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Save Me

Posted on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:37pm by Lieutenant Talla P'Trell
Edited on on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 @ 8:48pm

Mission: Waters of Coralee
Location: USS Sunfire, crew quarters deck 2
Timeline: Flashback

The quarters in the Sunfire were fifteen degrees, and Laan Burstis was wrapping herself tightly in her blanket. While in the top bunk, Talla P'Trell was sweating, as she relived the nightmare she knew so well... her own memories of the past.

It started off so well...

It seemed they made the perfect quad. Ania, Shithras and Duust... they were all sturdy, hearty and dangerous in their own way. Ania worked as a master at arms for the Imperial Guard, training the troops in weapons use, specializing in the flabbjellah. The music that she could make with it could move people, and she was a warrior poet, slender and fierce and beautiful with snowy white hair.

Shithras was the artist, with an eye for beauty in the common places around them. His tile mosaics were ambitious and grand, and he had taught all of them to sculpt in the ice, using the quanyark blade to slowly shape and reduce the ice into shapes hidden within it. His bright blue eyes missed nothing, and his smile was quick and infectious. Duust was the explorer, the guide, the protector... his strong and able hands mapping the shifting surfaces of the poles, maintaining paths for those who would explore them and rescuing lost travelers when they ventured from his markers.

And there was Talla, the dreamer, who couldn't decide what to do, who they all shook their heads at because all she did was follow the others. She tagged along with them, helping out but never choosing a path for herself, never dedicating herself to anything because she didn't feel seriously about anything but the other three, who were a bondgroup that had been set at the age of five. Together they would be a shelthreth, coming together to produce children. They all felt their attraction, and even Talla was dedicated to that cause. And the cycle would be coming soon, and it would fall to her this time to produce offspring.

Her only talent was her ability with temperature... she was at home in the frozen tundra of the northen pole where Duust patrolled, and required no protection from the elements. The bondgroup hoped that it would breed true in their offspring, and to that end they tried to teach her Duust's duties so that she too would be productive, thus she and he grew closer as he trained her. She clothed herself in the glory of his love, and oh, how she loved him. She loved them all, of course, but Duust became special to her above them all, which was not uncommon even in the four-person bondgroups of the Andorians.

Then came the night of the ice storm.

Federation tourists were honeymooning on the wastes, to watch the eternal dawn of the poles and how the eternally setting sun brought the ice crystals to glorious, vibrant and colorful life. it was reputed to be one of the most beautiful sights in the universe... though Talla wouldn't know about that. All she knew was that the tourists were missing, and Duust was going out to find them. So of course she would go along, because she needed no protection from the elements... she could wear a huge coat to give to one of the tourists and carry a pack for Duust with some of his survival supplies. They would find the tourists... Duust always found his charges, and protected them until they were back to safety.

He made Talla feel safe... it was part of what drew her to him so strongly.

Two hours out he had found where they had wandered from the trail, and twenty minutes later he had found then, on a ledge just below the edge of a fissure. Talla anchored his line, and he went down, retrieving the two of the honeymooning tourists, sending them up the line to the surface. Talla gave them hot rocks to hold and her blanket coat, which would warm and shield them both, then she went back to help Duust back up over the edge.

Except that she hadn't paid attention to where she had driven in the piton, and the ice was cracking around it. She called to Duust to hurry with their guide, as the ice cracked faster and faster. She took hold of the line and tried to pull it in, but she wasn't strong enough. She dug her pick into the ice and slipped her foot through the loop, then grabbed the line and held on as the ice shattered and a chunk of the face sheared off.

Duust had the line in hand, and the guide in the other hand. As the cliff face sheared off it battered him, but he held on... he would not abandon his charge. Talla screamed as the line tore at her palms, but she refused to let it go. The tourists moved to help, but she shouted them back, as Duust had taught her... they could not gain purchase on the ice and would only endanger them all. So they anchored her while she fought to hold the line in her slick and bloody palms.

"You can do it, Talla," she could still hear him saying. "Save me..."

She put all that she had into holding the line as he worked to climb up toward her, but she was too weak... she could not keep the line from slipping, centimeter by centimeter from her blood-slicked grasp, even as she cried and roared her defiance at it. She was slipping over the edge, even with the pink-skin tourists trying to anchor her, the strap on her pick slowly pulling her boot off as the weight of her beloved pulled her over the edge.

She saw the look in Duust's eyes when he saw the line slip from her left hand, as she flailed desperately to gain a new handhold, and he realized his fate. "I love you," he said calmly, accepting the inevitable.

"I can't face this life alone," she cried, gritting her teeth and clawing to gain purchase on the line even as it threatened to pull her arm from her shoulder.

"You cannot save me... so save them. And live, Talla," he told her, smiling. "Protect and guide them for me."

Then the line slipped, and he fell... and both he and the guide tumbled down into the distance as she screamed her denial in vain.

Duust was gone.

The tourists pulled her back from the edge, naked and far from home. They begged her to bring them to shelter before the storm froze them to death, and like an automaton, she led them back to the resort. She had no heart, and for the first time she felt cold inside. In truth, she had no will to live... but Duust had charged her with their safety, and so she would honor him. They were Starfleet officers, and they thanked her profusely, offering what comforts they could, claiming her to be a hero... but she knew better.

Years of care and loyalty were nothing but a shattered dream. Ania and Shithras would not meet her gaze... whether it was by carelessness where she had placed the piton or her weakness at being unable to retrieve him, she had failed Duust, and now there would be no shelthreth. Their duty to Andoria to maintain the next generation would not, could not be fulfilled... because of Talla, and her failure.

It could be argued, perhaps, that it was not her fault... but in her heart she did not believe that. When the service committing Duust's spirit to Uzaveh the Infinite was complete, she had contacted the honeymooning couple and asked for their help in arranging passage offworld to join Starfleet. She was ill-equipped for life off Andoria... but in every blue face she saw the accusation of her failure, to Duust, and to Andoria. Their shelthreth would not be, and the dwindling numbers of Andorians would be fewer still because of her.

Duust had charged her to save them, and so she would. She served as a peace officer on Earth in their Alaska, where she would dedicate herself to learning every form of combat available to her, be it hand to hand or weaponry or tactical systems. And eventually she would serve in Starfleet, and she would learn the ways of starship weapons and combat. She would protect and guide them, as she had been bid by her lost love. She would suffer the infernal heat as her penance, eventually coming to be equipped with a coldsuit that would enable her to function by Starfleet. And she would become strong, as strong as she could be, so that she would never fail anyone ever again.

And she would have no heart. She would be cold as the ice from whence she had come, and she would care for no one... so that she could never suffer such loss ever again. Because there was not enough of her left to survive another loss, she was certain.

Perhaps eventually she would redeem herself. Or she would die in the bitter cold of space, the furnace of guilt within her extinguished at last.

In her sleep, she sweated profusely and cried silently, suffering the heat and her broken heart for her lost love. She would get little rest this night... but then, she seldom slept well.

She doubted that she ever would.


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