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Behind the Veil
A Cozy Dinner

Main Sickbay <Deck 16> [Gibraltar Station]

The Main Patient Ward of Sickbay is an ovular room, wider at the aft than at the fore. The main door is in the aft wall, and directly to its right is a wall unit with receptacle for PADDs and a low counter upon which are arrayed fluid suspension modules. Against the starboard wall, next to the counter and receptacle, is the first of four biobeds, each in its own tiny alcove, heads to starboard, one by one to the aft wall. The biobeds are bluish gray, with a shimmering multicolored blanket on each which can keep a patient warm when necessary. At the head of each bed is a small monitor and a gray chair sits to the left, or aft, of each bed. To port of the main door is a large white display panel, beneath which is a counter supporting a variety of medical instruments. In the center of the room is a single biobed, bluish gray like the others, with that same blanket, but boasting a surgical support frame that creates an arch over the middle of the bed. The frame can be opened to allow patients to be moved if need be. Port, there is an alcove leading to an office and the Med Lab. Fore of this is a large bio display which can show the readouts of any patient in the ward. Fore again, there is a door leading to the Second Ward, next to which is a small utility cart and another counter with fluid suspension modules beneath a wall receptacle. The room is lit both by a large assembly over the central bed, which is in actually a sensor cluster meant to aid medical procedures, and also by lighting panels in the rest of the ceiling. Alert tracers line the wall above each biobed.

Caradoc Mason
Winifred Brooks

Mason is standing by a storage cabinet, shoulders drooped, holding a tissue scanner in his hands. Turning it over and over, he shakes his head and harrumphs, tossing it back into its rack. He stares at the rest of the instruments with distaste, and then activates the cabinet's closing mechanism. As the door opens, he looks over his shoulder as another Lieutenant walks in. Grabbing the edge of the cabinet with both hands, he looks down at his feet and lets his shoulders sag while expelling a long sigh. Pushing himself away, he turns and saunters over to the arrival. "Mason, Lieutenant. New Assistant Chief Medical Officer." He stands there and waits, expectantly, red rimmed eyes studying the woman's face.

Brooks has a stack of PADDs in one hand that she sets down to one side, removing her glasses and folding them atop the stack with the other. She replies in a slow drawl, "Lieutenant J.G. Winifred Brooks. Umm. I'm the Maelstrom Coordinator." She rolls her shoulders uncomfortably, looking around the Sickbay. "I don't s'pose you'd have time for a full physical workup?" There's a sense of nerves about her, but also of barely supressed excitement, like she's a bomb that'll go off at any moment.

Mason takes a deep breath, holds it for a moment, and expels it in a long sigh. "Of course, Lieutenant." Another sigh, and with a quick turn he walks towards the medical cabinet again. "Take a seat, pick a bed." he gestures absently. "What's wrong with you?" he asks, grabbing a scanner and a medical tricorder. "And what do you mean, Maelstrom Coordinator?" he asks gruffly, "Do you coordinate that Maelstrom out there?"

Brooks walks over to one of the beds, shaking her head as she goes. "Oh, no... I coordinate the project that researches the Maelstrom." She sits on the edge of the bed, peers down at her legs. "No, I just... need a full physical workup sent to Lieutenant T'Lyt. It's a... Vulcan custom... thing. Make sure I'm not sick, no genetic defects, that I'm strong, hardy, etc. Fertile." She clears her throat, frowns.

Mason harrumphs. "Vulcans," he says with a shake of his head. "I'm not sure if it's high standards, arrogance or racism, at times." Moving over to her and studying her with interest he says "So. You're marrying one, eh? Sure you've thought it through?" He fiddles with the tricorder and begins scanning her. "Head up." he says gruffly.

Brooks lifts her head a bit. "Actually, this is evidently something I'd go through if I was Vulcan, too." She holds still, though it's clear she wants to move. Jittery much? "I've thought it through. Commander Solvek and I... work well together." She raises an eyebrow. "I s'pose you've had bad dealings with Vulcans then?"

"Bad dealings? No, why?" he asks, a bit absently. "Any medical problems in your family history, etcetera etcetera?" This last is delivered in a slightly bored tone. "Whatever you can think of, I'm sure I'll want to hear." His eyes flick to the chronometer in the corner of the room.

Brooks shrugs. "I dunno, usually people who speak of Vulcans in such a manner have prejudices based on bad experiences. Probably due to Vulcans' outward standoffishness. Umm. No family history that I can think of, not recently enough to really matter anyhow. I got hit with a phaser in the shoulder a couple months back, but that's all in my files."

At the mention of a phaser wound the boredom in Mason's eyes alleviates a little. Moving the scanner over her shoulder regions, he adjusts the tricorder settings and mumbles offhandedly "No, no bad experiences. I like Vulcans." - a statement that may be seen as contradictory to his demeanours. "Oh, all history matters, Lieutenant," he says, staring into her eyes. "A Vulcan would tell you that." He returns his attention to scanning her, and adds "I'll check your files later." He scans her a little more, and says "A few questions. One, have you been pregnant before? Two, what happened to you that managed to net you several broken bones? And three, why in heavens name are you wearing eyeglasses in this day and age? Is it a new fashion thing amongst the young?" Deactivating the tricorder, he steps back and crosses his arms, staring at her, lower jaw working from side to side.

Brooks sighs, wrapping her arms around her waist. "Yes, I've been pregnant before. I lost the baby before I even really knew it was there. I wear eyeglasses because it's the best way to read without headaches 'cause I can't take the drugs to correct the problem. And... the broken bones... I..." She bites her lip. "I was on this planet. And... I got into a lot of fights." She shrugs. "Hardly matters. It's all in my record. Well. Okay. The crashing on the planet is on the record..." She's clearly holding something back, but she also looks like she wants to curl up into a ball and hide.

Mason sighs as well, and shrugs "Your business is your business... and the Counselor's. You're in perfect physical health, though the signs of your... colourful... past are there if any doctor looks hard enough." He grimaces for a moment, and adds "I hope you've told your beloved. Vulcans don't appreciate dishonesty in any form." He turns to walk over to the cabinet once more, saying "You don't need drugs for the glasses. Ever heard of surgery, Lieutenant?" Tossing the tools back into the cabinet and murmuring something about "requisitions" and "old trash", he moves back to the biobed. His countenance softens, changing his whole demeanour. "I'm giving you the all clear." The hard cynicism is back in a flash and he adds "You can leave now. I have things to do."

Brooks shrugs as she gets up. "We've mind-melded. He knows." Which is evidently a good enough answer for now. She goes to pick up her PADDs. "You mind sending that along to Lieutenant T'Lyt? I just want this damn thing out of the way. I have a lot to do, too." That supressed excitement returns to her attitude.

Mason harrumphs in acknowledgement as he moves over to another biobed and leans over the display. He says nothing more, and no indication that he even acknowledges her presence.

"Thanks." Brooks makes sure she has everything, carefully puts the glasses in a pocket, and then grins to herself suddenly. She's practically bouncing on her way out the door.

901 - Senior Staff Quarters <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. There is a work station to the left of the doors, with desk and display panels, a maroon swivel chair providing seating. A white sofa, large enough for three, is placed under the windows slightly to the right, facing the door. A small fern sits upon the window ledge, its twin resting 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. There is a replicator and table ringed with four chairs to the right, opposite the desk. Left is a 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 cyan trimmed with light gray that matches the wall paneling. Soft lighting comes from panels in the ceiling, and there are twin vertical alert tracers on either side of the door.

Winifred Brooks

Brooks walks on in and starts doing things as if it's her room without really thinking. She removes her jacket and folds it over the back of a chair, then goes to the replicator. Turns to Solvek. "What do you want to eat, hon?"

Solvek, too, removes his jacket, and places it on a peg near the door. "I was hoping to see how my palette reacted to the introduction of 'Italian food.' So if you have any preference from that style, you may also replicate me a plate of the same." He goes to his his terminal and begins copying information onto a PADD.

Brooks stands at the replicator and ponders for a moment. She finally shrugs and orders two plates of cheese lasagna with two glasses of chianti. She turns with a tray that she takes over to the table. Knowing how much Solvek's been eating lately, there's even salad and breadsticks. "Here you go... the perfect Italian meal, I think..."

Solvek nods as the terminal finishes copying, picks up the PADD, and heads for the table. Sitting down, he looks at his meal. "It smells... tasteful. Its appearance, however, is quite odd. Is it a pasta, or some form of meat itself?"

Brooks chuckles as she sits down. "Italian food is less about the presentation than the taste. It's layers of rectangular pasta with cheese and sauce in between, baked. It's good, basically, and there's salad and breadsticks to go with. The dressing on the salad is just oil and herbs... pretty light, to balance out the heaviness of the lasagna."

Solvek nods and looks again at his food. Using his fork, he cuts off a piece. He looks at it more closely before eating. He nods, and swallows. "That is quite acceptable. I have copied all the information we have on both the object and the Iconian civilization to this PADD." He slides the PADD towards Fred. "Take a look over it and see if you can think of anything else." He looks to the red liquid in his glass. "I take it this is a Terran alcoholic beverage?"

Brooks has already dug into her salad, munching quite contentedly. "Hmm?" She pulls the PADD closer, peering it over. "Hmmm. Umm, yes, it is. Chianti. It goes well with the lasagna... compliments the flavor of the tomatos or something." She waves her free hand. "This is all fine. Just need to compare it to the object, see if the scans match. The mettalurgical analysis of the object should be long done by now..."

Solvek nods and, noticing that Brooks is eating her salad first, turns to his own. He pulls a PADD from his pocket and looks it over. "There seems to be a few elements that are unidentifiable in the makeup of the probe. However, from what we do know, the probe entered the Maelstrom approximately 200,000 years ago. That is the right time period." He takes a sip of his drink and makes a slight expression acknowledging his approval of its flavor.

Brooks nods again and keeps mulling over the PADD while she eats, taking sips of her wine from time to time. She's finished her salad and is starting in on her lasagna when she blinks and flips back to something. Blinks again, then taps at the PADD, holding it out for Solvek to look at. "Here... that look familiar?" The picture on the PADD is of a pattern of lights on a terminal found on Iconia.

Solvek looks at the PADD for a moment. "What am I looking at here?"

Brooks taps the PADD and brings up a picture of the object found in the Maelstrom. The patterns of light are identical. Another tap, and they start changing--in the same pattern. She smiles triumphantly.

Solvek watches the images for a moment. At the sight of the second, his eyes seem to light up. "Fred, this is exactly what we were looking for. This is proof that the object inside the Maelstrom was of Iconian origin." He taps a few more buttons on his own PADD and his expression brightens even further. "I just finished extrapolating a backwards analysis of the isotopes contained in the metals of the object... accounting for the millenia of radiation, this is what I found." He hands her his PADD as the door chimes. "Enter," he calls.

Fred peers at the PADD she was just handed. "You're kidding. No, you're not kidding. This stuff can only be found on Iconia... oh! Oh, this just confirms it..." She grins broadly, looking like she wants to get up and dance around the room.

A small smile appears on Solvek's face. "I believe we have found where our interesting object originated." Turning to the door, "Mr. Danley. To what do we owe this visitation?"

Danley steps into the quarters and heads over to one of the small twin chairs. He plops down in thing and appears to shrink a bit, "Sorry for interrupting your all's dinner. But... Bunni went to bed. I guess I kept her up to late last night. Anyway, I kinda wanted to talk to someone and I was curious as to what Bunni told Winn... uhh... Fred. But if it's a bad time I could come back later."

Brooks blinks as she turns from the table, though it's hard to contain her excitement. "Not much, really... just that y'all had a 'surreal' talk and that you had some feelings, and issues concerns those feelings. She was real vague. Wanted to know if anyone else knew, about the issues. And that she felt like she had to... start over. But, that's it, really..." She tilts her head a bit in curiousity.

Solvek's smile is still evident on his face. He idly continues eating, and allows Danley and Brooks to have their conversation, knowing that if his input is neccesary he will add it.

Danley lays his head back on the chair, "Start over? I wonder what that's all about. I wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut about the whole thing."

Brooks's eyebrows raise. "What whole thing? I swear... people around here are so damn cryptic... you mean whatever was making you think Admiral Church is Section 31 or whatever?"

Solvek's left eyebrow rises to about the height of the ceiling at this comment. "I am curious as to what brought about this notion for both of you." He sets down his fork and looks intently at both Danley and Brooks.

Danley scratches his scalp a bit, "She may not be Section 31. But if she's not I'm surprised they haven't recruited her yet. She's underhanded, sneaky, evil, all those good little Section 31 job requirements. I mean to blow up an entire ship to cover her tracks. And then to schedule a visit to make sure she's got all the evidence eliminated. I'd lay you odds she tries to convince her son to spy on Hawk while she's here. Luckily he's so angry at her he's not going to listen to anything she tells him. And as for what brought about this notion? It's the only thing that makes sense in the whole bombing thing. Either her or Crawford has to be behind it cause they're the only ones with the rank to do some of the things. And we all know it's not Crawford. God I hope it's not Crawford. That... that would be bad."

Brooks puts down her own fork, peering at Danley. "And here I thought it was just you being drunk... that's crazy. Everyone knows Section 31's gone. Right?" She looks to Solvek... suddenly seeming almost desperate to be told she's right.

Solvek's eyebrow drops and a grave expression appears on his face. "Computer, secure door." He runs a hand through his hair and sighs. "I am sorry to inform you, Fred, but what Mr. Danley says is true. Section 31, however silent Starfleet Command is about it, is still around, and quite active. For the moment, their interest seems to be directed towards this sector. Their intentions are currently unknown. As for Admiral Church being a member... that is completely speculation. However, I can assure you Admiral Crawford is not." His eyes narrow as they look at Danley. Not in a threatening sense, but in a sense of realization.

Danley shakes his head a bit, "So what is Bunni starting over with?"

Brooks stares at Solvek for a long moment, looking almost... hurt. "So that's what you..." She sighs, glances away. "No, Fred, that ain't fair." She stares at her wine glass for a long moment. "She said her impressions of you... everything she knew up until last night... all had to change for some reason. Didn't say why." Fred drains her glass in one gulp and gets up to go get more.

Solvek's frown intensifies. "I am sorry you had to find this out in such a manner, Fred. It was not my intention to withhold information from you; however, my position as a Commander had to be put my position as your fiance in this matter. I can only hope that you understand." Solvek looks almost vulnerable in his current state. He turns to Danley. "I do not mean to intrude, however, it would seem to me that likes both as you are both a bartender and who you are. The only advice I can give is to allow her to make her own choice as to what she does." He leans back in his chair and looks to his food.

Danley turns to look at Brooks a bit confused, "That's what I what?" Then he glances over to Solvek with a grin, "Yeah... I know... I know. Course part of me hopes she just wants to be friends. When the shit hits the fan people are going to get hurt. I don't want to have to make another decision like I did with Steph. And if something happens to me I don't want people left behind. Course, then again Bunni isn't interested in anything long term or permanent. It may not affect her like what I would expect either way."

Brooks stares at Solvek as he speaks, eyes narrowing. It's clear the brain behind those eyes is working a mile a minute as usual, and that she's not liking the conclusion. She tears her focus away as Danley speaks, pulling the new wine glass from the replicator. "I didn't mean you. I mean Solvek. He can... hide information from me, in mind-meld." She sighs and stares down at the glass cradled in her hands. "Y'know... everything ends. Everyone dies sometime. Everyone. Some day, the entire universe will collapse back in on itself... or else it'll all drift apart and the stars'll die and it'll be too cold for anything to live... but either way, everything will be gone. Doesn't mean we don't do anything in the meantime. What's the point of living if you're gonna be alone the whole time? Yeah, you'll lose people. And that hurts. But... y'know... at least you're feeling something. At least your life meant something. At least you were happy for a while." She takes a sip of her wine. "I think you'd be surprised, about Bunni, too."

Solvek's eyes seem to gain a distant look for a moment. He turns to Danley. "I can tell you one thing: you and I share a common experience. Being Vulcan gives me certain insight into other people. Ms. Aventino's feelings for you are more than purely physical. She may not understand that, but anyone who observes the two of you together can clearly see there is more to that interaction. I was fortunate enough to act upon those actions and alleviate some of the suffering that I was experiencing. I know now that if faced with the same situation as before, if the same outcome occured, I would still have the happiness that I feel today. My advice: do not walk away from something that could be because of something that has already passed."

Danley nods a bit, "Yeah, that's what I thought too. Which is why I had to tell Bunni... about my crazy conspiracy ideas. I didn't want her realizing after a couple of months that I was a complete nut. People should be aware of that going into the situation I suppose."

Brooks just stands there next to the replicator cradling her glass, watching the conversation now, rather than participating.

Solvek nods. "How much does Ms. Aventino know? In other words, should I alert Gwen to that knowledge or not?"

Danley glances over to Brooks and coughs, "Knows? Well I understand she started out in Engineering before moving to Ops. Some sort of battle field promotion or something. So I imagine Bunni has a large area of expertise in various subjects. But I would assume all of that is in her personnel file?"

Solvek's eyes seem to concentrate on Danley for a moment.

Solvek thinks to Danley, "If neccesary, we can use this means of communication, however, everything I know will be divulged to Fred within the next few hours, including my assumptions regarding you."

Danley blinks as he stares at the Vulcan, "I thought you were half Human. How the hell are you doing that? And if you're going to tell her your assumptions about me why don't ya tell me first? Besides thinking too hard gives me a headache."

Brooks smirks and says to her glass: "The best half of Humanity, evidently..."

Solvek says, "My Human blood does not hinder my telepathic abilities, Mr. Danley. Vulcan psionic abilities are largely a matter of practice and discipline. Now, I will restate my question: should Gwen be alerted to what Ms. Aventino knows or not?"

Danley sighs, "Hawk is going to end up having some talk with me about how a secret batcave isn't secret if Alfred keeps letting women come down into it isn't she?"

Solvek's eyebrow rises again. "While I am aware of the reference, I am not entirely certain of your answer. If I need to be blunt... Gwen has alerted me to the presence of a Starfleet Intelligence operative aboard the station. From your actions and from what I can observe, I believe you are that operative. I need to know how much of your status and of your knowledge Ms. Aventino is aware."

Danley sighs again, "They're never going to give me another undercover assignment. I just can't keep my mouth shut. Yeah, that's me. Unless they put another one on the station other than Gwen and me. And yes, I told Bunni."

The wineglasses the replicators give out are, unfortunately, of the breakable kind. Red wine gets all over the floor and Fred's boots, but she doesn't seem to notice at first, staring at both men with her mouth open. "Wait... you... Captain... you... you can't be, you're too..." She looks to Solvek rather desperately.

"I believe the term you are looking for is 'idiotic,' however, Mr. Danley is far from that. He is, as most Starfleet Intelligence operatives, a very convincing and very able actor. The Captain as well. However, in a different manner." Solvek turns to Danley. "You would be surprised at how much Gwen and I are able to keep under wraps, as it were. I believe that, if you wish for such, that your time with Starfleet Intelligence may not come to an end after this mission."

Danley chuckles a bit, "It's hard work being this idiotic. But yeah, that's part of why I got that holodeck program. If it still existed then it could have be used against you. I wanted to see how you'd respond. How far something like that would push you. If it could be used to as a possible means of recruitment into something like section 31. I wanted to see Church's reaction when I accused his mom. Especially with his closeness to Hawk. I'm just looking for possible victims. But what I'd really love to know is how the Borg play into all of this. Course, I've been to busy with Bunni the last few days to actually do my job."

Brooks has knelt down to pick up the glass shards, but looks up at Danley and frowns. "You... wanted to see how far I could be pushed? With that? Threats to..." She doesn't seem to realize she's clenched her hand into a fist until she looks down at it and notices the blood flowing from it. "Well, that was stupid. Solvek. D'you mind getting something to put pressure on this?" She's surprisingly calm at having just slit her palm open--there's no hint of shock in her voice. "What the hell do the Borg have to do with anything?"

Solvek turns and a look of shock passes over his face. He quickly stands and rushes to his bedroom. Emerging from it, he carries two things: one, a medical device of some sort, the other a PADD. He rushes to Brooks. "Please hold out your hand, flat. As for your question, I believe Mr. Danley is referring to the Borg technology that was found in the implanted circuits in the Antarean bombers' brain stems."

Danley watches Brooks with an odd bit of curiosity and nods, "Yes, the implants. I haven't figured that out. I just can't wrap my brain around it. Nor can I really understand why the holoprogram causes you to react like this. But I suppose it's none of my business. Are you ok?"

Brooks holds out her hand, revealing the shard of glass buried within the palm. Opening her hand makes the blood flow more but she hardly seems to notice. "I'm fine. Solvek used to be a medical officer, I'm sure he's seen far worse. As for the program... Ed, I am the only survivor of the USS Montana, an Intrepid-class starship that crashed on Menora V. A cadet out of a crew of 140. I survived the crash, the infighting of my crewmates, local patrols, an attack by someone I thought was a friend, being captured and escaping, and 8 months alone in a desert. I survived, and went back into Starfleet after all that. I never told them anything about where I'd come from, and I never became what they wanted me to become. I don't think Section 31 could hold a candle to that. As for the program... I was put up on a block when I was captured, and sold, for a local family to push around and use as they would. I don't like the idea of some image of me being sold, especially not to be used in... that sort of manner. It reminds me of too much." She shrugs her free shoulder. "Those people were invaded and forced to reform, partly 'cause Starfleet came looking for us, so I guess it's all good in the end. But some things... just make me angry. At any rate... y'don't really know people on first glance, eh?" She looks to Solvek, perhaps to explain the implants.

Solvek pulls the shard of glass from Brooks' hand, then quickly runs the medical device over the cut on her palm and then on her fingers, mending them instantly. "I would advise you not to use that hand for at least a day. The pain will not be nearly as intense now that I have repaired the damage." He turns and walks over to Danley. Holding out the PADD, "This is the message I want encrypted into that program and sent back. You may look over it if you like, however, I would advise you not to change it." He goes and sits in his chair. "The implants, from what I have been able to discern, were backwards engineered from Borg technology, we would assume by Section 31. They were placed in the bombers' brain stems as a form of monitoring and possibly control. When the bombers were about to reveal their true employers, the implants shut down the brain stem, causing death."

Danley nods, "Well the program wasn't my best work. Ya gotta remember I didn't really know much about you when I heard about the program. I'd have better ways at this point. Course I suppose that's true of all of us now." Taking the PADD he stands, "Well I guess Bunni is getting recruited into this little group whether she wanted to or not. But at least she'll have someone to talk to about me. Myself I should go so you can finish your dinner."

Brooks peers at Solvek as he expounds on the Borg... stuff, but doesn't ask yet. "Why's Bunni getting recruited? What little group?"

Danley heads for the door, "Oh come on Fred. Duty comes first for people like us... at least most of the time. Solvek is going to tell Hawk I told Bunni and he told you. Hawk's going to be mad and more then likely yell at me or something. But then she's going to realize that if the 5 of us know all this and know about Section 31. Then we're all going to work together. By the time it's all said and done we're going to have a secret little group working on the problem. I imagine T'cra... umm T'lyt will eventually get drug in as well though I could be wrong. And when Church's mommy shows up she's not going to know what hit her."

Solvek looks to Danley. "I am not entirely certain that you know all of Gwen's plans. Just because individuals know of the current situation does not mean that they have the training or the desire to handle this situation. They will be expected to stay silent, but will not be asked to do any more for the moment. Your position stays the same, as does my own. However, I do want you to tell the Captain what Ms. Aventino knows. I believe the repercussions, if any, will be less severe if you talk to her directly. As for Fred, I was already given authorization to divulge information to her due to the nature of Vulcan marriages. I did enjoy your visit, however... eventful it was. It showed a confidence in me that I respect."

Brooks frowns at Danley and Solvek both, muttering, "I'm just a damn scientist" under her breath before kneeling down to finish picking up the shards of glass.

Danley nods, "Thanks for listening. And I'll talk to Hawk in a bit. If you need me, ya know where to find me."

Solvek nods as the door closes. He turns to Brooks. "I am sorry that you had to be put in such a situation, but I believe you knowing what may happen will better prepare you when or if it does." He walks over to assist her in picking up the glass shards.

Brooks nods, focusing on what she's doing. "What's going on, Solvek? I mean, really. Don't lie. Please." She doesn't look at him... keeps picking up the glass.

"I assure you that I have never lied to you. I have omitted various pieces of information, but that is all." Solvek helps Fred to her feet once the glass is picked up and disposed of. He motions to the couch. "What is actually happening is exactly what I have divulged here: Section 31 does have an interest in this sector. We do not know what that interest is, only that it exists. The bombings on the station were their doing, and they may have other plans." He sits on the couch.

Brooks sighs as she moves toward the couch, curling up on the far end. "And what's your involvement in all of this? Who is this 'we'... You and the Captain?"

"'We' are members of a group of Starfleet officers that oppose Section 31. The current members on this station are myself, Gwen, and Admiral Crawford. I do not think you should look upon this as a betrayal, however, if you wish to dismiss discussion of this matter for a later time, I will understand." Solvek leans closer to her, as if trying to get her to open up.

Brooks sighs. "I'm sorry... I don't think that, really... I just... y'know how it goes. Parts of your mind tell you things are happening all over again when they ain't." She closes her eyes against tears. "I... I should go..." Fred whispers, half-moving to get up, though she clearly doesn't entirely want to.

"No. You shouldn't. Regardless of how good I am at keeping my emotions hidden, I did, in fact, miss you last night. Your presence while I sleep has become a comfort I do not wish to lose." Solvek sounds as if he is about to cry as well. "However, if you wish to leave, I will not force you to stay. I only ask... please."

Brooks shakes her head. "You don't want me crying all over you..." She keeps moving as if she's not entirely in control of her own actions, slowly getting up, tears starting to spill over and down her cheeks. "Wouldn't be much of a comfort. I'm sorry."

Solvek reaches out and gently takes Fred's arm. "If that is what it will take to cause you to stay, then I will gladly have you 'crying all over me.' It is not your actions, merely your presence that is a comfort to me." He gently pulls her toward him. "I want to comfort you as well."Something seems to break and Fred lets her body fall back onto the couch, where she burrows into Solvek's embrace and hides her face in his chest. She doesn't speak... just cries, clutching onto him like she's afraid he might melt away if she doesn't.

Solvek merely holds her and allows her to cry, gently stroking her hair as she does. He leans down and whispers, "Let's go to sleep, shall we?"

Brooks sobs, "I can't believe I told him all of that... stupid... nosy..." She takes a deep breath and straightens, pulling away a bit. "Not yet. I want to go to bed... but not to sleep. Please. I... don't understand why, I just..." She gives up trying to explain and ust kisses him.

Solvek returns the kiss and after releasing, nods. "Very well, then. We have a breakthrough to celebrate anyhow. Here is to scientific discovery." He scoops her off the couch and carries her to his bedroom, closing the door as they enter.

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