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The Price of Freedom, Part Two
Seeing You Again

(Commercial break. When we return, we're on the Promenade.)

Aft Walkway <Deck 31> [Gibraltar Station]

The Promenade is an airy, open cylinder that stretches for five decks. Around the outside of this cylinder on each deck are walkways that allow for easy foot traffic between the various establishments lining the walls. The outer wall of these walkways are paneled in light gray except where interrupted by doors and openings. Some establishments are open to the Promenade, allowing one to look inside before entering, while some merely have a door with a plaque declaring what is beyond. The inner side is bordered by a low rail. Beyond this rail are the trees and bushes of the central garden, shading this level of the walkway from the lighting above. The lighting on the Promenade adjusts according to the time--by day it is quite bright, dimming at around 1800 until its darkest point (though still light enough to see clearly) at midnight. From here it slowly brightens until reaching its full, daytime brightness once more at 0600. Vertical alert tracers line the doors and other openings, showing the status of the station.

Players:
Gwen Hawkins
Thomas Church

Captain Gwendolyn "Hawkins" (Civilian Clothing)

Standing at perhaps five and a half feet, this woman radiates a strong presence at most times. Gray eyes dominate a face that, while it is no longer youthful, is not yet given over to old age. Though her expression is often serious on the times she flashes a smile it lights up her face--though she's more likely to be quirking reddish eyebrows in inquiry. Her hair is strawberry blond, and falls around her face to just past her shoulders. She has a dancer's body, lithe and slim, and moves with easy grace.

She wears a simple, casual outfit. A pair of black slacks is held at the waist by a belt, and falls to the top of a pair of black running shoes. Tucked into this is a short-sleeved blouse of light green. There are no adornments or oddities of stitching, just a simple outfit.

Thomas, having just arrived on the station is taking the opportunity to get to know the layout. He aimlessly walks around various areas and ends up in the Promenade. If he wasn't impressed by the architecture of the station, he is now. His mouth drops open at the site of the central opening filled with trees and foliage of all kinds. He continues to walk around the Promenade excitedly examining various shops and vendors as he passes.

Hawkins comes out of the turbolift, turns a bit to stroll toward the entrance to the garden. She's in civilian clothing, but carrying a PADD, which she's looking down at as she walks.

Church wanders around a bit and catches sight of a flash of blonde hair on a woman. His eyes light up and he begins to veer his wanderings in the direction of this woman. He's not wasting any time is he?

Gwen keeps her head bent over the PADD, nodding occasionally and making notes. She turns in to the walkway to the garden as she goes.

Thomas is blantantly following this mystery woman. His eyes tend to follow every move she makes and his head bobs as she nods at the PADD she is carrying. He seems to be in a trance of some sort. He barely even notices that he's entering the garden.

Hawkins walks toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
Hawkins has left.

Church walks toward Garden Pathway - Aft &;ltDeck 31>.
Church has left.

(The camera follows Church through the archway and into the gardens.)

Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31> [Gibraltar Station]

Spanning five decks, the ceiling of the garden is high enough to hold full-grown trees. There are indeed trees here, along with flowers in every imaginable color, grass in a hundred shades of green and blue. The lighting overhead is diffuse enough to nearly substitute for sunlight on an M-class world. The plants are well-tended and some effort has been made to make the layout pleasing to the eye. The sounds of bird calls fill the air, insects chosen for their compatibility with the plants here flit about, and there are small mammals about as well, again chosen for their compatibility with the plants and each other. With the scents of life and growing things surrounding one, it almost seems like a park on an M-class world, save for the Promenade walkways one can sometimes spot high above.

A walkway of white stone threads through this cacophony of life, winding toward the central open area. There are benches here and there along the pathway, black iron frames with wood slats, curved and carved in an imitation of what might have been found in a 19th century city park. Trees shade the pathway, beeches and oaks, pines and firs, species from Betazed, Trill, Delta, and a dozen other Federation worlds. The archways leading to the outer walkway are carefully shielded so that no animals may get out, ensuring that this area stays insular to itself.

Players:
Gwen Hawkins
Thomas Church

Gwen passes through the archway, barely seeming to notice where she's going herself. She's walking slowly enough to be easily caught up.

Thomas finally seems to catch up to her and he catches a familiar scent coming from the woman's hair. He dismisses it as a coincidence and says behind the woman, "Lovely morning, isn't it?"

Hawkins looks up at the voice and frowns slightly. She turns a bit to face the man and blinks a few times. "Thomas?"

Church is totally caught off guard. His eyes widen--she has discarded her usual accessories, but there is no mstaking who this woman is. His jaw drops in blatant surprise, "Gwen?! Oh my god, it's been forever! How are you?"

Gwen smiles, but there's strain in her face, a tightness in the eyes that wasn't there eleven years ago. "I'm... tired. I have far too much work. But otherwise, I'm alright. How are you doing?"

Church apparently doesn't notice the strain, "I've been good. I've just got a promotion." He frowns slightly, "It's a desk job, but I'll manage." He takes in the rest of her statement, "What're you so busy with?"

Hawkins sighs and turns to continue walking along the pathway. "The explosions... you must know, I'm sure you'd have been told. 200 people dead... docking bay doors blocked... a whole Embassy gone. No one being let on or off the station. I suppose your mother pulled some strings with Fleet Command, hmm?" She sounds... perturbed at that last. Highly perturbed.

Church tenses a bit from the mention of his mother. "Yeah... well, she kinda outranks Admiral Crawford, and well..." he rubs his neck, "you know how she is." He seems eager to steer clear of any talk about his mom. "Anyway, enough about that. What happened? I mean, things seemed to be going well, and I was even thinking about proposing and all, but then you just up and disappeared. I even tried to look for you for a while. We were together for a year, no 'good-bye,' no 'keep in touch'..." He frowns slightly; the wounds still sting, apparently.

Gwen sighs, letting the PADD drop to her side. "About that... Thomas... I'm sorry. I really am. It's somewhat complicated. You see, the truth is, I--" she cuts off as a yellowshirted Lieutenant comes up to her, holding out another PADD. "Sorry to interrupt, Captain, but you said you wanted those repair estimates as soon as possible." Gwen nods, glancing down at the PADD. "Thank you, Williams. Tell Commander Tremar she'll have what she needs."

Thomas seems to forget his jaw as the word Captain comes out of the yellowshirt's mouth. His mouth hangs agape he stammers, "Captain? Captain? You're not Captain Hawkins, you're Gwen Abrams... You're a civilian merchant... How're you a Captain?!"

Williams stares at the man for a moment, and Gwen turns to him. "Carry on, Lieutenant." When the man doesn't move, she repeats, firmly, "Carry on. You're dismissed." The man blinks, shakes himself, and nods, moving away.

Gwen turns back to Thomas, sighs. "Look... Thomas... I'm sorry. I lied to you. My name is not Abrams. It's Gwendolyn Hawkins. Yes, Captain now. I'm not a civilian--I was never a civilian. I--"

"Then what were you? What were we?!" Thomas seems to be getting more and more flustered as the information comes to him. His face is beginning to redden.

Gwen glances around and sighs. "Not here," she mutters. She takes Thomas' arm and shoves him back and to the side a bit, through the gate to the rose garden.

Hawkins leaves the area toward Rose Garden <Deck 31>.
Hawkins has left.

Church leaves the area toward Rose Garden <Deck 31>.
Church has left.

Rose Garden <Deck 31> [Gibraltar Station]

Spanning five decks, the ceiling of the garden is high enough to hold full-grown trees. There are indeed trees here, along with flowers in every imaginable color, grass in a hundred shades of green and blue. The lighting overhead is diffuse enough to nearly substitute for sunlight on an M-class world. The plants are well-tended and some effort has been made to make the layout pleasing to the eye. The sounds of bird calls fill the air, insects chosen for their compatibility with the plants here flit about, and there are small mammals about as well, again chosen for their compatibility with the plants and each other. With the scents of life and growing things surrounding one, it almost seems like a park on an M-class world, save for the Promenade walkways one can sometimes spot high above.

This corner of the garden is filled with rose bushes displaying a wide variety of the delicate flower. There are pinks and reds, whites and yellows--even a few rare and carefully tended black and purple varieties. The bushes and the white stone paths through them are laid out in such a way as to show off the best points of each variety, leading one through a display of sheer beauty. The scent of the roses fills the air here and is quite unmistakable. There are archways made of trellis upon which bushes have been encouraged to climb, and areas of green grass where benches have been placed to allow one to rest and take in a particularly prized specimen. The entire area is surrounded by a stone wall, with gates leading back to the garden's pathways, as would befit a Terran rose garden of a bygone age.

Players:
Gwen Hawkins
Thomas Church

Once through the gate, Gwen kicks it shut behind her and drags Thomas a little further in, ignoring any attempts to question her further for now. Once she's satisfied no one else is around, she lets go of his arm and turns to him. "I will explain this, but do not interrupt me again." She has a demeanor Thomas has likely never seen before--the demeanor of, well, a Captain. "When we knew each other, I was a Lieutenant. In Starfleet Intelligence. Gwenevere Abrams was a cover, as was the ship, the merchandise... all of it. I was reporting to Captain Merriweather on Starbase 14."

Church is still extremely agitated, "But then what was I, some sort of pawn in your act?! Was there ever anything between us?! Was any of it real?"

Gwen closes her eyes. "You were real, yes. I wasn't supposed to get involved with you. Merriweather was alright with it, at first, because he thought it meant nothing, but... it did. I loved you. Really, I did. But... it was a mistake. It didn't compromise my mission, but it could have, and when I had to leave, I couldn't tell you where I was going or why. I didn't even have time to say goodbye."

"Why couldn't you contact me after that? After you got out of Intelligence? I mean, we could've started back up. We actually had something, Gwen..." Thomas pauses, a mild sneer on his face, "I mean, Captain."

Gwen flinches visibly at that. "I didn't leave Intelligence. No one leaves Intelligence. I went back into uniform, but only to go undercover work tracking down S... tracking down traitors. When I finally got a command position, it was with the caveat that I never reveal any of my classified knowledge and continue to do missions for Intelligence when they needed. The difference became that my ship did the missions. Who do you think they tap for the big black ops missions? Random ships, random Captains? Unless it's the Enterprise I'd bet latinum to lead at least one of the command staff's Intel-trained. And beyond that, my mission at Starbase 14, what I did before, what I did after... it's still all classified. People making the connection that I was Gwenevere Abrams could jeopardize people's careers, their lives, the safety of the whole damn Federation. And what I'm doing here, well, I'm the Captain of this starbase, I wanted to get away from the damn war... but some of what I'm doing here is still Intel bullshit. They won't let go of me until I die. How could we have 'started back up?' You think people wouldn't have noticed? Your being here is something your mother pushed, but if I'd contacted you..." She sighs, closing her eyes again. "So many damn secrets. I'm sorry."

Church is visibly shaking, whether from anger or from grief isn't clear. "I-I can't take this... It's t-too much. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come here. Perhaps I can get on a transport back home and get reassigned somewhere, I might have to do it under Mom's nose, but anything's better than here. I... Good-bye." He walks off back out of the garden.

Hawkins watches Church leave and sighs, shaking her head. "Probably better that he go..." With that, she heads back out of the garden.

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