Star Trek: Defiant

Pilot Episode 3A

Written by T'Mal

T'Mal was in Science Lab 3, Stellar Cartography, when her communicator beeped. "Captain Bridges to Lt. (jg) T'Mal, please report to 8-Forward." She acknowledged the message and put the program she was working with into auto-scan mode. She glanced down at her new crimson uniform, thinking it looked out of place in the science lab. No doubt she would get used to it in time. Starfleet promised there would be a replacement on the way, to handle the lab, but until then, she would have to monitor things here as well as assuming her new duties as Personnel Director. She had always assumed her role in Starfleet would be to wear the blue of science, but if she could be of more service elsewhere...

As the turbolift began it's journey to deck 8, she wondered what could be so important that the Captain would summon her to 8-Forward. Due to the fact that there were so few crewmen aboard, everyone was well aquainted with everyone else. Things were a little on the informal side, but to her knowledge, they had never held a briefing of any sort in the recreation lounge. It was puzzling...

She arrived at 8-Forward, the doors whispered open, and for a fraction of a second, her puzzlement only deepened. It took a moment for her mind to register what her eyes saw. A joyous crowd of people inhabited the lounge, at least three times the number she knew to be on board. On the edge of the crowd stood Captain Jeffrey Bridges, her trusted Bajoran friend Ry Emeras, and her beloved-Steven.

"SURPRISE!!!" cried the group in attempted unison.

The roar died down and the crowd watched expectantly for her reaction. Steven, Emeras, and Captain Bridges wore grins as large as the bang that started all of creation, as did almost everyone else. T'Mal's arched eyebrow was the only external sign of her emotions. At last, she spoke. "I am -very- surprised."

The room broke into revelry once again, and T'Mal began to make her way through the open space that separated her from Steven. Emeras clasped her hands respectfully behind her back as she offered T'Mal her congratulations. "I know how much it meant to you to find him, I am so happy for you both. You really deserve wonderful things T'Mal!" Her happiness spilled over into a big hug and T'Mal returned the embrace. If any friend could get away with hugging her, it was Emeras. Emeras slipped away into the party and T'Mal was left facing a hugely grinning Steven, being patted heartily on the back by her Captain.

"This is one of the most pleasant duties I've ever had as a Captain." Jeffrey Bridges said. "Yesterday, when we first located the USS Voyager, I was delighted simply to have solved one of Starfleet's biggest puzzles, to have found our missing ship. Lieutenant Torres invited our engineers over to have a look at their new transwarp engines. Evidently, Lieutenants, even junior grade ones, sometimes know more than their Captains. Ry Emeras immediately came to me when she heard about Voyager and asked me to check on a certain someone, that someone being -your- fiance. I am especially delighted to be able to present him here to you today, whole and healthy. The happiness of my crew only increases my own. I wish the two of you much happiness together. Now, if you will excuse me, I must go find Real. I'm sure the two of you have many things to catch up on."

T'Mal looked at Steven. It had been more than 18 months since their last communication, longer than that since they'd occupied the same solar system. She drank in the sight of him, noticed the little changes. As always, she found his Human features pleasing to her eye. His blonde hair was longer than he used to keep it, there were a few tiny lines beginning to form around his blue eyes, he had lost weight. He began to speak, and it was the most beautiful music she'd ever heard.

"T'mal, I can not possibly tell you how much I've missed you, how I've looked forward to this moment, and... and now I feel that I'm at a loss for words. You are even more beautiful than I remembered, you are everything I could ever want. I know ...that... we've been separated for a long time, maybe too long. I've been afraid that you would find someone else, that you would go back to Torik and forget about me. Please tell me that you still want to share your life with me. Please... you can help me out here at any time." He laughed nervously.

"Of course, I apologize, I..." She couldn't explain it to anyone, this wild and completely illogical emotion she felt in reaction to his sudden appearance. Until this moment, she hadn't realized how empty she'd felt before, how -alone- she'd been without him. "I never gave up on you. I knew you would be back. I knew you were out there somewhere, looking for a way home. We are bonded, you and I, some part of your katra lives always with mine. I will teach you how to listen for it, and then you will know that I am always there with you too."

Steven smiled to hear this. T'Mal was tempted on some level to smile back, instead expressed it with her eyes. He put out his hand, one finger extended to her in a Vulcan gesture of intimacy. She extended her own hand, her own finger, and twining it with his, reassured him of her love.

"I was hoping you would say something like that." Steven said. "I have some people I want you to meet." He began to lead T'Mal through the crowd, joined as they were by their fingers, until he found the group he was looking for. "This is Captain Janeway, of the USS Voyager, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, my Chief in engineering, and Lieutenant Tuvok."

T'Mal nodded to each in turn, noting the introductions, and allowed her gaze to rest on the dark-skinned Vulcan as Steven paused.

"Tuvok has agreed to help us with the Vulcan ceremony of marriage. I want it done right. For you , I really want it to be right for you."

T'Mal was surprised yet again this evening. She thought it odd that he was planning for a ceremony when only moments ago he was asking her if she still wanted him. Less than an hour before that, she had had no idea that his ship had been found. Of course, they had planned on marriage a long time ago, but so much had happened since then , so many things had changed. Of course she still wanted him, but she had also not expected him to suddenly appear in her life again like this. She dismissed the unpleasant chain of thoughts. He was here now, that was the important thing. The course of her life had changed so drastically, so suddenly, things were moving so quickly for her that she didn't have time to deeply analyze each little thing as she usually did. Of course, Steven had had more time to think about this.

Tuvok met T'mal's eyes, she realized he was looking to her for confirmation. "My thanks to you, Tuvok. It is -of course- important to me. I would be honored by your presence."

"Ah, then we may proceed?" Tuvok asked.

For the first time in her life, T'Mal's mind went completely blank. She -must- have misunderstood. "Proceed?" she repeated.

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