Obsidian Command

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Posted on 29 Feb 2024 @ 9:11pm by Lieutenant Louke Haille

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Ops Office
Timeline: Same day after ‘Installation Details’
1582 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Leaning back in his chair, Louke played the small charm over his fingertips, gazing into a spot somewhere in middle-space. It wasn’t often he found himself dwelling on the past, but his conversation with Ibis had brought up memories he thought softened with time. Granted, the past was not even 20 years behind him - a mere fraction of time in the grand scheme of things - but since then life had taken a rapidly winding path that often tucked memories into easily-forgotten pockets. It was easy to let the dust settle, filling in the gaps and smoothing out the rough edges until the past took on a pleasant, uncomplicated glow softly in the back of his mind.

Now … now, Louke found himself wondering if letting the past ease out of prominence was the best of decisions after all. For one, it had put distance between himself and Alin; after Talis, after Louke had been carted home for his adopted family to put the pieces back together, his ties to Bajor had slowly eroded until the last fragile connection he held was the charm tucked subtly about his neck. Even now, he tended to brush aside just what the image truly meant. As he had told Ibis, he had been a poor student of Bajoran history and culture - especially where it tied to religion.

Faith had never been a large aspect of his life, and had taken a more distant seat once his adoptive parents passed, leaving him truly alone in the world. Talis had revived a bit for him; even though he’d often poke fun at her for her endless rituals and quick prayers at odd moments, the quirks had endeared her to Louke. They were a part of her personality, defining the woman who claimed his heart. She had gifted him the charm on their 10th anniversary; there had never been a formal marriage between the two, more of an acknowledgement that what they had was enduring in its own way regardless of any ceremony.

”It’s a tribute, Love,” Talis stretched up on her toes to clasp the chain around Louke’s neck. “It signifies the binding of our Pagh into one.” Her fingertips brushed his jaw, smoothing over the dark growth fuzzing along the edge.

“That’s more a you thing than me,” Louke murmured, even as he reached up to touch the charm.”

“And whose fault is that?” Talis playfully tapped his nose. “Mr.
The prophets never did anything good for me” How do you think you got such a treasure such as myself to stand by your side, hmm?”

“Because said treasure was an impudent girl who wouldn’t listen to her brother and stay home and safe, but insisted on plunging into danger right alongside him. Alin is a friend, and I couldn’t just let his baby sister put herself at risk.”

Talis put on the air of the affronted. “Oh, so now you’re saying you charmed me for my own good; is that it?” When he grinned, she smacked his arm. “As if an off-worlder could charm the likes of me!”

Louke chuckled to himself, remembering how she would preen around him; Talis loved to put on a show for its own sake, all the time she was laughing at her own prank and inviting any and all to join in on the fun. In the same breath she was compassionate, dedicated, and brave. Though he teased her for following impetuously after her brother like some foolhardy child, Talis had displayed strength and skill from the first days Louke had met her - a snub-nosed teenager tagging along at Alin’s heels and insisting to be included in every conversation, no matter how mundane.

He had tolerated her presence at first with an air of genial acceptance, familiar with the personality in his nieces and nephews, even finding it endearing at time. As months passed and the novelty wore off, Louke had begun to discover the steel lining the bones of the young woman and started observing her more closely. What had first come off as youthful bravado revealed itself as courage only occasionally tempered with a dash of insecurity to lend an edge.

Louke wasn’t sure which of them fell first, but he knew when he began to slip, he knew then there would be no returning. The further he fell, the less interest he was in the possibility of turning back. He was committed to this relationship, whatever it might bring when all was said and done. He grew to cherish Talis for her fiery temperament - her bouts of anger alongside her passionate affection - and found a peace of sorts when he was around her that he had never truly known in his early years. Looking back now, as he traced the curves and whorls of the charm lying in his palm, he found himself missing the life he had known for those few years - the last plagued with fear and oppression as the Cardassians made their presence known in a brutal fashion on the people of Bajor.

Louke’s non-Bajoran presence made him less of a target at first. The oppressors seemed to care little for off-worlders moving in and out of the space, and his position as a merchant offered some appeal when he was able to bring in luxuries not found on the surface of either planet. His status even offered some protection to Alin and Talis by association and he utilized that to shield them to the best of his ability. It was only when the resistance grew stronger, and began drawing more fire, that his novelty began to fade.

His first run-in with growing Cardassian suspicions was not so troubling to Louke. A patrol stopped his ship, searching the cargo for contraband or stow-aways - they never clarified for sure which - before threatening him with more intensive scrutiny should they find he was not heeding their rules. Louke had presented the perfectly cowed and respectful Captain before completing his trek home. He had already made his delivery of refugees, and the contraband he carried was not stowed in his cargo hold, but rather in his personal quarters where none of the patrol had thought to look.

Once he docked, Alin helped Louke to off-load his ‘personal gear’ into the hanger before putting out feelers to any locals needing medical supplies which were parceled out on meagerly rations from the overlords. The past five years had consisted of many such trips; sometimes Alin accompanied him, sometimes Talis, but most times Louke traveled alone, reasoning it best no one make to strong a connection between them should anything go wrong.

In the end, it had been a moot point. Too many missions, too many souls involved in the mix, meant someone had talked where they shouldn’t. It had been much as Louke had told Ibis. He’d limped home after a mission gone horribly wrong, his ship badly scored and a target to any who might see it. Alin had disguised it among a fleet of relics, bringing Louke home to Talis while he put up a smoke-screen to distract any Cardassian interest. Unfortunately, Louke’s name had been given out and his association with the Jyn clan was well known.

He had always wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t taken that last trip. He’d been talking to Talis about possibly going with him on a journey to Earth, to see his homeworld and escape the constant threats, but she would not leave her people, her home. ”I don’t run from trouble, Louke. There will be time for joy-rides later; right now, we are winning the battle. I will not leave until the Cardassians leave.” It was a promise that would never be kept, but Louke knew even then that if he constantly questioned his actions, he would never heal from the scars that went deeper than physical wounds.

Standing, Louke walked over to the shelf where the chain lay drying after its time in the cleanser. Charm in hand, he carefully threaded it back onto the slim metal chain and fastened it around his neck. The links rested light and smooth against his skin, barely noticeable as he went through his day where it rested beneath his collar. He sent a message to his 2nd in command to meet him in the main office to go over the details and see what ideas the young woman might come up with on her own. He was sure that between Ibis and Rhian, they would have the Shopkeepers lining up to join in the project. All the better; that would leave him to his position of overseer of the wishes of Command with the potential of perhaps earning a bit of shock and pleasant surprise from one Mr. Brek.

Pausing at the mirror, Louke adjusted his collar so the charm rested just so against the hollow of his throat. It was hidden from sight, but he knew it was there. A binding of our Pagh. “You were not wrong, love,” Louke murmured with a wry smile. “The knots are still there, and they’re not coming loose anytime soon if I can help it.” With a final twitch of the fabric, he closed the door behind him and headed off to his meeting.


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