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((Shuttlebay 1, USS Apollo))

The afternoon's festivities had drawn to a close, and the two of them had decided to make their way to the shuttle bays for their trip to the surface. The plan was really sort of sprung On her at the last moment, and he hadn't really had the time to talk to her about it since. He knew that she would be okay with it, because she trusted him, but at the same time he wanted to make sure she didn't have any questions before heading down. ::
They rounded to corner to the big double doors to the shuttlebay, and entered through. He spotted one of the transports sitting alone in the bay, and checked in with the ops ensign in charge at the moment. ::

Lanius: Mind if we check her out? I've got a flight plan for a trip to the surface, if you don't mind loading it up for me?

Ensign: No problem Major, just give me a minute to run through pre-flight.

Lanius: Commander Laxyn and I will take care of it, no worries. Thanks boss…

Ensign: No problem sir. Have a nice trip.

he took her hand and gave her a nod and a smile towards the shuttle. Stepping inside, they took their seats in the appropriate positions. Vik began to run through the preflight checklist, speaking to her now while doing so. ::

Lanius: So… you're okay with this right? I mean meeting the folks and all?

Laxyn: :: Smirking:: Could not change it any more anyway, right?

Lanius: Well I mean, if you really wanted to, yeah I mean we could delay it…

Laxyn: Oh yes, I think I rather stay here, you don’t mind, do you?

He knew she was messing around, but at the same time, there was something that just made him be careful. Parents could be an awkard thing, and the only person he worried about, to be frank, was his father. ::

Lanius: If it meant respecting your wishes, sure. There would be other times. :: pausing for a moment :: I’m glad you’re good with doing it now.

Laxyn: ::chuckling:: Of course I am fine with it. I'm just a little nervous that's all. ::She reached over squeezing his forearm slightly.:: What are their names?

Lanius: Mary Ann and Faelrun. Faelrun the “great acamarian!” :: he laughed a bit, catching her smile in the process. :: Nice old man he is. He’s just got some quirks to him, that’s all. He could sell you a ketchup popsicle wearing white gloves.

Laxyn: :: She raised both her brows, the spots on her forehead were squished in the process.:: Why would he do that? Do I require Ketchup for an Acamarian welcome ritual.

Lanius: Figure of speech :: laughing heartily now :: He’s a smooth talker, or at least he thinks he is…

Laxyn: ::It was her turn to laugh now.:: so that is where you got that from.

Lanius: I guess you could say that. I just hope I use it a little better than he has in his lifetime. Are the auxiliaries checking out over there? Pitch, yaw, roll?

Hearing his words she turned to the right and checked the controls right next to her, her fingers pressed a few keys to get what they needed. She was not a pilot, not even by a long shot, but the basic training was apparently still somewhere in the back of her mind.::

Laxyn: Yes, all fine here.. uh... check?

Lanius: Perfect. Nacelles are ready and waiting. Let’s take a ride shall we? :: looking to her softly ::

Laxyn: :: That look in his eyes gave her a warm and fuzzy feeling, and she could not help but smile at him. :: Should give those nacelles something to do. Let's go.

And with that, he activated the flight controls, feeling the bird lift off the deck. He flew towards the forcefield-shielded entry/exit porthole and slid through like a knife through butter. He was making a point to fly manual on this one, as the last time he tried an entry through the atmosphere on a flight plan, it almost cost him and his crew their lives. He maneuvered near the Apollo’s side, getting a full view of the outside of the ship. As they moved forward, he powered up to half, making it around her starboard side. That’s when all of Utopia came into view, with traffic moving in and out of the port they had called home for a few days. He fiddled with the guidance computer a bit, pulling up their destination on the map. ::

Lanius: There she be, the homestead.

As the planet came into view Jalana watched it fascinated. She had seen it like that before of course, but she still found it beautiful and interesting. Later mostly because it was so different from her's. The water was blue, rather than turquoise and green. And there were so many continents that did not belong together, but were shaped in a way, that suggested, that they had been closer at some point. She wondered how people who had never seen a planet from this view before, would perceive it.::

Laxyn: It's beautiful. ::smiling::

Lanius: Should be at the atmosphere in less than two minutes. I’m going manual on this one.

Laxyn: ::taking a deep breath:: Okay.. as long as I don’t have to fly. I’ll just watch?

Lanius: Just keep your hand on the throttle adjuster. We’ll have to dart right through. Full speed if you would love.

That made her a little nervous, but if he thought that she could do that, she was sure she could. Only because she was not a pilot did not mean that she could not use some controls temporarily. She nodded to him, and her hand floated over the circular control, her fingertips sliding along the shape to make sure they were going at full speed. ::
With a quick whirl, the nacelles were cranking it out. They sped towards the planet’s atmosphere now, moving quite quickly. As they began to enter, there was a brief moment of turbulence, the cabin shaking violently for a bit. He kept his hands on the controls firmly ::

Lanius: And on my mark, ease back, three… two… one… mark…

She held herself with one hand to the armrest of her seat, that shaking worried her a little but since he seemed to stay calm, or at least it looked like that, she swallowed that uneasy feeling. At his mark she lowered her fingers again, sliding the tips over the smooth surface, to watch the circle on the control empty itself as she throttled the speed they were going with. Careful and in a fluid motion, so they would not bounce about even more.::
They had maneuvered through the upper atmosphere and were descending now towards Earth. The sun was setting on the Dublin countryside, and he was starting to pick out the familiar landmarks. They had about a 5 minute ride till their destination. ::

Lanius: Much better than last time…

Laxyn: ::turning her head to him:: The last time? What happened then?

Lanius: :: looking to her for a moment... :: Quatal?

Laxyn: Oh that last time. Yes. I am thankful that you didn’t do that this time ::grinning:: I did not plan on working until we are back on the Apollo.

How could she have forgotten that day? Viktor had been part of the Away team that crashed on the planet. They had been injured, but thankfully Sundassa had been there to take care of them. She remembered sitting on the bridge and hating that she had not been able to do anything, when Andrus mentioned that they were in trouble. Thankfully they all had come back in one piece. She really didn't need a repeater of that. ::

Lanius: That’s a valid thought. I don’t intend on their being too much work here. Threshing season is over for now hehe.

Laxyn: ::grinning:: Good, but what is this threshing?

Lanius: :: Maneuvering the shuttle towards the next nav point on the computer map, :: Farming. Surely they farm where you’re from.

Laxyn: On Trill yes, just not where I grew up. I remember the land from the Holodeck, so your family farmed it themselves?

Lanius: Yeah, we used to have quite a few crops, some cattle. That was back before Dad made a few… choices. :: His tone changed a bit, but he brushed it off just as quick as they had come. :: All good times on the homestead indeed.

He noted something odd about the landmarks in the area. There was certainly a few more buildings than he remembered in the area. It was clear to him that some of the local farms had either fallen out of the business, their owners had passed, or one of the area gangs had taken them. He was rounding the bend over a low valley, getting ready for the approach and landing on what should be his family’s land. As they came upon the coordinates, he noticed something wasn’t right. ::

Lanius: Check the map quick? We should be here… the farm is just up ahead… But I can’t… wait. There it is

She had brought up the map already when he pulled that request back. Looking out of the window, she let her eyes wander over the landscape.::
A smile grew on his face at that moment. But, as they drew closer, he could see the land where his family had made their honest living. He could see the old pasture markers, the barn where most of the antique equipment was being held, or had been held at one point. He saw most everything, with the exception of his childhood home. Where there once stood a cozy single story ranch house, was a two story commercialized structure, metal and dark in appearance. A large stack rising from the far corner of the building. ::
He noted a few small vehicles moving about the yard. He could see that they were carrying good from the area. oO A warehouse? Oo. That was when he noted that the fences that were in place weren’t the ones he remembered repairing as a kid. In fact, they were bigger, more menacing. There was wire all around the tops, razor wire. He was anxious now, with the realization that something was terribly wrong. There were people patrolling the area, but they didn’t seem to be military. But he suddenly realized who they might just be… ::

Lanius: Jal… This isn’t right… This isn’t… :: His voice was filling with a mixture of emotion… ::

Since Viktor had brought her into the holodeck program that showed the place he grew up at, she saw what he meant. This certainly was not he house they had spent some time in that night. Hearing the distress in his voice she placed her hand over his. To ask him if he was sure that it was the right place was something she bit back. He knew how to get home. So what else could it be? ::

Laxyn: Maybe they moved?

Lanius: Not in a million years. This place was sacred to Ma. She’d never allow it…

Laxyn: Did you let them know that we’ve come?

Lanius: I mean, I sent a message home a while ago and got no response… :: He looked out the port side window and could see that the people on the ground had definitely noticed the shuttle now. He was flying low enough. :: This is MY home… but… Get ready to land…

She heard the determination in his voice and nodded:: Okay.
Jalana leaned back in her seat and took a deep breath. Her eyes laid on what was going on outside, wondering what had happened to his home and who those people were. It was as if his emotions were contagious and she felt that weird dark hole in her pit.::
There was too much racing through his mind so far. He noticed some of the insignia on the side of one of the moving vehicles. It was the mark of the Hood. The Hood was a small time “mafia” of sorts back in the day, a lending agency and backstabber’s hideaway. They dealt in deals and dirty politics, with the ultimate goal of hoarding credits. They’d run rampant through Dublin at one point in time, but there must’ve been an event that made them move… but why here? Why his home? All he could think of was his Father. His teeth clenched. ::

Lanius: Over there :: pointing near where he suspected the front entrance to be. :: We’re landing there.

Laxyn: ::quietly:: Okay.

Lanius: :: Looking to her :: Jal, I need to know where my home is. I know of these people, and I think my answer lies within.

Laxyn: ::She gave him a small smile, trying to show him that she understood.:: Of course. I would want to know the same.

Lanius: I had planned on no work, but… this will be quick. I promise.

Laxyn: All the time we need, love.

The shuttle came to a soft landing after circling once more. Of course there were plenty of goons at the gate watching as they touched down. He didn’t like the look of them at all. None of this was right, and he was slowly moving from anxious, to angry. He could smell foul play a mile away, and he had smelled it the minute the touched down. Before standing, he grabbed a phaser out of the center console, concealing it in his long pilot’s overcoat. ::
She did not know if he did intend to take her with him, but she would certainly not stay here while he went out there to find out what happened. With that thought Jalana got up from her seat and grabbed the coat she had prepared knowing about the climate here, and slipped into it.::

Laxyn: ::with a slightly worried tone:: These guys do not look too friendly.

Lanius: ::Pulling her close and kissing her forehead, he moved away with a confused look on his face. :: Nothing will happen. I promise. I just need to know… I need to get some answers here… Stay close to me okay?

Laxyn: :: taking a deep breath:: Okay. Let's go and get some information.

Moving out of the rear of the Argo, he closed his coat over him as the wind began to make itself known. The wind was harsh, and it was almost as if it was about to storm. The lights of the compound had kicked on, as the sun was beginning to disappear under the horizon. Two of the men were already moving towards them. The taller of the two wasn’t brandishing anything, but his body language suggested he meant business. ::

McCready: And who the F*** are you?

Lanius: :: Having a suspicion that his name might have some weight… based on a theory that he had formulated while landing… :: Lanius. MAJOR… Viktor Lanius.

McCready: No way… the prodigal son returns… Who’s the tart?

Lanius: :: Stepping forward in front of Jal, placing a hand on the man’s shoulder. :: You would do well to watch that… And yes… Where’s Faelrun? He has to be here somewhere…

The Trill listened to the conversation, if one could really call it that. The tone was harsh and the words were crude and some of them did not make sense. She was not quite sure what a tart was, but from Viktor's protective gesture, she assumed that whatever a tart was, it was her.::

McCready: Aye :: in a thick irish accent :: But ya can’t see em. Not until I say it’s okay. Not until…

Voice: Mac… that’s enough…

He recognized the voice almost instantly. He knew that hard as stone voice from back in the cockles of his childhood. It was his father. ::
This felt strange, not at all as Viktor had described his home to her in the past. He was definitely right when he thought, that something was wrong. She was not sure why this man did not want him to see his own father, when he was apparently around. Carefully Jalana placed her hand on the small of Vik's back, a gesture she did not even think about.::
Then the new voice joined, authority swung in it that made her want to stand attention. Supressing that urge she turned her head to the source of that voice and the first thing she noticed was that the man had this ridge on his forehead, just like Viktor had it. Knowing it was an Acamarian trait she had no doubt that this would be his father. And that surprised her, he did not appear like a smooth talker to her as Vik had mentioned earlier. And that was not the only thing that was off to her. ::

Faelrun: Boy… :: cracking a smile :: You’re home… :: He held his hands out to the sides, as if expecting a hug. ::

Lanius: Father…

There were no words on the tip of his tongue. He was dressed in fine clothing, a suit and tie or sorts. Vik had thought about it on the way down, that his father must’ve had something to do with all this in some way, but the way things were shaping up, the way he talked to those lackeys, the way he was dressed. This was no farming man, no honest, hard working man at all. He was a thug. A want-to-be mobster from an age that died long ago along with his pride and integrity. Viktor’s anger began to turn into rage. He and he released Jal’s hand, realizing that he could’ve hurt her with the tightening of his fist. His worst fears had come true. ::

Lanius: I see you’ve got yourself a fine little establishment here. Doing well? :: His tone was almost crazy sounding, but soft. He didn’t look up to him until the very end of his statement. He looked him square in the eyes. ::

Faelrun: Oh boy… enough. This had to happen. I suppose you’re talking about the farm?

Lanius: Right… I’m sure you throwing away your culture, your livelihood… had to happen… Didn’t it. :: His voice unchanging. ::

Faelrun: You know me… you know I can’t finance my way out of a paper bag boy… Tallke offered me a way out. A couple actually. He said I could pay back my debt by selling the farm. Or I could keep it and work for him. I just figured…

Lanius: :: interrupting him :: Where’s mother…

Faelrun: You’re Ma… she’s…

Lanius: Where… is… Mother? :: He looked up again, his voice squaring up with him. ::

Faelrun: She’s… in a home. It’s all paid for! Tallke made sure of that… I just.

His eyes flashed over for a moment. He couldn’t even process what he had just heard. His mother was… in a home? He didn’t even know what that meant. He really did know what it meant, but he just couldn’t fathom that the shell of a man… of a beast that was standing in front of him, had done that. It took everything in him not to pull that phaser, point it straight at the man’s head and press the button. His eyes narrowed… He was inches from losing his mind. ::

Lanius: Where… :: voice still stern and low ::

Faelrun: English quarter. Weatherly Place.

Lanius: :: turning to Jal, :: Let’s move. I’ve seen enough.

The Trill was not quite sure what to make of all that. She did not know Faelrun, but she was quite sure that he was not the man that Viktor knew. Instead of the expected farmer's clothing he wore a suit and the way he talked.. somehow it sent chills down her spine. She nodded to Viktor and turned to head back to the shuttle.::
And just as he turned away, he heard the withered frail soul behind him speak. ::

Faelrun: Oh, come on boy? No hug for dear ole dad?

Lanius: :: he turned, keeping his hands near his sides. He moved within inches of the man’s face, the goon guards coming in a bit closer, he leaned forward over the man’s shoulder and whispered into his ear. :: You’re dead to me… deader than your pride was when you sold out our name and our integrity. :: in Acamarian tongue :: Tu’lale Viocadre unt vio…

He never spoke Acamarian… especially the words he had just spoken unto the man in front of him. ::
Turning back to them when she heard the voices she saw Viktor getting right up into his father's face. She knew how angry he was, it was like a dark aura around his whole body, deep and flaring like a forest fire. She did not understand the last words, but she didn't have to. Before Vik could do anything he might regret later, even if he would not think so now, she stepped over to the men and placed her hand into his, reminding him that she was here with him, without looking at his father.::

Laxyn: ::Quietly:: Come. Let's see your mother.

He could do little now but turn from him, and as he moved away he could feel a hand land on his forearm, trying to pull him back. He threw the arm away, heading for the shuttle. Jal needed no que to follow. He was dancing an awful ballet of anger, sadness and hatred at that moment as he walked towards the shuttle, the look of pure hate in his eyes… his long coat blew in the wind, with Jal at his side. It was raining now, the rain flowing off of his face. Faelrun stood at the entrance to his world, watching all that he had left of his family leave in an argo. He did little but turn and walk back into the compound. ::
Vik took his seat, locking it into place as the rear door closed. He was silent. ::
Jalana lowered herself onto her own seat. It felt a little strange and she had no idea what to say, though knew that nothing really could make this better. Still something in her wanted to break this heavy silence. ::

Laxyn: Viktor…

Lanius: :: he was quiet ::

Laxyn: ::She turned on her seat towards him and reached for his hand.:: Talk to me Viktor.

Lanius: This wasn’t what I wanted to show you. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be…

Laxyn: I know. ::whispering::

Lanius: :: Looking up through the rain streaked glass of the shuttle :: I need to find ma now…

Laxyn: Okay, then let’s go. :: She properly sat back in her seat again and bit her lip as she watched the rain soaking the land outside, and hoped that the visit in the home would go better.::

The truth was, as they lifted off to heard for the old English Quarter of town, he wasn’t going to be prepared for what he was about to see, about to feel. Homes were meant for those that weren’t fit to carry on with their daily lives, and needed to be cared for constantly. Certainly Jalana had knowledge of this, but he couldn’t bear to ask. It wasn’t long before they found the address that had been pulled up through the LCARS for the name. The place looked old. Certainly not like anything he’d seen in a long time. He was growing nervous. ::

((Weatherly Place, Dublin, Earth))

They moved from the shuttle to the interior of the building. It was surprisingly well-kept and modern on the inside, which was characteristic of this part of town. He had asked at the desk for his mother, Mary Ann Lanius, to which he was directed to a floor up. He walked into the room to see his mother, the one who had birthed him, fed him, and learned him some of his most valuable lessons, lying in a hospital bed, hooked to machinery that was more than likely to keep her alive. No nurse… no one to tell him of what had happened. She looked old, but like his mother nonetheless. She’d been sleeping, but seemed to wake when he and Jal entered the room. She even smiled, realizing who it was. ::
He did well to wipe the anger from his maw, and replaced it with a subtle smile. ::

Lanius: Hey Ma! :: speaking softly, and setting down near her, grabbing her hand. It felt so small and weak in his. ::

Mary Ann: Oh Viktor Lanius… oh my golden boy! :: She lit right up. :: How I’ve missed you so…

Lanius: Yes Ma, I too. :: He couldn’t help but begin the old irish accent that was so thick in his youth. It was almost instinctual. :: I’m so glad you’re awake, I … I brought someone I want you to meet.

Looking to Jalana, he nodded to her with a soft smile. ::
The Trill knew too much about those homes to feel comfortable, even as a doctor. She had been quietly looking around, watching for the way the nurses and doctors took care about people. One could see so much by the way they talked to the patients and handled them. But as soon as they entered the room her attention was on the woman in the bed, who turned into a bright star as soon as she saw her son. To see them talk with each other made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Though when he went to introduce her, she became a little nervous again. ::

Laxyn: Hello Mrs. Lanius. I’m Jalana Laxyn.

Mary Ann: Such a beautiful name dear… your soul seems peaceful, yes?

He saw the confused sort of look in Jal’s eyes, and he too had some thoughts of his own. The phrase sounded out of place. Just strange. ::
Jal was not sure what that meant, maybe it was a terran expression she was not aware of. But the woman seemed so gentle and friendly, that she did not want to upset her with asking. And she surely did not want to tell her about what happened earlier, so she smiled gently down to her.::

Laxyn: It is, Mrs. Lanius. Thank you.

Lanius: Mama, we’re going to be married, Jalana and I. I wanted you to meet her.

Mary Ann: :: Her eyes seemed to sparkle, and her smile grew wide. :: My boy? My boy is to be wed?! Surely you’ve set the table and time… surely. :: her look was stern. ::

Lanius: Mama, I don’t… yeah, yeah everything is set.

Watching them interact made Jalana miss her own mother, she had not talked with just as long as with any other family member, besides her brother. Seeing Viktor’s mother like this reminded her how short time was sometimes. Wondering what had brought her here she quietly slipped closer to the bed and took the chart she saw hanging from it to take a look.::
Vik noticed that Jal had found her chart somewhere near the bed, and had been reading through it. He could tell by her facial expression that something in that chart wasn’t settling well. He felt a pit forming in his gut. ::

Lanius: Mama, do you remember the farm, and baking bread for me and Da after threshing all day? The friendship bread?

Mary Ann: Do I ever… you couldn’t wait to get your hands on it. But what did I tell you? It’s the reason you’re here now boy… You never forget those you care about… And you girl? You care about my boy?

Laxyn: ::She placed the chart back where she had gotten it from and smiled to Mary Ann.:: I do very much. He is in my heart.

She simply smiled one of the warmest smiles anyone had ever laid eyes on. She always looked to well when she smiled, her now white hair seemed to glow a bit, and her laugh lines were all visible, but not as dark as before. Her deep blue eyes sparkled a bit more. Vik felt Jal lean over to him, and she whispered something that he was not prepared for. ::
Having read the chart Jalana felt that Viktor had a right to know what was going on. Though it was difficult for her since he already had such a bad experience today. It tore her heart apart to know that this lovely woman would possibly not even see her son a married man, even if they would set the date early. She hesitated trying to make up her mind on how she wanted to break the news. ::

Laxyn: ::whispering:: I'm sorry Viktor, but.. she is very sick. ::She placed her hand on his as she stayed close.:: It's her brain... it is affected by Clarke's Disease and the rest of her body does not seem to fight the side effects.

His heart began to sink lower than it ever had in his life… it almost felt as if it was deflating right then and there. He wasn’t sure what the words meant exactly, but he knew that she didn’t have much time at all. He could feel the water welling behind his eyes… He couldn’t cry in front of his mother, not right now. ::

Lanius: You sure? :: whispering to Jal ::

Laxyn: ::Taking a deep breath she nodded:: I’m afraid so.

Lanius: I mean, she’s been like this for a while then?

Laxyn: Yes, she is in an advanced stage.

Lanius: How long? Not tonight…

Laxyn: No, not tonight. But … it might be advisable to do what you need to do. ::She kept his face in her gaze and brushed over his arm.:: I’m so sorry, Vik.

He couldn’t bare to listen. He let out a breath, and with it came some tears down his cheeks. After all this, he was starting to lose it. He look back to his mother now, smiling again. ::

Lanius: Mama, have we your graces to be wed? Can we make our own friendship bread, in our own home?

Mary Ann: Of course my dear… of course… Da even has the farm all ready for you when you’re done playing soldier. How you loved playing soldier…

Lanius: That I do… I love you Mama… :: He pulled her hand up to his face and held it there for a moment. ::

She looked to Jalana for a moment, almost as if studying her. ::

Mary Ann: Dear… you’ve such beautiful eyes… has anyone told you?

Jalana straightend her back again and stepped to the bed, half sitting on the edge next to Mary Ann's legs, so she was not in the way for Vik to look at his mother.::

Laxyn: Actually Viktor mentions it every now and then. He is quite a charmer.

Mary Ann: His father would be so proud of him... Have you met him? Such a nice man...

He could feel his tongue start to bleed. He was blaming Faelrun already for everything. For the Abandonment of the Lanius way of life; the pride he once had in his family. He was blaming him for his mother’s condition, and he would truly never know how it came upon her, or why, or what Faelrun had done to help. He needed to say what he needed to say to his mother, for she may never even remember who he was by the next morning. He never wanted this for her. He was crying now, for the first time in a long time, since childhood almost. He looked to Jal. ::
Hearing the way Mary Ann talked about her husband made her sad. Not because she still thought of him so fondly, but because it only showed her how progressed her illness was. It was not as much hallucinations that were a symptom in the majority of patients but more, that she was in her own world, her own bubble in which all was fine. Maybe, she thought to herself, she should be glad that Mary Ann did not see what really happened. At least she would not spend her remaining time in grief over it. And Jalana did not want to destroy that. For a moment she looked to Vik, seeing his tears and gently she took his hand, brushing over it with her thumb as she looked to Mary Ann to answer her question. ::

Laxyn: I didn't have the pleasure yet. :: That man she had met was not the same they talked about, so she told herself that it was not a complete lie. ::

Lanius: He was proud mama... he was. :: Looking to Jal, his tears clearing a bit :: I’m glad you two had the chance to meet. I’m glad she could see you as I do…

He heard his mother whisper ::

Mary Ann: I love you too boy…

Lanius: Aye? :: leaning close ::

Mary Ann: I love you…

He leaned forward and kissed her forward, taking her hand and placing it near her heart. He could do little now, say little now, but that he loved her. ::
The next few hours would carry on as the first had. A few meaningful, loving words that came from the inside of the cage that she dwelled within, were followed by others not so coordinated. What plagued her ate away at her slowly. He savored every word, made sure that he remembered every bit of it. They had spent quite a few hours on the Earth by that point, and it was worse than he could’ve ever imagined. In a few hours time, he’d lost his house, his family, his father, and now… his mother. And through it all was Jalana. She stood by him through every moment… ended up telling him what would be the demise of his Mother. He hated that she was made to do that. By the Gods, what had he done? There was so much in his head, so much to sort through. ::
As time went on, that inevitable moment where they would have to return came, as the Apollo would be setting her sails at any moment. Mary Ann Lanius was sleeping when he realized that their orders had come. She was sound asleep, peacefully sleeping, and all he could do was hope that she was dreaming of that farmhouse on the Cliffside, the crops in full growth, the herd moving to milking, and the smell of warm bread in the oven. He hoped that she would pass soon… He thought it an awful thing, and was disgusted at himself, but it was better than not being able to take care of her in this place. He wanted her to be well once again. The ride back to the Apollo was a somber one at that. ::

((Timeskip, that night, Quarters Lanius))

They entered their quarters rather silently, as if not wanting to disturb the dust bunnies that might have been inhabiting the room at the time. He moved over to the couch, his shirt already off and hanging on it. He sat with a thud. His whirlwind of emotion seemed to be slowing at the moment, but all the questions still remained. ::

Lanius: Here I was thinking we’d get to have another peaceful evening in Vik and Jal land.

Jalana had followed him and while she wanted to bring some sun into his dark cloud that was hovering around his head since their visit on Earth, she knew when she needed to not be a clown. He had to come to terms with what he had found out today and she wanted to give him the time, even if it was hard for her to not bug him. That he did not send her away and spoke now was a good sign, that he did not try to hide in his cave alone. ::

Laxyn: It’s not your fault.

Lanius: It wasn’t always like that. We used to work well as a family. Things were whole… They’re fractured and broken now…

She shoved the shoes off her feet and headed to the replicator, getting a hot drink for both of them to soothe their spirits. With the cups in her hands she headed to the seating group, placing them on the table. She had the feeling that he was not done talking yet, so she did not interrupt him.::

Lanius: And then there’s you… you stuck around for all of that… you’ve gone with me to some pretty dark places today… Jalana Laxyn… There is nothing I can say that would be enough to thank you…

Laxyn: :: His words tugged at the corner of her mouth.:: Of course I’m there, light and dark. Mind if I join you?

Lanius: :: moving over a bit to accept her. :: Of course.

She smiled and sat down next to him, pulling her legs up before she leaned into him. Jalana's hand searched for his, holding it, her fingers slipping between his. She took a shallow breath, trying to put into words a part of the feelings that rippled through her since their time in the home.::

Laxyn: I'm sorry that I had to be the bearer of the news...

Lanius: You couldn’t possibly be sorry for that. Circumstance was the only thing that led you to read that.

Laxyn: I know, I just can't help to feel guilty. ::Raising her free hand she showed a short distance between her thumb and her index finger.:: Just a little.

Lanius: To be honest, if it had been anyone else… I don’t really know how much more difficult that could have gotten… Will she remember any of this? That happened?

Laxyn: :: She thought about his words a bit. Knowing that the clinical terms would not tell him anything she tried to explain.:: She will remember that she saw you and that she was happy. She might perceive things a little different than we do, though. She is in her own little world, where everything is still okay.

It was important for him to know, to understand the disease that was eating her alive. He needed to know that she would be okay, even if she really wasn’t. He thought it selfish at first, having to only know so that he could sleep at night. But he needed to know the truth. ::

Lanius: She’ll go peacefully? I mean, who knows when we’ll be back… I just know I’m going to get that call, when we’re out in the middle of nowhere…

Laxyn: ::Brushing over his hand gently, she nodded, knowing that the chance was high.:: You know I cannot make guarantees, but it is very likely, that she does not remember anything about what happened to the farm or the change to your father. Her mind seems to lock these things out. It sounds to me like it will be as peaceful as it can be.

Lanius: I trust every word of it. I trust you.

Laxyn: ::quietly:: I know you do and I would not hurt that trust for anything in the world.

Kissing her sweetly for the first time all day, he started to feel anything that he had felt about his father melt away, and he was left for a fleeting moment with that memory of baking bread with his mother. ::

Lanius: Now that we’ve got the graces… let’s start baking our own bread, in our own home Jal…

Major Viktor Lanius C.A.G, 69th Tactical Air Wing USS Apollo, NCC-71669


Lieutenant Commander Jalana Laxyn Chief Medical Officer USS Apollo