice anymore. Turning he left to change clothes, into a more comfortable Berellian robe.

(( Ben'thal's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | USS Constitution - B ))

Nearian had gone through his wardrobe... three times, and he had finally settled on a dark blue robe with silver star bursts. It had a clasp made of platinum, shaped like a eight pointed star, and set with a blue diamond.

Changing the lighting of his room from a dim blue to a mellow red, he set the table with red silks and golden dinner wear. The dim white lights shining on the art thought the room were set to a flicker pattern so they appeared like candles. A look which would be matched by the honey and lilac scented candles on the table.

Looking at the setup he was sure that it was almost complete, but there was a key component missing. Food.

After double checking his mental list of replicator recipes, he knew he did not want any of that junk of this dinner. Naturally the only remaining option was to make something.

((Fast Forward | Ten Forward))

After his interesting turbo lift ride that included much proverb swapping with a Shakespearian security guard, and the hall filled with robotic survey bots that had been reprogrammed to do battle in a most interesting way, Nearian had arrived at his destination, only to find a gaggle of crewmen whining about hunger. He quickly extended the range of the bars replicator to make food for anyone who sat down and clean it up when they got up.

Fehn: But I want soup?

Ben'thal: It is random stand up and sit down until you find something you like.

Immediately a few stood up and sat down changing their plates. Nearian was happy with his work and turned back to his original intent. To cook.

Entering the galley he was greeted by a rather consternated looking Spots.

Not looking up, she paused only long enough to point at the door with her knife before returning to what she was doing.

Vetri: Out. Busy. Will be serving when I'm done ::looking up at last:: *if* you don't annoy me enough to mix bleach in with it all.

Ben'thal: But I need to make dinner, I must hurry time is of great importance.

With a growl of frustration, Della started chopping again, only this time she managed to neatly slice open her own hand, not the carrot she was aiming for. Instantly, her whole demeanor changed from aggressively masculine to something a lot more delicate, almost fragile, as she looked down at her hand and the blood dripping onto the work-top.

Vetri: ::faintly:: Ow...

Nearian had seen his fair share of kitchen cuts in culinary school. So he sprung into action knowing just what to do. Grabbing a towel he pressed it around her hand using a delicate pressure.

Ben'thal: Look at me, not the cut. I don't want you to go into shock.

Adding his warm smile and a tender look he caught her in his eyes.

Vetri: Thanks... I... Don't know what I was doing here. ::managing a smile:: I can't cook for dren...

Nearian could feel the rag dampen with blood, but soon it started to clot. Keeping his hand pressed around hers something just blurted out.

Ben'thal: Your rather cute Della.

Whatever she was going to say was cut off by a rather loud T'Lea on the ship-wide horn.

T'Lea: =/\= This is T'Lea to all males of mature age, I am in need of a bond mate, if you are man of high intelligence, high endurance, *great* in the sack… highly attractive and well built, report to cargo bay three at once for examination.=/\=

Considering himself Nearian did not think he meet the specifications so he shrugged off the message. Until he saw the pain in Della's eyes. Then he remembered the PADD in his room with the measurement T'Lea had given him. Della's size was on that list, not something a simple friend would give.

Ben'thal: Looks like your stallion escaped the pin. Better go grab a carrot and bring her home.

Vetri: Carrot? I'm thinking more along the lines of a bat. With rusty nails in it.

Ben'thal: Keep pressure on this.

Taking her uninjured hand and pressing it to the rag as he moved his away.

Ben'thal: Bring her to dinner, my place two hours. I will take care of the food.

Vetri: You really think I'm going to leave her in a conscious enough state to enjoy fine dining?

Ben'thal: Go on before I decide that you single is a better option.

Vetri: ::muttering:: Don't think I might not agree with you...

After the distraction had left the room his mind returned to the dinner preparations. Slicing, baking, and cooking commenced in a concert of sizzles and clanks, he danced around the kitchen making a meal to remember. Looking at the finished dishes, he was glad the he had remembered Miss T'Lea was a vegetarian.

Making a check list as he transported the good to his room using the ships transporters, he mumbled it aloud.

Ben'thal: Autumn salad with a selection of spiced dressing, fried rice with assorted veggies, two crafts of warm sweet fruit cider, one craft chilled sweetened lemonade, exotic fruit skewers form three planets, dried fruits and nuts mix for the appetizer, and a chilled fruit parfait cups for dessert. Oh, and a pot with oodles of noodles.

Watching the last of the platters whisked away in a blue glow, he hurried back to his quarters.

(( Ben'thal's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | USS Constitution - B ))

After setting up the table properly he looked at the time, ten minutes until he had told Della dinner would be on. tapping the wall unit Nearian called out to his honored guest.

Ben'thal: =/\= Ben'thal to Miss Plaka Soo, I would be honored if you would join me for dinner in my room, it is on deck 13.=/\=

All the invitations were out, now he only had to wait and see who showed up.

After sending the call, Nearian took a moment to recheck the table and make sure everything was just right. Then he toyed with the pottery and sculptures in the room tweaking their angles to show case the best side of each. As he realized his nervous habits were coming out so he headed for the front room to sit. He was not going to be found tinkering with some gadget tonight.

Nearian's chime rang and he got up for the couch to answer it in person. As the doors slid open he was pleased to see Miss Soo, but she was rather upset looking.

Soo: ::Falling into his arms, crying:: I was so scared. I couldn't find you.

Ben'thal: Oh dear, I am so sorry.

Using an arm to guide her in the door closed behind them. Heading for the couch he held her as close as he could to protect her.

Ben'thal: I forgot you might not have access to the personnel locator. I am so used to the crew being able to ask the computer for directions.

Soo: ::sniffing back tears,feeling protected.:: Well, I'm with you now, and that's all that matters.

After a rather organized collapse onto the couch Nearian just held her for a moment and letting the tears dry, as he smiled at her to offer his reassurance everything was ok. Wiping the last of the tears away with his long sleeve he was sure she looked happier now.

Distracting himself he made a sweeping gesture with his arm as he scanned the room.

Ben'thal: So what do you think of my humble abode?

Soo: ::smiling, thinking of how handsome he look in the blue robe.: It's definitely you... Tasteful and organized.

Ben'thal: Perhaps I can give you the grand tour later.

Soo: I can't think of anything I'd rather do.

Nearian was nervous, He had not felt this way about a female for a long time. Not since before the academy, and even his adult years. In a moment of clarity he thought he might be going insane. But as it passed he found the sudden urge to go on.

Ben'thal: Miss Soo I must admit something to you.

He turned his head back to her looking deep into her eyes.

Soo: Admit?

Ben'thal: Well even though we has only known each other a short time, ::Beat.:: I feel rather strongly about you.

Soo: ::hugging him:: I feel the same way, Ben. It's crazy, but it's like I've been waiting all my life to meet you.

Ben'thal: I am glad you feel the same way.

Nearian was about to go into a heartfelt speech when the door chimed. Heading to the door he opened it to reveal a pair of commanders he almost forgotten about.

Ben'thal: Miss Vetri, I glad you could make it.

Vetri: Of course. It would have been rude to not turn up. Now, I need a couch to dump this ::nodding toward T'Lea:: and a selection of the finest alcoholic beverages known to sentient life. I have thinking to do.

Ben'thal: I don't have any wine but I do have some nice juices

Heading to the table he began to pore her a cup of lemonade. Handing her the cup he commented on T'Lea's state.

Ben'thal: Not the kind of carrot I was expecting, but effective I see.

Vetri: After shoving my daughter in a closet to keep her out of the way, an inappropriately applied carrot is the least of her worries. Still, I've a feeling Gina'll handle that part of things herself.

Nearian noticed T'Lea and Soo having a side conversation. He was glad that she was mingling with the others.

Ben'thal: What is the problem, I mean besides locking the child in a closet. I have only been here a short time and I know that Miss T'Lea has large overstuffed baggage.

Vetri: ::suspiciously:: Why do you sound like you know how ridiculously huge an understatement that was?

Ben'thal: I know because the ship has a healthy grapevine, and all comm traffic is filtered through the engineering mainframe.

Vetri: Humph...

Ben'thal: Besides, you care enough about her to half-way sedate her and drag her to dinner.

Soo: ::interrupting to get them back on track:: Ben, the food looks absolutely delicious. Shouldn't we eat it before it gets cold?

T'Lea: Cold. ::chuckling:: You've not tasted cold until you've met my mother. The's'at katra k'tei i'k'therie - In' k'tmneri a'nailara laikani'he. The's'at katra - a'ri'nailara.

Ben'thal: Miss Vetri if you would help me I think we should move miss T'Lea to the table now she has started speaking in tongues.

Vetri: ::hauling T'Lea upright:: Nah, that's just the kind of thing she starts spouting when she's trying to decide whether to kill people.

Laid out on the couch like a very unhappy wet blanket, T'Lea's eyes gravitated toward Della as the woman returned to her side. Optimistic that Della was coming to her because she wanted to be with her, the poor little Romu-vulc attempted to reach for the Trill's face but failed a third time to make the meld.

Vetri: What? Why are you looking at me like that - it's true.

Soo: ::eying T'Lea:: I would have never believe she would actually kill someone.

Ben'thal: I have heard she was not always this nice, but she must be a better person.

As they settled in around the lovely dinner and began to help themselves to the wonderful food, T'Lea hunched forward, in a very un-Vulcan-like posture, panting over her plate. After a few seconds of that, she groaned as if she were about to puke on the Ben'thal's meal.

T'Lea: It comes quickly for me… ::balling her hand in a weak fist and giving a wimpy pound on the table.:: … something is wrong. Della, you must. You must accept or refuse me. Do it now!

Vetri: Oh, be quiet. I'll give you an answer when I feel like it.

Struggling to rise from her seat, T'Lea almost made it, and then collapsed on the floor under the table. Oddly nobody moved to help her, nobody even seemed to care that she was down there, and they continued on with their meal above at a leisurely pace.

Ben'thal: So how is the meal?

Soo: ::taking a bite of one of the vegetable dishes:: This is really good, Ben. Reminds me of the food from the colony.... ::turning to Vetri:: Do you think we will ever get to go back down to the planet?

Vetri: ::mouth full:: This is really good stuff.

Listening to the voices overhead, T'Lea reached for Della's leg, touching her briefly only to be kicked away like a dog begging for scraps. Managing to somewhat coordinate her muscles, T'Lea clawed at her empty seat and started to reappear in a way that purposely tipped the entire table over. Food, drinks, silverware, everything hit the floor, along with T'Lea.

Vetri: Graceful.

Ben'thal: Miss T'Lea are you ok?

Soo: ::trying to catch her plate before it smashed into Vetri's lap.:: Oh no!

T'Lea: No one is permitted to eat until I have taken my bond-mate.

With that she limply dropped the back of her head into a soft pillow of noodles. Feeling around she pulled one from her hair and whipped it at Ben'thal.

T'Lea: Do you challenge me in a kalifee for my Spots? Noodle-to-noodle. I will draw your blood and win!

Ben'thal: No she is all yours Miss T'Lea

Whipping the noodle at the other Trill in the room

T'Lea: Do *you* challenge me?

Soo: ::shocked:: Um, no Ma'am.

T'Lea: Then bring me someone that will fight! ::sitting up, to Vetri, snarling at the woman:: Or I will choose a different bond-mate.

Vetri: If that's what you want to do, I'm not stopping you.

After glancing around she returned to Nearian.

T'Lea: I will bond with Ben!

Ben'thal: I am sorry Miss T'Lea I bow out in honor of Miss Vetri's love.

T'Lea: ::defeated:: Frak.

To show her anger she gripped at the pile of noodles and threw it, but without enough strength to back it up, the edibles flew about a six inches and landed just barely touching the edge of somebody's shoe.

Soo: ::glancing at Ben:: Frak? What means this?

Turner: =/\= Bridge to all crew members... please escort a civilian female Trill named Plaka Soo to the Bridge immediately. =/\=

Ben'thal : Well by the arts, maybe this was a mistake.

Soo: ::sadly:: I guess this means dinner is over, Ben.

Ben'thal: I assume so.

Vetri: ::tiredly:: I'll take her.

T'Lea: ::to Vetri:: No! No! I will not let you leave without an answer!

Clawing her way across the carpet and food remains, T'Lea grabbed onto Vetri's leg, weakly trying to stop her from leaving. What she lacked in physical strength her intense emotional strength made up for. Anger, and outrage, coupled with insane passion and a feral heat resonated in the hybrid's voice.

T'Lea: ::blurting out:: I love you, you wretched little Trill! Do you hear me! Our Katra's have touched! Do not ignore my feelings!

In a flash, Della was crouched down next to T'Lea, her voice a sharp hiss in the hybrid's ear.

Vetri: How can I ignore you when I can *feel* what's going through you? I need to *think*, and you're ripping my mind apart just by being here.

Straightening, she pulled her leg free of T'Lea's rather pathetic grip and looked at Soo.

Vetri: Let's go. The faster we find out what they want you up there for, the faster you can get back to whatever you were planning to do with *him*. ::nodding to Nearian::

As they left he turned back to the messes on the floor.

Sobbing. Not just crying. Not just a few tears trickling down her cheeks, but a heavy, heaving, irrational, illogical sob of ugly proportions. The blood fever had reduced her to a pitiful emotional train-wreck.

Ben'thal: Miss T'Lea, let me help you up.

Moving in Nearian latched his hands around her and lifted her from his floor.

Large hands catching her body and hauling her up, T'Lea was placed back on the couch whether she liked it, or not. Sat there in a state of what could best be described as a blithering idiot, she cried and cried and then pitched over, due to lack of strength, into Ben's lap and cried some more.

T'Lea: Ben… it hurts. ::groaning:: Something is wrong with my pon farr.  ::moaning:: She left me. It shouldn't be this way. ::panting:: Happening too fast. Why? ::growling:: Why would she leave me if she feels what I feel!

Not having the mental capacity to keep focus on one thought, dueling thoughts now driveled out of her mouth.

Ben'thal: I see very little reason why she would reject you. Your effort is admirable.

In a magnificent shift of emotion, tears vanished and she grabbed Ben by his collar, two weak fists barely holding on, she strained her Vulcan brain into order.

T'Lea: Perhaps I repulse her. ::wincing:: I. Am. Repulsive. Emotionally. Unstable. ::groaning:: Frakked-up. Mess. Inside. I will die without her.

Nearian reached out and began to rearrange her hair. Which he noted was considerably longer than it had been in the morning.

Ben'thal: Now now Miss T'Lea, I certainly don't feel that way about you, and I doubt Miss Vetri feels that way either. You must understand for most other species such a bond takes a long time to think over.

Was he seriously playing with her hair while she was dying on his couch? This should have struck her as odd, but then everything going on in the past little while was like some weird over-exaggerated Terran cartoon. Nothing was normal, not even her brain.

T'Lea: Wretched Trill. She mocks me.

Ben'thal: I am sure she is taking your fuh bar... erh pom free... eh...

T'Lea: Pon. Farr.

Ben'thal: Ah yes pon farr into account, but she also has to think about Gina and her wellbeing. A life bond with you could mean more then you are thinking about at the moment.

Beads of sweat stinging her eyes, she turned to him and narrowed her gaze quite sharply.

T'Lea: Was that a challenge?

Nearian noticed his last words had an undesirable impact so he tried to change the subject.

Ben'thal: I see your sporting a new look, the hair and tattoo are definitely, ::Beat.:: different.

Distracted by his fingers sliding through her hair, she blinked and rocked back and forth a little to stay an impulse to do something very bad to Ben.

T'Lea: Too hot in here. Going home...

Trembling muscles guiding her, she managed to transfer from the couch to the coffee table a few feet away, where she parked her weak little carcass to recuperate from the strenuous move.

Ben'thal: You seem to be of a sub-par condition for forward gravitation, and a ambled pace from here to the nearest turbo-lift door might be a trek with undesirable consequences. But I could assist you in the locating of the proper pampering of your body to attract a certain Trill who I think you may have some strong, if not lethal feelings about. ::Beat.:: Like your hair does she like it so long?

Barely understanding the conversation, and still dazzlingly weak from the sedative, she wagged her head no in an aggravated response to whatever he was talking about.

Ben'thal: Well then we have but one choice to cut it down to size in an adorable fashion.

Nearian had neglected his hair stylist training for some time, but he felt this might be a good chance to practice.

For some reason the idea of cutting sheers brightened her day. Something sharp, pointy and deadly sounded inviting.

T'Lea: Do it quickly. Painlessly. I beg you, hurry.

Ben'thal: Very well let me get some of my Berellian long handled scissors. Can you make it to that chair?

On his way back he saw Miss T'Lea stumble over to the chair, like a good customer.

As he went to collect the weapon of choice, scissors, T'Lea staggered over to a chair trying to make her way to the door, but failing again to leave. A lean to one side was corrected and soon a smock was draped around her shoulders.

T'Lea: If strangulation, you must pull harder.

Ben'thal: Oh is it to tight... well I would loosen it but the hair shavings would be torture. Try not to move.

The sound of razor sharp metal snipping away filled her pointy little ears, and she couldn't help but wonder why the multiple stabbings didn't hurt.

T'Lea: Did you miss? I cannot feel a thing.

Ben'thal: No it is going well, we'll be done soon. So what do you think of Miss Soo?

She started to slump to one side again only to be corrected.

T'Lea: Soo? Those spots do not interest me.

Ben'thal: Well they do interest me a great deal. I think I might sympathize with your feeling for Della.

T'Lea: Then offer her kunat so'lik, and do not delay. ::At first that sounded crazy, then something to consider, then he had the wild urge to just go for it.::

Ben'thal: Your right, I must hurry at once.

Turning she grabbed his hand holding the scissors with a bit more strength surfacing through the sedative.

T'Lea: First, finish what you have started. Quickly, kill me before I die.

The urge passed she calmed down. Looking at her he realized she was right he could not let her fall all over the ship with that hair cut unfinished.

Ben'thal: Your right we are almost done anyway.

Hmm… went her muddled thought. He was not very good at this. A very poor assassin indeed.

T'Lea: I still feel alive. Are you sure you are doing this right?

Ben'thal: So, before I am done what does this tattoo represent?

T'Lea: Many deaths. By my hand.

Ben'thal: Oh.

He had the sudden urge to avenge all the little marks, to slip the long scissor tips into the back of her neck. She was basically asking for it. No begging for it. The hair cut was complete but maybe no one would notice and extra cut.

Removing the cloth and letting the hair fall away he looked her head over as she slumped in the seat.

Ben'thal: :: Behind her.:: Looks like I missed one.

Pulling up some hair he moved his shears into position.

Ben'thal: oO Am I really thinking this? Oo

The doors swished open to reveal a Trill, pulling his fingers together the scissors made a final snip and he put them down.

Ben'thal: Well Miss Vetri what do you think T'Lea asked me to cut her hair for you?

T'Lea: I did what?

Vetri: Nice work.

Ben'thal: Why thank you. Still this is not my first attempt.

Vetri: It shows. Definitely a man of many talents, aren't you?

Ben'thal: Mastering the arts calls for no less. Although Miss T'Lea wants me to take up artistic murder, starting with her.

Vetri: ::snorting a laugh:: If she'd been minded to carry out that little threat, I wouldn't have found you happily cutting her hair. The fact I did is good, 'cause it doesn't mean I have to nail you to the outside of an airlock.

Ben'thal: ::Shuddering.:: Yes. Perhaps I could do your hair next time?

Vetri: ::touching her own hair:: I might just take you up on that. After all, you did nice work on... Where'd she go?

Ben'thal: Out the door, ::Pointing at the open door.:: I think.

Impressed would be one way to describe how Della felt that T'Lea had managed to slip out without either of them noticing. Ticked off was just as good.

Vetri: If you'll excuse me, I have a crazy lady to hunt down.

Ben'thal: Glad to see you again so soon, do visit again.

Nearian moved back after closing the door and looked at his room. The mess was bad, but he had seen worse. Kneeling down he began to clean up the dinner, one noodle and rice grain at a time.

((Fast-Forward | Turbolift))

He had been happily recycling the plates and food into the replicator when the call came for him to go to work. Leaving on what he was wearing he cleaned his hands and headed out.

Watching the doors slide open he was greeted by his dinner guests.

T'Lea: Ben! Just the talented Berellian we were looking for. Where are you headed?

Stepping into the lift he noticed T'Lea's smile. It appeared she was doing better.

Ben'thal: Bridge, I have been called to work.

T'Lea: Bridge it is.

Ben'thal: I see you managed to catch a mate. And by your posture, I would say Miss Vetri got her way.

T'Lea: Indeed, the haircut worked wonders. ::beat:: We wanted to thank you, and return the favor. Have you had any luck with Soo?

Ben'thal: A small bit, but it has been hard between work and other intrusions.

Vetri: That doesn't sound promising...

T'Lea: ::frowning at a thought:: Hmm. perhaps that is why Captain Perkins called her to the bridge, so that he could have her all to himself.

Vetri: ::frowning:: Can't think why.

Ben'thal: Perhaps he sees what I do in her?

Vetri: I don't like her, She's wrong.

T'Lea: I disagree. She's perfect for Big Ben. He likes spots. She *has* spots. She likes tall men. He's got ::eyes moving up:: altitude.

Ben'thal: Why think you Miss T'Lea, ::Pondering on the comment.:: I think.

Vetri: I don't know! I just get the feeling there's something dodgy about her, and it's taken this long for various distractions ::giving T'Lea a gentle poke in the ribs:: to ease up enough for me to really notice.

Nearian let her words sink in, looking over the shorter peoples heads he stared at the wall a moment. She had seemed comfortable enough when they were along. But she had gotten a little jittery when the others came into the room. But so had he, the topic before they had arrived was not one to be comfortably interrupted so easily.

Ben'thal: Perhaps she does not know you well enough, but I will take your consideration into account. Do you really think she has something to hide?

Once again, the lift car halted, and Della nodded toward the opening doors.

Vetri: Why not ask for yourself?

Grabbing Big Ben, T'Lea stood in the lift compartment for a moment and tugged the tall fellow down by his arm to whisper in his ear.

T'Lea: Ben, if you want Soo you're going to have to take her away from that Terran-Sam. In order to do that you need your own ship. If you can force an emergency situation where we have to separate this vessel it would put you on one half and Sam on the other, and I'll make sure Soo goes with you. ::shrugging like it was no big thing she was suggesting for him to do, she let his arm go.:: If you love her, I mean.

Ben'thal: ::Distant.:: I see...

The reference to the captain hit a cord. There was a flash into his past, several in fact. They all had a common theme, Terrans taking what was his. His tools, his PADDs, his credit, his ideas. He felt a threat, a threat to what he thought could be his.

Paranoia set in. He had a new resolve, and a ally. T'Lea owed him, Della owed him. They would help, he needed them to keep Sam away from the stardrive section. His room was in the stardrive near his second home, he would not lose his art to Sam either.

Stepping onto the bridge he noted a warm smile from Soo. Her knight had arrived to take her away to somewhere nice, where they could settle in for research and long sunsets on hilltops. But now she ws under attck from his fellow staff.

T'Lea got a Comm and brushed past him and Vetri on the way into the lift. He felt like he had missed some unsaid words when Vetri's stance changed twice in quick succession.

Perkins: Hey.........

Ben'thal: I am sure there is a better explanation for her actions Mr. Perkins.

Perkins: Pardon?

Soo: ::sadly:: As much as I regret putting them in the ventilation system, I can't remove them alone, I'll need Ben's help.

Ben'thal: ::Taking her hand into his.:: I would be glad to help you, I would be honored to share my knowledge with you in main engineering. I will have to unlock the engineering functions.

Vetri: Wanna hand?

Ben'thal: I am more then capable of keeping an eye on her alone.

Vetri: ::shrugging:: Fair 'nuff.

Perkins: I rather Soo di di did achoooo not leave the bridge......

Nearian could not understand, Vetri was on their side right? Why would she not let he escape with his love. He was alone without the stallion to lead the mare. He needed to move fast, scanning the bridge he noted whatever tools he could use to belittle the short Terran.

Ben'thal: Well, Sammy boy, I can't work on this from here. I locked out all the engineering functions when I got on-board. I can't work on this without Soo, her knowledge of the plant is essential. You can't follow her there because of whatever the poor fools at security have their palms all sweaty for. So your only real option is to let us go in peace, or send a watch dog to sleep next to us, while we go over hundreds of theoretical situations.

Tightening his grip on Soo's hand he moved them to the lift hitting the call button. He was starting to sweat and needed to keep Perkins from seeing it. His act was slipping.

Perkins: Ex........ex....... Zachoo wha wha t was that you sa..... T t mee

Nearian knew somewhere in his mind that this was wrong, that little voice crawling up from the depths on the rational mind. But when he felt the cold in Soo's hand he knew he had to get her away from the female-klepto Terran.

Ben'thal: ::Over his shoulder.:: I can barely understand you Sam, you should get a new allergist, your medication is not working.

((Lift | USS Constitution - B ))

Stepping into the lift with Soo, he hit the doors and stood for a moment. Letting out a long sigh he looked down at her sweet face.

Ben'thal: I know your innocent, I'll protect you.

She smiled, leaning her head against his chest.

Soo: I know you can. You are my hero.

Computer: Unrecognized destination please restate.

Ben'thal: My office.

As the car rocketed into motion he knew his plan was coming into line. Next up plan an emergency.

Soo: It's not going to be easy to remove the plants. They could have spread out from the ventilation system by now.

Ben'thal: Well will have to make sure that all the plants are cleared from the entire ship. It can't be to hard. ::Smiling down at her.:: We will figure something out.

Soo: ::looking deeply into his eyes:: I hope you know that I had no idea all this would happen, and I certainly didn't mean for anyone to get hurt. I only had Alissa's results to go by.

Ben'thal: I know but so far it looks to be ok. I mean the holographic doctor should be able to handle most injuries alone. It will be fine.

Soo: I was thinking about Lt. Commander T'Lea's Pon Farr and Commander Turner. They could get hurt. I really feel bad about what's happening to the rest of your crew too.

Ben'thal: :: Tightening his grip for a moment.::

The Turbolift opened and she followed him into his office

(( Main Engineering Office | Overlooking the Warpcore ))

Soo: What can we do from here?

Ben'thal: Well just about anything, the engineering core has fully control of all major systems during an emergency and this room has priority as the tertiary bridge. But first some privacy. Computer emergency lock down of main engineering office code Ben'thal. Alpha. One.

He paused to inhale, breathing in the spores his urge to be with Soo sent a shiver down his spine. The door was locked to everyone except Perkins and Tash. No need to worry now.

Ben'thal: But work can wait, There is no rush, we were suppose to have some alone time after dinner.

Nearian opened his arms and she melted against his chest. He was happy and content with the world.

Ben'thal: You truly are a wonder to behold.

Soo: Response?

Ben'thal: I feel like I could spend a lifetime with you.

There heads had been slowly drifting closer. He could feel the slight warmth of her face on his. contact was imminent. until...

T'Lea: =/\= T'Lea to Ben'thal. =/\=

Ben'thal: =/\= ::Sighing loudly to show his displeasure.:: Yes? =/\=

T'Lea: =/\= We've got a huge frakkin problem. Sam knows about our plan. He's threatened to suffocate everyone on the bridge if we do not stand down. Try not to let that happen, will you? I'm on my way to kill him right now.=/\=

Ben'thal: =/\= He cannot without the engineering controls and I don't plan to unlock them for anywhere but this room. And you really should stop trying to make death follow you it is unbecoming of a lady. Ben'thal out. =/\=

Ben'thal: Now where were we?

He was stopped by a hand.

Soo: ::holding him at bay:: The plants.. as long as they are on the ship, the whole crew is in danger. They're what's making Commander T'Lea act that way.

Ben'thal: Your right I would be able to work on T'Lea's plan better if the plants were gone. Let's see... :Actually thinking for a moment.:: Can you look up an innate toxin to the plants that won't harm the crew? I will reverse the function of the replication filters in the ventilation. We'll have to seal the arboretum until your team from the planet can clean it out. But it has a false environment that should stunt the growth like on the planet.

Soo: I'll try, but I'll need to tap into a science terminal.

Moving to his desk he looked at the dim controls and the blinking lock symbol.

Ben'thal: Computer divert all bridge functions to my office and unlock engineering functions in the office only. Code Ben'thal. Alpha. Beta. two. three.

Computer: Secondary command authorization?

Thinking for a moment he remembered the security codes T'Lea had given him for her office in archives.

Ben'thal: T'Lea. Gamma. Zeta. Four. Delta.

Computer: Confirmed. Diverting all bridge functions to tertiary bridge. ::Almost in an instant the panels on the wall flipped on and started displaying data from each department.::

Ben'thal: You can use that science station there, your data from the planet should have been uploaded from your core to ours.

Soo: ::moving toward the station:: Perfect. I'll have to hurry to keep up with you.

Ben'thal: I only work so quick so I can spend the rest of my day with you.

Soo: ::Turning momentarily, she smiled at him warmly:: Then let's get them off the ship quickly.

Reconfiguring his desk from command to engineering he started working on his task. Soon it was set-up, and ready to flood the ship with whatever toxin Plaka found. Moving beside her he let a supportive hand rest on her shoulder.

Soo: ::frustrated:: I can't find one.

Ben'thal: Don't rush, breath, and exhale. The more of a hurry your in the more likely to miss the key clue.

While as he spoke she found the formula that had illuded her.

Soo: ::excited:: Got it! Increase the Oxygen level to three parts, and add one quarter part helium to the enviormental controls . This will duplicate the atmosphere on the planet, and with them in the heightened state of germination, the sudden change will kill them without harming anyone else.

Ben'thal: What effect will it have on the children?

Soo: The only thing different will be that their voices will be an octive higher until we return it to normal.

Soo: ::hugging him:: We make a good team. ::but she wondered if they would feel the same way when not under the influence of the spores.:: What will happen to us if it works, Ben?

Ben'thal: We will be in love with our first team success under our belt.

Soo: I suppose you're right. We did feel an attraction on the planet too.

Ben'thal: That we did. Let me set the conditions on the controls and we will be free of the plants with a push of a button.

Nearian knew it would take almost two hours for the air to fully recycle from every part of the ship but the change should be noticeable immediately in the high traffic areas.

Soo: Ben, ::pointing:: What are those flashing lights?

There was a pair of warnings flashing on the tactical screen. Two active weapons warnings. One under his warp-core. The other heading for his office. Neither was good and he had a sudden urge to protect Soo.

Ben'thal: You must be hidden, Perkins didn't want you away from him and I took you. They are coming with weapons to take you from me.

Soo: ::worried:: What are we going to do?

Ben'thal: ::Working the console in a frenzy.:: I am sending you directly to my room. On the shelf near the door is a tacky looking statue with an orb in its hands. It was a gift from my Ferengi trade associates. A mini-jammer, just hit the purple button on the bottom and the ship scanners won't pick you up. Stay there until I can come find you.

The blue orb whisked her away before she could argue. turning his attention back to the weapons he noted one was overloading, right under 'HIS' warp-core baby. Diverting 90% of the warp-core power to its shield the lights across the ship dimmed. The window behind him started to glow as the shield became so densely packed with energy that it became visible to the naked eye.

Ben'thal: No one hurts my babies. ::Screaming at the window.:: NO ONE!

Jacen entered Ben'thal's office weapon in tow.

Fanel: Hello there.

Ben'thal: ::Turning suddenly.:: Ah Commander Fanel. ::Taking it slow.:: What brings you here?

Fanel: The Captain has work for you to do.

Ben'thal: If that is all why the big gun?

Fanel was holding his rifle now.

Fanel: Oh you mean my little friend? He's just here to make sure you do your job.

Ben'thal: Well sounds important, what was the job?

Fanel: I assume it has something to do with Soo, I wasn't listening to everything he says, he takes too much. Almost wanted to throw him out an airlock until he got to the point.

Ben'thal: Well, I am almost done... with this... ::Hitting a few commands on his desk.::

Fanel: Where's Soo?

Ben'thal: I am afraid I am unsure. I can only say that I believe she is safe.

Fanel: You don't know where she do you?

Ben'thal: I am sorry. Anyways to the point. What work did the captain have for me? :: Hitting the last command on his desk. The air in the room began to flow like a light breeze.::

The transporter kicked in blacking out the remaining lights for a moment, the blue shield glow illuminated the room and another small blue glow whisked away Fanel's rifle and deposited it with the other weapon signature.

Nearian's distraction had worked, he had already made a dash for the door while Fanel was disorientated. The lights came back on-line still dim as he slipped out of the office. Reaching the hall he kicked down an access hatch and began crawling through the tubes.

He could hear Fanel's angry growls behind him, working his way through the access corridors, Nearian hoped to use his home field advantage to escape. Sliding down ladder after ladder he began tossing tool bags from the supply racks in different directions hoping to throw Fanel off with the echoes.

When he hit deck 42 he listened for the sound of pursuit, but he did not hear any letting out a sigh he took a moment to catch his breath. Then he remembered the overloading phaser, but before he could process it fully the ship rocked with a devastating explosion.

Hugging the wall as blue and red plasma surged by he could feel the pressure start to drop from the crawl way. As space sucked the flames away, he slipped to the floor, gasping for air as the emptiness tore at his lungs. The shimmer of the emergency force fields sprung to life down the hall.

The pain that had not registered before hit like a tidal wave as his his lungs filled with helium laced air. Then his whole side ignited with an all too familiar pain. Struggling to reach the main hall he inched down the crawl way using his good arm to pull himself along.

Squeezing out of the crawl way, the pressure on his wounds made the pain unbearable. Unable to stand the pain any longer he passed out with a whimper, still half way in the tube.

T'Lea: Lt. Ben'thal, can you hear me? ::pat:: Medical has been dispatched to our location.

Nearian couldn't remember. Mister Stone had told him to stay away from the plasma cutters why had he been working on them? He knew that is what had happened, the pain was just to perfect to be anything else. You think he would have learned the first time. He could not stay now, he would be called the cursed Berellian.

Ben'thal: Mister Stone? I will pay you back, could you contact my father, please. I need a shuttle prepped for my departure.

The watery image of Mister Stone was distorted by tears. The pain was intense, but he knew he would live. He had before.

T'Lea: Where are you injured?

Had he lost weight? Mister Stone looked thin, putting it up to the distortion he moved on. How was he going to get off station. where would he go? Wait what had he asked? Injured? Where? What a question, for him right then. Where was the Station medical staff, they should have come even for such a small plasma burst.

Ben'thal: My sides are burned, but I think I avoided intestinal damage this time.

T'Lea: Do not move, Lt. the medics are on the way.

Lieutenant? He must look worse then he thought. He didn't have that option anymore, no way Starfleet would take him. Really he couldn't even fix a leaking plasma cutter without blowing up Mister Stones shop.

Ben'thal: Mister Stone, no need to lie to me. I will be fine. ::Wincing as he tightened a bandage.:: Where is the station medical you think this would be exciting for them?

Seeing a couple of medics jogging in their direction, T'Lea stood and waved.

T'Lea: Over here. ::kneeling back to Ben.:: I have to go. I am sorry.

Ben'thal: Its ok Mister Stone. I know you need to check the shop.

Watching him leave he noticed he was in a hall. Maybe he was behind the shop? Looking the other way he saw nothing but space.

Ben'thal: What did I do?

Medic: We have been hit with a torpedo. Nothing you could had done Sir.

Ben'thal: Oh...

Maybe he hadn't been working on the plasma cutter, maybe it had just overloaded from the blast. But why would he go into the hall instead of the commune? How had Mister Stone found him so fast? Something was off.

Medic1: Hold on sir. ::Slap.:: =/\= One for transport to sick bay.=/\=

Ben'thal: Don't wast.. the power, medical is just one floor up.

Medic1: Sir? Medical is almost 40 decks from here. Scan for brain damage.

Medic2: Yes sir.

Ben'thal: 40 decks? I am only on deck 25, someone get my father. Ambassadorial wing deck 8 I need to get a shuttle. I can't stay on this station.

Medic2: Station? Your on a starship sir? Scan clean sir, must be temporary loss.

Compression, the soundless spot as he was unraveled in to a stream of energy. He hated transporting, ever since that time they had a run in the newly finished Berellian version. Artistic quality aside, watching your father and mother dissolve into a swerling mass of glowing dots then getting sucked into a tube was disturbing.

Release, onto a bio bed. A pair of EMH stood over him, how bad was he hurt? the question would not take long to answer.

EMH: Plasma burns, internal damage, his file has previous scaring for wounds of similar type which could add to assessed damage.

Another EMH with the same face walked up, this on in nurses garb. A hypo hit his neck and Nearian met the world of dreams, or was it the world of night terrors?

((Dream Scape))

He was on Berellian. The trees swayed in the breeze and he saw movement in the distance. Looking more closely, he saw a Ho'peska deer watching him intently. The dark blue fur of an elder was beautiful to behold. Around the legs of the regal creature ran a pair of white fawns. A mother and her children he assumed.

For some reason he waved behind him for someone to approach. A woman now stood next to him. Trill he thought, has to be to many spots to be anything else.

Dream Soo: What are those?

Ben'thal: Ho'peska deer, the female is assessing if we are a threat.

Dream Soo: And if we are? I mean what will happen?

Ben'thal: If she was alone, probably flee but she might charge and try to kill us. But she has two fawns to watch, she will protect them and flee.

The female lowered her head and returned to watching the fawns. Holding the ladies hand he move closer, walking slowly until they were close enough to see the flattened area of grass the fawns were playing in. At the far end he saw some kind of hound sitting in the the corner.

Dream Soo: A dog?

Ben'thal: Not uncommon Ho'peska will take in any young they find and raise them as part of the pack. Kind of their service to the parents they sometimes kill.

Dream Soo: Will it stay with them?

Ben'thal: Maybe. Some grow up and leave the pack some stay for the community.

There was noise, another deer trotted into the field, another elder female with another white fawn. It walked up and nuzzled the first. He now saw deep scars on the first, only by seeing another with such fine fur so close could he even tell. Looking to a nearby tree the first made a bleating sound. And a third female poked her head above the grass. I looked tired and must have been woken by the call.

Dream Soo: They are all female? Where are the males?

Ben'thal: Away, or dead. The one in the center has taken on the job of protector in their absence.

Dream Soo: How can you tell?

Ben'thal: It is scarred and you can see the pain of killing in her eyes.

Dream Soo: ::looking closer at the eyes.:: She looks like a monster compared to them. And she was so beautiful at first.

Ben'thal: She still is, normally such females are hunted in their youth probably where she got those scars. Usually they are hunted for no more than causing damage to our buildings or accidentally harming a child when trying to play with it. Curious and active they tend to leave the commune at a young age. Those that stay active in there old age, tend to bring together a new family from parts of others.

Dream Soo: ::Seeing his face.:: You Respect that?

Ben'thal: It helps keep the blood lines fresh. There was one of the old gods of our planet who was based on the regal image of the female Ho'peska her name was Ho'peska Satoma or deer queen, those of our people who still believe in her flock to females like this seeing them as the messengers of their god.

Dream Soo: Do you?

Ben'thal: No. I place my faith in the arts alone. But still, ::Beat.:: perhaps we should wander with this flock for a bit, you might learn a thing or two from them.

Dream Soo: Very well, but I need to call them something when I write in my observation notes.

Ben'thal: Why not name them? How about the scared one first?

Dream Soo: Well... ::Pondering the question.:: She looks like a T'Lea.

Ben'thal: ::Staring in disbelief.:: What?

Snapping to look at the deer it had changed. Everything had changed. He was floating in space. T'Lea was floating in space. Phaser fire flew from her finger tips, Romulan fighters burst into flames everywhere she pointed.

Dream T'Lea: Quit gawking Ben, we have to save the kids.

It was no longer just small fighters coming at them, warbirds were descending on the pair, heading for the planet behind them. Throwing a punch towards the nearest of the ship a spray of torpedoes bloomed from his fist and collapsed in upon the ship utterly eradicating it. He began boxing with wave after wave of the ships.

They were decloaking and immediately firing at T'Lea. Her shield was failing. She turned to him with sad eyes.

Dream T'Lea: I am sorry Ben.

Seeing a spread of torpedoes heading for her he lunged for her. Grabbing hold he used his body to shield the blow. Pushing her towards to planet he returned to the fight. Looking over his shoulder, when he could, he caught a few glimpses as she began to shrink and fall. He kept checking on her until she disappeared into the clouds of the planet. The tide of enemies slowly stemmed until it had stopped. Jumping towards the planet he descended into the clouds to find T'Lea.

He saw her falling with her eyes closed. Streamlining his body he sped towards her like an arrow. Opening his arms he grabbed her, holding her tight he tried to kick off the planet. But his thrusters weren't working, he couldn't escape the gravity.

He pushed T'Lea away from his body, he had to tell her it was ok. He had to tell her she was forgiven. But the person in his arms did not look right, she had spots. It was the girl from Berellian. The one who had called the Ho'peska T'Lea. What was her name? He couldn't Remember. Her eye fluttered open, then she looked around panicked.

Dream Soo: Nearian are we going to die?

Plaka Soo that was her name, he had a promise to keep. He could not let her die, not like this. Kicking again he tried to escape gravity, but the thrusters wouldn't work. They wouldn't start. They broke out of the clouds with the ground was rushing up to meet them.

Dream Soo: ::Seeing the defeat in his eyes.:: Well this is good bye then.

She pulled him close in an embrace, he gulped at the air trying to get enough to talk. Finally he had enough but the ground was so close only one word escaped.

Ben'thal: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

At the moment of impact he registered something was wrong. Nearian snapped...

((Sick bay | USS Constitution - B ))

upright sending warning alarms and heart monitors into a frenzy, looking around he realized he was in a room with a dozen EMH copies and very few real medical staff. One of them rushed over to his bed.

EMH: Sir how do you feel?

Exhausted? Weak? No overall he was fine just needed some sleep.

Ben'thal: I am feeling ok considering.

EMH: How much do you remember?

Ben'thal: Some kind of explosion. I was crawling out of the tube when I passed out.

EMH: Name and rank?

Ben'thal: Nearian Ben'thal Lieutenant Junior Grade.

EMH: Ok, well we need the bed space so I am going to let you go, follow up here in two days. And get some rest, the dermal regenerator doesn't fully heal the wounds.

Heading out of sick bay he ambled to the lift then to his room.

(( Ben'thal's Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | USS Constitution - B ))

Opening his door Nearian slid into his room groggily before his eyes could adjust to the dim lights. The sight that greeted him when his vision focused almost knocked him out again.

Plaka Was lying next to his up-ended coffee table with all its contents piled against her side. Picking up the medical tricorder he was using for his mini transporter project he gave her a quick scan. Nothing seems completely wrong, no concussion just a little bruising and a few small cuts from the decorations on the table.

Putting in a little more effort then he should have he lifted her and carried her to his bed, and after setting her down laid down next to her.

With their combined warmth he quickly feel asleep as they slept off the worst of their wounds.

((Time Warp - A few hours))

Coming to from the light soft shakes of a certain trill's hand on his shoulder Nearian was stirred from sleep.

Soo: ::nudging him gently:: Ben... Ben... Are you alright?

Ben'thal: ::Groggy.:: I am ok, how do you feel?

Soo: ::laying her head back down on his arm:: I must have fell, I'm sore all over.... ::worriedly:: I'm surprised they haven't come to arrest me yet. Guess they haven't thought about it.

Ben'thal: No, I left the jammer on. I didn't want to have to explain it all when I was so tired.

Soo: I'm glad you did. I was pretty fatigued too. I felt an explosion, then I don't remember anything. ::snuggling close:: I'm glad I awakened to fine you here with me.

Ben'thal: Someone tried to blow up the ship by detonating torpedoes near the warp core. No one died so I think they will get off light under the circumstances.

Soo: What do you think they will do to me? I did put the plants in the ventilation system, but honestly, I had no idea the crew would react to the spores that way. ::sitting up with a new worry:: Everything is back to normal, isn't it?

Ben'thal: ::Jokingly.:: Other then some light damage, everything and the air seems to be doing better.

Soo: I am so sorry, but how can I ever make it up to you and the rest of the crew?

Ben'thal: Well if you stick around I am sure we could find someway.

Soo: ::clinging to him:: Oh, Ben, I wish I could stay on the Constitution. Do you think they would ever consent to that? Maybe I could make it for what I've done if I had the chance. ::pausing,she lowered her head:: I guess that is too much to hope for.

Ben'thal: It might not be if you can explain clearly to the captain why you did it, and what you didn't know about the plants. He might even request you stay to pay him back for all the commotion.

Nearian held her for a moment. then reaching for his PADD he looked at the latest reports. Plaka wasn't even mentioned on the latest batch of reports.

Ben'thal: oO That is good I don't have to worry about Tash discovering my ploy to soon.Oo

The PADD received a new message, which was surprising considering the amount of interference the jammer was putting out. But then again the jammer was designed to cloak life-signs not messages.

Ben'thal: Looks like there will be a holo-deck assembly soon. All command staff must attend it would be a good time to gauge how they feel about you and give you a chance to mingle. Maybe find a friend or two to speak on your behalf along side me.


Lt JG Nearian Ben'thal Chief Engineer USS Constitution-B

Lt. Commander T'Lea Historian & Archaeological Specialist USS Constitution-B

Lt. Commander Jacen Fanel First Officer USS Constitution-B

Lt Cmdr Della Vetri Counselor & Second Officer USS Constitution-B

MSC Plaka Soo Post Graduate Student Simed by Cmdr Toni Turner-West Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution - B