(( Somewhere in the Kaleth Woods, Tibro ))
Moving as quickly as they dared considering the injured officer, they quickly found the hiding spot Dels’an had mentioned. It wasn’t much, but it would serve for a short while. It definitely wasn’t defensible for long, but it would keep them from the eyes of the searchers. Of course, their sensors would likely detect them anyway. Still, something was better than nothing.
oO Well, Little Bean. Quite the predicament we find ourselves in, isn’t it. Let’s hope the cavalry arrives in the nick of time just like in those old Earth stories. Oo
Thoran: Well it is not much, but it will suffice for the moment. Mister McKnight, double check the rear of the cave.
It wasn’t a particularly large cave with the taller members of the group having to crouch down slightly to avoid hitting their heads on the ceiling. Serala was just grateful to be out of the cold. Of course, it was still cold in the cave, but it was somewhat warmer than being outside.
McKnight: Yes, sir.
Dels’an: The Siriss family live not too far from here. If Commander Revix’s plan, whatever it is, works to disrupt the assault team we could make it to their farm and hide there. They would have plenty of space, equipment, and a first-aid kit. And I know them well enough to know they wouldn’t ask too many questions. Tharen and Mara are good people.
Thoran: It sounds like our only option at the moment.
McKnight: Hopefully they have communications that can call Atlantis.
Serala: Just a nice warm fire would be enough right now.
Taking her cue from the Captain and Amuro, Serala slumped down against a wall of the cave. She was exhausted, cold, and emotionally wiped out. Despite her best intentions, only one thing would come to her mind. And she just wished she could forget it.
(( Flashback ))
Serala: STEVOOOOKKKKK!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!
McKnight: Serala! :: He tried to steady her. :: What's wrong? Cap'n!
oO Stevok. Stevok. You can’t leave me. Not now. Little Bean needs a father. Come back... Oo
Thoran: Commander Serala, what has happened?
Serala: Captain….Stevok...He’s dead.
McKnight: Look, whatever is going on. Whatever you saw...you need to stay on point. You can't check up on your husband right now. Right now, you gotta worry about yourself and the little guy in here. :: He tapped her belly. ::
Thoran: Amuro is right. I promise you Serala, once we are out of this, we will find out what happened with Stevok.
Dels’an / Nehir: Responses
Revix: We’re in danger, Commander there is time to grieve later when we aren’t within the possibility of dying.
They were right. They were in danger. She needed to get collected. They had to move.
oO Time to be a Romulan, Serala. Time to be a Starfleet Officer. Be a grieving wife later. Oo
Serala: Yes, you are correct. We need to move. I...will be okay enough for now. Duty first. :: turning to Commander Revix :: Mnei’sahe. I can fall apart later.
Revix: h'levreinnye will always endure even if it’s through someone else. :: He looked away. ::
(( Present ))
oO What did he mean by that? There will never be anyone to take Stevok’s place. Oo
Dels’an: How long did the Romulans plan to stay behind? Are they-
Where was he anyway? They shouldn’t have split up like that. The sound of a distant explosion drew her attention back.
Thoran: That did not sound good.
McKnight: It didn't sound like an accident.
Serala: I hope that was just the Commander and not our pursuers.
Dels’an: Oh please don’t lead them right back here…
Well, she had to agree with that assessment as well. If he brought them here, she doubted they would stand much of a chance. Just at that moment, Revix entered the cave carrying a supply of weapons.
Revix: I have gifts if anyone is interested.
Serala: Where did you get those, Commander?
Jarol: ::In near-unison with Dels’an:: No, drop the weapons!
Dels’an: ::In near-unison with Jarol:: Get those weapons out of here!
Weapons went flying everywhere, but not fast enough. One of the Romulan soldiers didn’t get his away fast enough and it exploded killing him. One more casualty of this whole nasty business. Where was it going to end? Problem was, it was likely to attract the attention of their pursuers.
Jarol: Our adversaries will be here to investigate that any minute.
Dels’an: You could have told me the plan. ::Defensively:: The 42nd Special Forces Division have bio-sensors installed in all of their weapons and equipment to keep it from being commandeered by the enemy. Any unauthorized use sets the power cells to overload. I didn’t know which company they’d sent after us until I saw the insignia on that rifle.
Serala: It’s a good thing you did, Admiral.
McKnight: We need to move. I'm detecting multiple contacts. They'll be on us soon.
Jarol: Commander Thoran, I will need you to take over moving the injured Commander Faris.
Thoran: Of Course
Dels’an: Do you plan to fill the rest of us in on your plan, Agent Jarol?
Jarol: We can’t remain here after that explosion. We will not be able to completely disguise our movements. However, there is enough cover to keep them from discerning our numbers. If I make my way south from here and can entice them to follow me, the path to the Siriss’ farm will be clear. You will have to use the time wisely. It will not take them long to catch up with me and recognize the diversion.
Serala couldn’t believe what she had just heard. Such an act was to be expected of a Romulan. It was mnei’sahe. Or even for a Starfleet officer. Duty and sacrifice. But she had not gotten that kind of impression from the Valcarians. For him to do this caused her to re-evaluate her opinion of them.
Thoran: Surely there must be another way? We managed to evade them until now. If it is indeed only a short distance to this farm then we can continue to do so.
McKnight: Unless they shoot on sight, you'll be captured and they will find out which direction we're headed.
She had been trained as a tactical officer as well as security. Now, she was serving as Strategic Operations Officer. And in her capacity as all three, she knew this was their best option. Certainly not ideal, especially since there had been too many deaths today. But if it worked, he could buy them some time.
oO Stevok. Why did you have to leave me? Oo
Serala: Captain...Captains, I don’t like it either, but it is our best option right now. He could buy us some time.
Nehir / Revix: Responses
Dels’an: ::Solemnly:: Do it.
Jarol: Good luck to you all.
Serala could only offer him the greatest respect. There were no words in any language she knew that appropriately expressed her respect and her honor of the act he was about to commit. It was tantamount to suicide. But it could save all their lives.
Nehir / Revix: Responses
Dels’an: And to you, Agent Jarol.
Serala stood next to her Captain as they silently watched the man slip into the tree line and disappear. She just hoped his sacrifice would not be in vain.
Thoran: We need to move out now. I would recommend single file, it will help hide our numbers.
Serala: Daie, Eriov.
oO Back into the cold. Hang in there, Little Bean….My husband is dead….Stevok, why did you leave me?....Need to go on...You have a duty….You’re a Romulan, Serala, not a weak kitten….But my husband is dead…..And so is Jarol, most likely. He wasn’t whining about it!....Little Bean Oo
Dels’an / Nehir / Revix: Responses
As the Captain took one end of the stretcher and the remaining Romulan soldier the other end, Serala fell into step next to Commander Revix right behind the Admiral who was leading. The Captain and the soldier took up the rear with the stretcher.