The vicissitudes of fate

Optional posts about your character's life before coming aboard Starbase 386

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Zael
Chief Security Officer
Posts: 15

The vicissitudes of fate

Post#1 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:55 am

[ON]

<<Bajor, Dahkur Hills region, near Kola Mountain, 2367, 1700>>

The area was eerily still in the early evening hours. A blanket of snow covered the ground, making the land features sparkle in the remaining sunlight Even now, the snow was falling. The wind had picked up in the hills, whistling as it rounded corners and bent through the passages. It picked up the falling snow and swirled it around.

The Resistance Cell members were trudging through the weather at a decent but somewhat slowed pace. They'd been on the move for a couple hours now and were beginning to look for a place to spend the night. The frosty air bit through their less than adequate winter clothing, but the promise of a warm fire urged them on.

Awen led the way, the disruptor rifle Artori had given her slung over her back. Staying ahead of the group, she scouted for a place to sleep while keeping an eye out for any Cardassians. As she made her way to the top of a hill, Awen suddenly dropped down to her stomach - a small Cardassian transport ship flew overhead, seemingly trying to find a place to land.

Crawling backwards quickly, she waited until she would be out of sight and then ran to meet up with the rest of the group. They started to gather around her as she caught her breath - the cold air stinging her throat.

Jorak and Artori cast each other knowing glances before they looked back to Awen; the young woman had come into her own as a fighter and proved to be a far better scout than they themselves. While Jorak viewed his sister with a gleam of pride in his eye Artori sized the girl up in a wholly different manner.

Awen had become a beautiful young woman and the strength that she exuded had spurned feelings within the cell's leader that he would have rather not entertained. Artori's gaze lingered a second too long on Awen and as he turned to face Lirana he found her observing him with watchful eyes. She said nothing.

"It's a transport!" Awen finally managed, having to almost yell to be heard over the howling wind. "They won't make their destination in this weather and are looking for a place to land..."

"Good eyes Awen," Artori complimented his scout. "We'll follow at a safe distance, see where she lands and form a plan from there."

Nodding, Awen said, "This way." Again, she took point and led them back to where she'd been when she had first seen the transport. Staying low, she watched as the transport slowly started circling a relatively flat area nestled in the hills.

Noting the position of the transport, Lirana's eyes searched the area between them and the transport. There was a fair amount of cover in that area, and it wasn't too far away. The Cell should be able to make it there fairly quickly - especially being re-invigorated at the thought of a feast. She glanced over at Artori, wondering what was going through his mind. Although noting how he had watched Awen only a few moments ago, she still felt mostly secure as to her place with him. True, she wasn't a full blooded Bajoran as the others were, but she had proven herself. Lirana moved slightly closer to Artori.

Jorak surveyed the area with his multi-scanner and frowned, "The Transport is carrying twelve Cardassians and a small amount of supplies, though the weather is making a more detailed reading impossible."

"Troop transport," Artori sighed. "Well, if we aren't going to get fed we may as well take advantage of a warm place to sleep for the night. Besides, twelve less Cardassians may mean twelve of ours get to continue fighting. Jorak, I want you to take Awen, Netris and the rest to the transports east flank. Lirana and I will draw them out to the south so that you have clean shots."

Jorak nodded his understanding and called for his team to rally on him with a hand signal, after a few moments they had disappeared through the blizzard to the east.

"Are you ready?" Artori questioned Lirana while holding out his hand in offering.

"I'm ready, Artori," Lirana said, with a determined nod. She took his hand, holding on a little tighter than normal as they started off.

Marching forward through the steadily increasing snowfall Artori and Lirana made their way toward the Transport's rear. Through the whiteout they spotted two Cardassians standing just outside of the transports rear hatch, though watchful they had not taken notice of the ambushers approaching.

"Okay," Artori spoke quietly as he crouched behind a boulder. "I'm going to let them spot me and I want you to stay here to pick them off when they follow. Wait until I get close, we want them to believe that I am a lone target. Understood?"

Lirana started feeling a little nervous, especially since they hadn't had much time to truly plan. Still, she was confident in their abilities and pulled out her weapon. "I understand," she said, staring into his eyes. Before he could go, she pulled him close with her free hand and kissed him.

Lirana's embrace steadied Artori and reminded him of the future that he was fighting for, pulling away only after a long passionate moment he let his lingering gaze convey the love he felt without tarnishing it with words then turned to head off.

The snow was falling harder still and Artori was forced to get closer to the Transport than he anticipated, by the time he could see the light coming from its hatch he was only a dozen meters away. Hiding his disruptor rifle behind his back he feigned ignorance and called out a well known resistance pass phrase, "Do the prophets light the path?"

Almost immediately the Cardassian soldiers stepped forward with their disruptors leveled; Artori spun about on the ball of his heel and began to sprint away as quickly as his legs would carry him. As bright flashes of disruptor fire streaked by and exploded around him Artori began to weave from side to side, focusing on the line of boulders that he was approaching.

Lirana frowned, seeing how close Artori had gotten to the soldiers. Still, she had brought the rifle up, holding it perhaps a bit too tightly as she tensed in anticipation. As the Cardassians started firing on Artori, she returned fire on them. Taking her time to aim, she fired at the one closest to him, watching him drop to the ground. The further ones would be harder to hit as the snow storm worsened.

As Lirana opened fire Artori dropped to the ground and rolled onto his back firing the way he came, the fight had begun.

Hearing disruptor fire, Awen moved in from the opposite side and assessed the situation. Seeing a couple of Cardassians not far away, she quickly swung her rifle around and fired. Her first shot hit him in the shoulder and turned him around, giving her a clear shot to finish him.

Standing at his sister's side, Jorak opened fire as well and with the combined force of the other cell members the remaining Cardassians began to retreat. Taking the initiative the five comrades forced the Cardassians to take refuge behind the nose of the Transport, effectively pinning them down.

Shaking her head, Lirana dropped her rifle to her side. From here she was no longer able to see well enough to fire on the Cardassians. She'd have to move closer. Trudging as fast as she could through the snow, Lirana made her way to a tree near the transport. Seeing a few Cardassians going to join the others near the front of the transport, she opened fire on them instead.

Artori had circled around the transport to the side opposite of Jorak's team and approached slowly, through the snow he spotted the figures of three Cardassians pinned down. With a cold resolve he opened fire, striking one of the soldiers in the chest and another in his head. The third was struck down by a shot from Jorak's side and slowly the disruptor fire ceased.

A deathly stillness settled over the battle site as the last of the Cardassians fell and slowly the group began to reform at the transport's hatch. Jorak arrived first and peering in found himself staring into the weary eyes of Cardassian women and children. The look of stark terror in their eyes reminded Jorak of the fear he saw among his own people in the camps, just before a Cardassian firing squad mowed them down. He felt cold as he stared into the children's faces and after a moment of consideration he turned away.

Turad Netris stepped into Jorak's place and with a grim smile leveled his disruptor at the Cardassian civilians, the women knew what was to happen and tears streamed down their cheeks from tightly clenched eyes.

Artori rounded the end of the Transport and peered in to behold the scene, the look on Netris' face filled him with disgust and before he could stop himself he lashed out. Placing a leg firmly behind Netris' and striking his companion down on the chest Artori sent his subordinate reeling into a snowbank. In a single stride Artori was over the downed fighter an with a quick swipe of his arm knocked the disruptor from Netris' hands, "They are civilians!"

Catching up with the rest of the group, Lirana moved forward to see what was happening. She was slightly surprised to see Artori attack one of their own, but upon looking in the transport, she realized what was going on.

Netris scrambled to his feet and shoving Artori he growled, "They are animals! Do you think they would think twice about killing us if they had the chance!?"

"We are not them!" Artori countered. "If we slaughter innocents then we are murderers, just like the Cardassians! You want a child's blood on your hands!?"

Netris shoved at Artori again, daring him to fight, "They look like children but they are animals! In another ten years we'll have to shoot them down just the same but how many of our people will they have killed by then? How many Zael?"

Looking from Artori to Netris, Awen watched the exchange closely. Part of her agreed with Netris - she didn't want to be fighting these same Cardassians when they grew up...but she also wasn't comfortable with killing children. Either way, for the time being, Awen was staying out of it.

Artori stared into his subordinate's eyes for a moment, he knew that Netris was right but he still could not allow children to be murdered in cold blood. "No," he growled. "I won't let this happen, if you want them then you're going to have to go through me!"

Lirana saw Artori take his stand and pushed her way through a few of the Cell members to stand by him, "And me as well. We've killed the soldiers already, there's no honor in killing women and children...we cannot fall to their level. Otherwise, we're no better than them, Netris."

In the midst of the current exchange of words, Awen paused. As the blizzard worsened, reducing visibility, she thought she heard something. It nearly blended in with the screams and howls of the wind, but....it was...different. It wasn't a sound of nature. Turning back to the group she called, "Something's coming!"

Jorak turned toward the wind and after a moment he heard it too, "its another ship! We have to move, now!"

Artori stared Netris down, uncaring of the impending danger until the younger man collected his gear and began to run. Looking to Lirana Artori motioned for her and the others to follow. As the group fled the scene Artori turned to take one last look at the Cardassian civilians, the mother of the children stared up at him with befuddled eyes and mouthed the words 'thank you'. Artori grimaced at the woman's comment and after a moment longer he followed after Awen.

Merkal Enrit held her children closely until their rescuers arrived, in a single instant she had realized that the Bajorans were not at all the savages that she had been taught they were. She vowed at that moment that she would see an end to the bloodshed regardless of the shame it might cause her.

[OFF]

A post by:

Nira Lirana
played by: WO1C Kilana Nira

and

Fala Awen
played by: WO1C Kilana Nira

and

Fala Jorak
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori

and

Turad Netris
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori

and
Provisional Lieutenant Zael Artori
Chief of Security
Starbase 386

Zael
Chief Security Officer
Posts: 15

The vicissitudes of fate pt.2

Post#2 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:01 am

[ON]

<<Bajor, Dahkur Hills region, 2367, 1915>>

Artori had wandered for what seemed like hours through the blizzard's whipping winds and whiteout, his legs burned with intensity and he was beginning to wonder how much further he could go. With his energy nearly sapped and his legs giving out Artori counted it as a blessing when he unwittingly stumbled into a cave opening. On his hands and knees attempting to gain his breath he didn't notice Awen curled up against the cave's wall further back.

Practically curled up in a ball, the sounds of someone entering the cave still registered with the young Bajoran. Shivering, Awen looked up and saw Artori. Mustering up some reserve strength she hadn't realized she had, she crawled over to him, "Artori?"

Though shivering intensely Artori managed to glance up and give Awen a slight grin, "W..Where, are... The others?"

Awen frowned slightly; Artori didn't seem to be in very good shape, she'd need to pull him further inside and away from the frigid air. Shaking her head, she said, "I don't know...when I couldn't find them, I looked for shelter instead. Let's get you further inside, you're freezing." Awen struggled to her feet, and took hold of arm, doing her best to pull him up.

Artori tried to stand with Awen but his body was too weak, instead he dropped back to his knees and to Awen's surprise chuckled. "It would... Appear that I... Am... At your mercy... For a change."

Growing more concerned at Artori's weakened state, Awen moved closer and knelt down, wrapping her arm around his waist, "Come on, Artori, you're not getting off that easily. You're the strong one, you know..." Supporting more of his weight this time, she tried again.

Artori forced his legs to push and with Awen's assistance finally managed to stand and begin moving from the entrance of the cave. "Awen," Artori stammered. "Has anyone ever told you that you are the most stubborn creature?"

"Jorak. Every day," she said seriously before glancing over at Artori and cracking a smile. Once they were further back, Awen eased his weakened frame to the ground. Noting how cold he was, she unbuttoned her outer coat and slipped out of it, then covered him with it like a blanket, "You're too cold, Artori... I wish I could start a fire, but there's nothing here."

Artori looked up into Awen's eyes for a long moment before speaking surprisingly lucidly, "If anyone is going to freeze here its going to be me. Now, put that jacket back on, that's an order."

She looked at him defiantly, "No, Artori. You just came out of the bitter cold. Until you have a chance to warm back up, you're keeping it. I'm fine; you can give it back later." Awen sat back down a couple feet from Artori, and pulled her knees to her chest. Truthfully, she was worried...she had no idea where her brother and the others were and Artori had been exposed to the elements far too long. There was no medical equipment nor a way to build a fire.

"Stubborn," Artori muttered as he began to slip from consciousness. "Awen, I'm glad.."

"Artori?" Looking at Artori, Awen grew more concerned. Her eyes glanced around the cave....nothing to actually start a fire, no wood. Just rocks. Sighing, she leaned back and winced slightly as her rifle dug into her ba....wait. Awen forced herself to her feet and moved slowly around the room, collecting the rocks. Piling them together, she took aim with her rifle; enough to heat them, but not destroy them.

Sometime later Artori awoke and found himself comfortably resting next to a pile of red glowing stones. He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling of the cavern for a long while before turning his head to find Awen watching him. He still felt weak, too weak to move far but he was no longer cold. "How long?" he asked.

Back in her place a foot or two away, a look of relief washed over Awen's face as Artori regained consciousness, "Artori! It's been...a couple hours. I was worried that..." She let her voice trail off, not wanting to complete the thought.

"I know," Artori said quietly. He saw fear and worry in Awen's eyes but something else as well, "You did well Awen, I'm proud of who you are becoming. I'll be fine I think..." Artori paused for a moment studying the young woman and rolled onto his side carefully to face her, "Tell me what's on your mind."

She frowned slightly. Part of her didn't want to admit to him what was on her mind; she was a Resistance fighter, she was supposed to be strong. She was strong. But....the events of the evening had shaken Awen. "Well....you were out in the cold awfully long, Artori. It's taken a toll on you. And what of the others? Have they perished? Frozen to death in the blizzard? Will we not find see them again? What if we're the only ones left?" She lowered her head at the thought, thinking of her brother and the others.

Artori felt much the same, Lirana was out there somewhere in the cold. Had she been separated from the others? Had the Cardassians caught them? It was all too much to consider in his condition and so he pushed the pessimism aside. "I'm sure they are fine," Artori swallowed hard forcing himself to believe his own words. "Jorak is a survivor and will take care of the group. All we can do right now is focus on ourselves and try to make it through the night."

Awen nodded silently, biting her lip. There was no way he could know it for sure, but hearing him say the words helped nonetheless. Remembering the small supply she had, Awen lifted the bottom of her tunic and untied a small pouch from around her waist. Loosening the leather ties, she turned to him, "You should eat, Artori; here, I have some dried meat." Awen scooted over closer to him and held out the pouch.

Artori smiled gratefully and reached out to retrieve a piece from the pouch, his hand brushed against Awen's slightly and the warmth of her skin gave him momentary pause. Her eyes glistened in the dim light of the glowing rocks and for a moment he lost himself in them. "Thank you," he said absently before collecting himself and easing back. "You always seem to have what's needed when it's needed Awen."

"I might have the material items needed, Artori," she said quietly, "But it is you who has the words and strength needed at the right times." Awen's eyes met his for a moment before she glanced away.

Artori reached out and gently turned her face back toward him by the chin; not always, he thought, not always. "You've been an asset to us," he spoke matter-of-factly. "To me."

She smirked, "How have I been an asset to you? If it weren't for me, we wouldn't have been caught in the blizzard. We would've been safely inside for the evening." Awen wouldn't allow herself to meet his gaze, "It seemed so exciting, so thrilling when we were children. Playing at being Resistance fighters in the warm sunlight..."

"Awen..." Artori sighed and took one of her hands in his. "Every time we enter an engagement we risk all, we do it because we have to. Our principals dictate that we fight back and that means some of us are going to die for our beliefs. You cannot blame yourself every time something goes wrong."

Nodding slowly, Awen felt a few butterflies in her stomach as Artori took her hand in his. Quietly she said, "I know, Artori, but I don't want to be the one who causes the death of more Bajorans..." A tear escaped and started rolling down her cheek, but she turned, not wanting Artori to see her so weak.

Artori silently watched Awen and rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand. Instinctively he felt the urge to hold her, to make her feel wanted and appreciated. He wanted to tell her that the occupation was going to end tomorrow and that their people would be free again. It wasn't fair that such a beautiful creature should feel as Awen did then and Artori felt helpless to comfort her. What would Lirana have him do, he wondered. "Awen..." he began but for the first time in a long while he had no words.

Awen turned back to Artori, not stopping to think, and impulsively pulled his face to hers, letting her lips meet his. She took it all in - the scent of him, the feel of his lips against hers... Part of her knew she shouldn't have, but it felt good to have him close and for a brief time, she didn't feel alone or weak. And then Awen let go, allowing her lips to softly brush off his as she pulled away. Her cheeks reddened as she turned away from him, ashamed to have let her emotions get the better of her. She whispered softly, "I'm sorry."

As Awen's lips met his, Artori closed his eyes and focused on the moment. He knew that it was wrong but he could not deny that he had wanted it to happen on some level. Still dazed by the experience he hadn't stopped her as she drew away, he only watched as she turned and lowered her head. "Don't apologize," he spoke softly as he approached her and sitting just behind placed his hands on her shoulders reassuringly.

"Awen, there are times that we want things that we cannot have," he spoke a little louder yet comfortingly, referring more to himself more than the girl he was consoling. "What I mean to say is that, love is not a force we can control and sometimes it tortures us with its presence, demands us to be something we cannot. Tell me Awen, so I know your heart, do you love me?"

She sat quietly for several minutes, contemplating her response. One thing she did know was that she desperately wanted someone to hold her, someone to make her feel strong. "I....I don't know, Artori," she replied honestly. "I know I feel safe, strong...more alive around you. But what do I know of love? I have not known the love of a man before. I just know that being around you sometimes stirs up feelings inside me...I..." Not knowing what else to say or if she had just made things worse, she let her voice trail off.

Artori carefully slipped his arms around Awen's waist and drawing her close rested his chin on her shoulder. "I feel no less for you than what I feel for Lirana, Awen," he admitted, somewhat more candidly than he had expected. "But ultimately it is to her that my loyalty belongs. I cannot show you the passion that I show her but I care for you no less..."

Closing her eyes, Awen trembled slightly as Artori held her and professed his feelings for her. She wasn't sure how to feel; partly her spirit soared, knowing his feelings...but she also knew that nothing could ever happen. Deep down, she'd always known. It would have been silly for her to think otherwise. "I understand," she whispered.

Artori, ignoring the aches that riddled his body eased himself back pulling Awen gently into a laying position beside him. He rested on his side with his cheek resting on his palm and brushed a strand of hair from her face. "This life is short," he spoke slowly. "We must try our best to live it right but sometimes fate puts us in impossible situations. This is one of those situations... Fate has put us here for a reason and I don't think either of us is ready for it. But I do care about you and we are here; I'm inclined to forget the difficulty of it all, if even only for one night."

She stared into his eyes, nearly getting lost in them as she listened. Somehow, she got the feeling that both of them could use the closeness and comfort this evening. They didn't know the fate of the others and, if only for the night, they needed each other's company. Softly Awen said, "I care about you too, Artori," as she slipped her arm around him, pulling herself closer and burying her head in his chest.

The pair lay together absorbing the other's warmth and listening to the wind whisper its melody through the cavern. As the light dimmed around them they took solace in each other's company, slowly reaching a sort of peace with their feelings as the hours passed. Neither Awen nor Artori slept that night, not wanting to miss a moment of their limited time together; they revealed to each other their fears, lamentations and desires. By the dawn hour both had laid their souls before the other and a sort of serenity had settled upon them; they could never be together but neither would their longing cause them unrest again.

[OFF]

A post by:

Fala Awen
played by: WO1C Kilana Nira

and
Provisional Lieutenant Zael Artori
Chief of Security
Starbase 386

Zael
Chief Security Officer
Posts: 15

The vicissitudes of fate pt.3

Post#3 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:08 pm

[ON]

<<Bajor, Dahkur Hills region, 2367, The Next Day, 1100>>

The intense storm of the previous evening had raged on for several hours the following morning. Awen and Artori had remained close together through that time, but with the storm finally dying down, they knew it was time to look for the others. The wind still howled sharply as it hit against the inner walls of the cave, but the snow had stopped.

Awen was still concerned about Artori; he had already been in a weakened state from being out in the storm too long and she doubted that not getting sleep had helped. She had stayed close to him while they watched the storm die down, but knew that the fateful end was drawing near. Still, Awen had learned even more about Artori in their time together and about herself. She felt...stronger, somehow, more confident. Although she had to an extent before, she no longer doubted herself as much.

Leaning against the wall of the cave for support Artori ignored the burning in his legs, it would take him days to fully recover but he and Awen didn't have days to wait. His tired mind considered the meter of fresh snow that had fallen, it would be difficult to travel through but they really had no choice; their companions could be waiting for them and assume them dead if they didn't regroup in a timely manner. Similarly, Artori was afraid that the others may have suffered an untimely fate as well though he tried not to dwell on such notions. Leaning over and wrapping his arm over Awen's shoulders for support he sighed, "This is it. Are you ready?"

She nodded, "As ready as I will be." Looking over at him, Awen gave him a brief smile before slipping her arm around his waist to help him up. Taking on most of his weight to help him stand, she paused and leaned him back carefully against the wall. "Are you ready?"

"I think so," Artori grinned. "Let's get out of here."

Two hours later Awen and Artori stopped for a rest under the cover of a dense grove where the snow wasn't so deep. They had covered only a single kilometer but were closer to their cell's rally point than they had originally thought.

Artori rested against the trunk of a large evergreen tree and chewed bits of icicle that Awen had collected for them. His legs were on fire from the effort of trudging through waist deep snow but he refused to give up until they reached their destination. After a short time Awen returned from her scouting trip and smiled.
"I take it you have good news?" Artori asked with a grin.

"I found at least three sets of footprints coming from the south towards the rally point. There may be more coming from other directions, but once I found that set, I wanted to get back and tell you," Awen replied. "At the very least, some of them have survived." A little out of breath from the effort, she let herself slide to the ground next to Artori. She was feeling a bit better after finding signs of some of the others, and she had already partly cleared the way for them, but she would still need to help Artori along the way and to do that, she needed to rest for a few minutes at least.

"They must have been made this morning," Artori began, motioning Awen to sit with him on the patch of dry ground. "After the snow let up."

Awen nodded, "Most definitely. So they must have found shelter elsewhere as well, and then headed for the rally point." Starting to shiver, she began to realize just how cold it was when she wasn't moving around. She would be glad to see warmer weather again.

As Awen sat, Artori slipped his arm around her shoulder and held her close to warm her, "You know, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have survived."

Her teeth chattered a little and she wrapped her arms around him, trying to warm back up. Awen looked up at Artori and met his eyes, "We needed each other last night... We all have to look out for each other, don't we?"

Artori looked back into Awen's loving eyes where he saw the hidden meaning of her words; that their night together had meant more than Artori could realize and that everything was okay between them. "Yes we do," he responded, acknowledging the meaning of her words.

Awen closed her eyes for a moment. The events of the previous evening had brought her a kind of peace; a peace she hadn't even realized that she had needed. Looking back at him, she smiled, "Are you ready to go on? It shouldn't be too much farther and I already have the path started. I'll help you."

"I'm ready," Artori said as Awen helped him to his feet. "You didn't rest long, are you rested enough to make it carrying the weight of two people?"

"I'll be fine, Artori," she said. "Besides, we can stop and rest as needed." Awen repositioned her arm slightly to move him closer so she could better support him. His arm held onto her shoulder and she also kept a grip on his hand to steady Artori.

Awen and Artori slowly made their way through the frozen landscape, hoping to spot the rest of their group at the crest of each hill. Hours later, as the sun began to make its approach toward the dusk horizon the pair spotted a wisp of smoke coming from a nearby grove. Artori looked to Awen and smiled, "I think we've found them."

Nodding silently, Awen gave him her bravest smile. Although she felt more at peace now than she had for awhile, there was still a part of her that was sad to see their time at an end.

Two figures emerged from the grove several hundred meters below and in a short time it became obvious that Jorak and Lirana were hurrying toward them. Artori leaned closer to Awen and while rubbing her back as if to comfort her he spoke, "I promise that I will never forget this Awen."

Awen gave Artori's hand a squeeze and looked into his eyes again, "I will remember, Artori, always. You hold a special place with me, no matter what." She managed a smile, then simply continued supporting him as the others drew closer. "Love her, even more, for me," Awen whispered.

As their companions drew closer Artori met Awen's gaze one last time and his eyes were moist with emotion conveying a silent agreement.

Jorak arrived first and after giving Awen a quick check for visible injuries turned his attention to Artori, taking the exhausted cell leader from Awen with his untapped strength.

A flood of emotions washed over Lirana as she saw Artori. Fighting back tears, she rushed towards Artori, but Awen placed a hand on her arm. Lirana looked at the younger Bajoran questioningly.

Quietly, Awen said, "He's weak, Lirana, but I think he'll be alright. Artori was out in the blizzard far longer than I..."

Lirana nodded and pulled Awen to her, hugging her. "Thank you," she whispered. While the slightly too long glances that Artori gave Awen had made Lirana pause, she also trusted Artori. And at this point in time, the only thing that mattered was that both were alive.

Artori urged Jorak away briefly and with unlikely strength managed to embrace Lirana tightly, "I worried that you ended up as I had, it does me well to see you uninjured."

She held him tightly, not wanting to let him go. Tears of relief trickled slowly down her cheeks as Lirana said, "I didn't know what happened to you, Artori...I thought..."

"I know," Artori whispered into her ear. "I'm here now."

As Artori and Lirana embraced Jorak approached his sister with a reverent look on his face, "It was foolish of me to have doubted you little sister..."

"Yes, it was," Awen said, a playful smirk on her lips. "You know I don't like the cold and would find shelter as soon as I could." Still, she was relieved to see him, though weary from the journey. "How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that?"

"Doesn't matter Awen," Jorak smirked and put his arm over her shoulders playfully. "It's a brother's prerogative."

With the sun setting the four companions slowly made their way through the sparkling snow back toward their camp for a night's rest. Though weary after a long night, they took comfort in the fact that they had survived and were together again. As the evening progressed, more of the Cell members trickled in, each time resulting in a moment of joy - but none so joyous as the reunion of Awen, Artori, Lirana, and Jorak.

[OFF]

A post by:

Nira Lirana
played by: WO1C Kilana Nira

and

Fala Awen
played by: WO1C Kilana Nira

and

Fala Jorak
played by: Lt.(Prov) Zael Artori

and
Provisional Lieutenant Zael Artori
Chief of Security
Starbase 386

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