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The Price of Freedom, Part Two
Making Up

Corridor <Deck 37> [Gibraltar Station]

This corridor is octagonal in shape, the walls rising at a slight angle to the floor before staying straight for a time and then angling back in toward the ceiling. The corridor curves slightly, the ends going out of sight. The walls are made of light gray paneling, between which horizontal alert tracers run. Behind the panels are access junctions and emergency supplies. Occasionally there is a large readout panel set into the wall, which provides information on the base and where facilities are located. Doors are set into the corridor regularly, each sitting back in its own alcove rimmed with tan bulkheads that make ribs in the corridor. At the bottom of the walls and along the ceiling are lighting panels. The floor is carpeted in a gray runner trimmed with light tan.


Thomas Church

The scene cuts to Thomas stepping out of the turbolift on Deck 37. He is still fuming from the fight. His intentions are to look at his offices just in case he can't leave this base.

The deck is still somewhat in ruins, down toward the diplomatic area. There's no more smoke, but as one walks that way it becomes clear the area's still being repaired, with exposed wiring and panels here and there, engineers fixing things. The further one goes, the worse it gets.

As Thomas walks down the corridor his anger fades and seems to be replaced by remorse. He whispers, "Holy... How many people died... I can't imagine dealing with..." Various other phrass of the same nature seem to be flowing from him on instinct.

As Church walks down the corridor, and nears the area where there's still piled debris, he comes across a contingent of security guards. One of them steps up, holding out a hand. "I'm sorry, sir, but you can't go any further. This area is restricted." Well, drat. The diplomatic offices are down this way.

Church stops. "Wait, how am I supposed to get to my office? What happened here?" After a pause he explains his position, "I'm Lieutenant Commander Thomas Church. Diplomatic Officer."

The security officer shakes his head. "I'm very sorry, sir, but this area is restricted to essential security personnel and command staff until Commander Volchenkov's investigation is concluded. I know how you feel, sir, it's displaced a lot of people." He pauses a moment, then says, "I suppose I can tell you this much... a bomb of some sort was detonated in the Antarean Embassy, killing everyone who was there... 28 people in all. Some of the other offices got damaged as well. This was right before the two bombs up in the docking bay." The man sighs, shakes his head again. "It doesn't make any sense... so many people dying so fast... 150 Starfleet officers; there were that many on the first ship I posted to. But the Captain was right in her speech at the memorial. They died doing what they wanted to do, and we'll go on."

Church's face shows how upset he is at this information. "I see. I will let you get back to your investigation, then. Have secondary offices been set up for the Diplomatic officers? Wait, never mind. I'll find out from my superior officer where I am to go. I'm sorry to have held you up this long. Good day, Lieutenant."

The man shakes his head. "It's no problem, sir. We're just guarding this corridor. Have a good day."

With that, Thomas walks off.

(Cut to the Captain's quarters)

Captain's Quarters 900 <Deck 9> [Gibraltar Station]

These quarters are spacious and comfortable, and of fairly good size. The main room is a rectangle with the door centered across from a bank of tall, straight windows. A white sofa, large enough for three, is placed under the windows slightly to the left, facing the door. A small fern rests on the window ledge, and a bright bouquet of flowers sit upon a smoked glass coffee table in front of the sofa. Twin chairs of the same plush style as the sofa complete the seating arrangement. To the left is an archway leading to a separate dining area, smoked glass table ringed with four dark chairs. There is a replicator in that room, and a lamp hangs low above the table to provide a softer mood. To the right of the main doors is a maroon chair before a large panel that can display anything needed at will. Next to the panel is a painting of a nebula, swirling greens, golds, blues, and reds. Beyond this is the door leading to the bedroom. The bed is large enough for two, with maroon comforter and gray pillows. There is a closet and cupboards for the occupant's belongings, and a bathroom that boasts not only a shower but a full tub as well. The carpeting throughout the quarters is deep red trimmed with gray, the walls paneled in yellow. Soft lighting comes from panels in the ceiling, and there are twin vertical alert tracers on either side of the door.

Gwen Hawkins
Thomas Church

The Captain's quarters have definitely been given a personal touch. There are knick-knacks and art objects from across the galaxy on the shelves, a veritable forest of bamboo on the window ledge, a couple of knit blankets thrown on chairs. It's not as tidy as one might expect, right now. There is a uniform jacket on one of the chairs, some sort of pink... something crumpled up on another, the remains of two meals on the table--which is otherwise covered in PADDs. The rest of the uniform is on the floor of the bedroom, but the bed is immaculate, as if it hasn't been touched in a while. Which is likely hasn't.

Gwen Hawkins is watering her bamboo when the door chimes. She straightens and calls out, "Enter."

The door opens on Thomas Church, holding a bouquet of white roses in one arm and a box in the other. He watches the door open and takes a single step in the room. He notices the clutter of the room and assumes it is because of the current situation. "Look, Gwen, I was a jerk. I didn't take into account the current situation and your position. I should've been more considerate and listened to what you were saying. Can you forgive me?"

Gwen stands there with watering can in hand, blinking. She sets the can down on the coffee table after a moment, looks around. "Ugh. Qu'vatlh. I need to clean this place up." She walks over, relieves Thomas of the flowers. Since the couch is the only piece of furniture that doesn't have anything on it, she gestures to it. "Sit." She goes to the replicator, gets a vase and water, puts the flowers in it, and turns to him. "Thank you, for the flowers. And the apology. But before you give me that box, we should probably have a talk."

Church relaxes slightly. "This is never a good start," he mutters under his breath as he takes a seat. He looks around the room at the various knick-knacks and eyes the pink thing suspiciously. "Impressive collection you have. And when did you learn Klingon?"

"On Qo'noS. Oh, a year before I met you." Gwen clears the table of PADDs and sets the roses down on it, taking the dishes to be recycled. "I understand more than I can pronounce. I'm best with the curses. They're handy... get the point across better than human words. 'Qu'vatlh' means, literally, 'a hundred tasks.' As in, I have way to freaking much to do. Just, a lot stronger." She sighs and sits down on the other end of the couch. Time to stop beating around the bush. "Look, Thomas... I've been with a lot of men in my life. A lot. It happens, when you can't give out your real name. You don't get attached. You, I got attached to. It was a mistake, it shouldn't have happened, but it did." She takes a deep breath, lets it out. "Since I went back into uniform I've been able to stay in one post longer, give my true name, be my true self. I... met someone. Jason Rimes. We hit it off, we fell in love. He asked me to marry him; I said yes."

"Oh I get it. He's here too... That's what the random lingerie on the chair is and why we're having this 'talk'." Thomas uses 'finger quotes' to emphasize the last word. "I guess I should probably g--"

Hawkins puts out a hand to grasp Thomas' arm. "For the love of all that's holy, would you shut up and listen to me? For one thing, that's not lingerie, it's a leotard and tights. Ballet practice clothing. For another..." She takes a deep breath. "Jason is dead. He was killed a year ago, in an assault on a Ketracel White factory. He was my Chief of Security, he planned the attack, I couldn't... I couldn't order him to stay. So, no, there's no one, there's been no one since that, but... you should know. And you should know the person I was before was an act. I know you think you want to pick up where we left off, but what do you know about me? Who are my parents? Where did I learn ballet? What department have I been serving in since I went back into uniform? Thomas, how do you even know you'll like me?"

Thomas sits and thinks about this for a moment. His expression is thoughtful, and he is silent for some time. "I suppose the answer would come from something you said out in the garden and something you just said here. I'll like you, and probably love you because you loved me and became attached to me, regardless of what your orders were and what you were told not to do. You became attached to me. Out of everyone you could have attached yourself to, you chose me. So yeah, I don't know much about the real you, but hell, I'm willing to give it a shot." He holds out the box. "I've been saving these for someone special I knew on Starbase 14, Gwen Abrams. She's gone now, but I think you deserve them just as much as she did."

Gwen sighs. "Men are so incorrigably stupid when it comes to women. Doesn't seem to matter the race, the age... they just get illogical about everything." She takes the box nonetheless. "I am your Captain, you know. And there's a Vulcan who outranks you that'll probably shove you through the ringer if you so much as look at me crossways. You sure about this?"

Church feigns fright. "Oh no, big brother complex from a Vulcan, what am I gonna do?" He smiles, "Gwen, would I have come here with your favorite flowers--those are your favorite still, right?--and a box of Delavian chocolates if I wasn't sure about this?"

Gwen quirks a brow. "Like I said. Men can be highly illogical when it comes to women." Pause. "Delavian chocolates? Really?" She opens the box and comments, "A lie is easier when mixed with a truth. It's easier to be excited about flowers you really do like." On seeing what's in the box, she sighs. "Alright, alright. We can try this again. If you decide you don't like me, you can back out of it."

"Doubt that'll happen, but deal. You sure are talking about logic an awful lot. I think this Vulcan you talk about is getting to you." Thomas stands up and looks a bit awkwardly at Gwen, "So... I am not entirely certain on what to do here, should I hug you, kiss you... umm ask you back to my place, how're we treating this. Clean slate?"

Gwen stands. "We're already at my place, and my bed is bigger. I haven't slept in three days, so it's probably lonely." She wraps her arms around his neck. "So, first, you kiss me."

"So right, clean slate it isn't. So you mind if I exhaust you into sleeping a bit?" Without waiting for a reply, Thomas kisses her.

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