(( Mess Hall, Deck 10, USS Gorkon ))
::The Mess Hall was closed, for the most part, with the call for shore leave taken up by those on board, and the requirement for the rating service at an all-time low. Apparently, a tropical island was a favoured setting for everyone, and so it gave ample space on board the Gorkon to reflect, think and dwell on things much larger than a single man could fathom.
::Bear crossed his feet under the table, stretching out his legs comfortably, or the outward appearance of comfortable. He looked out of the large windows at the bright star in their immediate vicinity, casting yellow-white light through the forcefield. In his imagination, rain would be battering at the forcefields, a broken man reflected back in the water-stained mirror.
::The unary star system felt cold, not warm, though perhaps the feeling was an internal one instead; a remnant of his injury, or the icy stone in his gut, growing in intensity, threatening to rise into his throat and choke him.
::The PADD in his hands weighed down his shoulders as well as his wrists. A message on it, transferred while he had stared into dark eyes, and hoped a better man would shine back. He threw it onto the table with such force that the slap echoed around the near-empty Mess, earning him a look or two from the only other people in there, who received a scowl in return.
::Zuccaro had skipped the ship once they’d pulled into spacedock, so that left Bear, chewing around on the bitter taste in his mouth and no one to pull up about it.
::He leaned forward, elbows on the table, fingers finding his tired eyes. How the hell was he going to do this? It wasn’t like planting a device, or checking on messages - this was something else entirely, something he’d never even contemplated, and he wasn’t numb enough to think this was the last thing they’d ask.
::And if it was, he wasn’t going to make it out of the other end alive.
::Three years in the making had come to this. One false step, one desperate misplaced trust, one thing after another falling into place. A heavy sigh drew out of him as he gazed out of the window, to the planet below. The implications of it all, of the message, of the task, rolled around in his head.
::His bugs had been found, the information the organisation wanted wasn’t being fed back anymore, and the multitude of reasons Bear had for wanting to stay outweighed the multitude of reasons he had to leave. But that wouldn’t be enough. Not this time. If he stayed, people would die. People he loved. People he’d started to care about.
::How could he look her in the eye again?
::It was time. Time to go. Time for overdue debts to be repaid. Time slipping through his fingers.
::Eventually, everyone had to pick a side.
::Frustration seeping through skin into bone, he stood up and kicked the chair so hard it hit the table behind.::
Lieutenant JG Orson Marshall
Logistics and Communications Officer
Lt. Commander Jo Marshall