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Has Anyone Reserved This Seat?

Posted on Sun Aug 16th, 2020 @ 11:16pm by Lieutenant Alana Tovan & Lieutenant Erin Whitlam PhD

Mission: Father Dearest
Location: Replimat

Alana picked at her salad while her eyes scanned over the PADD in her other hand. Her thoughts were a bit of a whirlwind the last couple of days while she tried to come to terms to what was going on. It was bad enough that her father, a known agent of the Tal'Shiar, had come to the station posing as a Vulcan engineer on a Tellarite freighter. But the lie of omission that she told, or rather didn't tell, her supervising officer didn't sit well with her either.

Alana's childhood was an interesting one. For the first seven years of her life, she lived happily with her parents. Her mother, Melissa Tovan, was a Federation scientist conducting research on Starbase 314. Her father, Khavek, was a Romulan defector looking to start a new life away from the Empire. And for nine years, start a new life he did. Everything changed when Melissa reached a breakthrough in her research. Khavek revealed his true colors and shot his way off the station, taking her research with him. Melissa was cleared of any involvement in Khavek's scheme, but the event still ruined her career, and made Alana's young life a nightmare. Memories of his betrayal continued to haunt her, even now.

The young engineer tried to shake the thoughts from her head and focused back on her PADD. Maintenance reports may not have been everyone's preferred reading, but focusing on her work helped clear her head. Alana joined Starfleet and became an engineer in spite of her father. She grew up being told that she would never amount to anything, that she would only grow up to be a traitor like her father. He was the reason why she was so dedicated to her work, though it had nothing to do with fatherly love.

She didn't see him approaching, which was exactly how he wanted it. Weaving through the growing lunchtime crowd at the replimat, he moved like water in a stream until he came to a silent halt just inside her field of view. Standing with his back straight, maintaining a distinctive Vulcan air about himself, he gestured with an open palm toward the empty chair on the other side of the table.

"Has anyone reserved this seat?" he asked.

By the time Alana had noticed the shadow moving across the table, it was too late to react. A chill rippled through her body when she heard him speak. The young engineer lifted her eyes away from the PADD in her hand to glare at her father standing in front of her. "As a matter of fact, I have reserved it for anyone but you. I thought I made it clear that I didn't want to see you."

He sat down, ignoring her refusal. "You made it clear that you have not forgiven me, but I feel that I must not have made myself clear," he said, sitting rod straight in the chair and maintaining the Vulcan persona as if by habit; a survival skill of someone who had survived a long time pretending to be someone he wasn't. "I do not seek your forgiveness, Alana. The past is done and none of us can change what happened. We can only influence the future. I cannot undo the hurt I caused, but I can make amends by being here for you in the future."

Alana let out a laugh and rolled her eyes. "Sure, it's only been twenty-three years. It's as good a time as any." She shook her head. "Strangely enough, I just don't feel like I trust you. Maybe it's because you betrayed Mom and abandoned me. Maybe it's because you work for the Tal'Shiar. Either way, forgive me for thinking that anything you say must be a lie."

He bowed his head slightly, "I do forgive you for thinking that. But you should know that I am no longer working for the Tal'Shiar." He glanced about at the crowd in the replimat and leaned forward just a fraction. "Which is something for which I very much doubt they will forgive me, either."

"I never really had the sense that the Tal'Shiar was something that you could just retire from. Then again, I suppose your government was pretty much gutted, wasn't it?" As soon as she said it Alana could feel disappointment rising in herself. Making light of the death of millions of Romulans, and the near total collapse of the empire, wasn't really something that she should be proud of. But something about seeing her father again was bringing that side of her out. "But you're right. Tal'Shiar or no, Starfleet still has a warrant out for you. And I all I need to do is call security."

He ignored her comment about the Imperial Government. It was true, of course, Hobus had devastated the Empire, but it still lived on and, in the discord and near lawlessness of some regions, the Tal Shiar was arguably stronger than even. "I know there is still a warrant for me," he said after a moment. The Vulcan facade seemed to fade and he began to look worn and wearied. "I understand you can call security right now and you'll never see me again. I am prepared to face Federation justice. But before I do that, I needed to try to make amends with you. My fate is entirely in your hands, Alana."

"Well, I'm sorry you wasted the trip." Alana tried to go back to her reports and picking at her lunch. But her head sprung back up to face him. "Why now? Why after all of these years have you decided that you wanted my forgiveness? Three quarters of my life have been spent dealing with the pain you caused. If it was that important to you, then why did you wait this long?"

He averted his eyes from her gaze, looking down at the table top as he hesitated. "Some things, a great many things in fact ... are outside of our control," he said, there was a subtle faltering in his voice and he looked like he was trying hard to find the right words. "It was not a question of waiting, but rather a question of finding an opportunity. I'm not the same man I was all those years ago. I have seen a great many things in recent years that have served to narrow my focus down to what is truly important. But, from inside the Tal Shiar, it is incredibly difficult to pursue what is truly important."

Alana almost thought she sensed some real remorse in Khavek's voice. Almost. She still only trusted him as far as she could throw him, and she wasn't physically imposing by any stretch of the imagination. She took that from her mother. Still, it was hard for her to tell if his feelings were genuine. She was almost feeling sorry for him. "Maybe you're right. I don't suppose escaping the Tal'Shiar could be that easy. It's not like you could just defect to the Federation and ask for asylum." She let that thought linger for a moment, letting it sink in. "And just how do you think you're going to make it up to me after all these years? Huh?"

"I honestly have no idea," he replied after a brief pause. "My hope in coming here - my only hope - is that you will grant me that which I do not deserve and give me a final chance. Exactly how I could make amends would be entirely in your hands."

Alana gave Khavek a long, hard look before sighing. She didn't say anything, but it was clear that she was conflicted. Maybe she was being too hard on him. Maybe he really had changed. Or maybe she was just fooling herself and he was still the same person he had always been.

After what felt like an eternity, Alana shook her thoughts from her head. She looked away from Khavek and started gathering her half finished lunch. "I need to get back to work," she replied, almost to herself more than it was to Khavek.

Khavek nodded and stood up. "Of course," he said, bowing his head slightly. "Please, Alana, consider what I've said. I certainly do not expect you to give me the chance I wish for, but ... but I hope you do."

Alana paused just for a moment before standing, looking up at her father's eyes as he looked down towards her. Just for that moment she could almost see the pleading in his eyes, that sincerity that only a father could have. It was only a moment, but that moment was enough to put some doubt in her mind that maybe he was telling the truth. She swallowed hard and tried to shake the thought again before grabbing at her things. Rising to her feet, she barely looked in his direction, and only muttered "I need to go," before getting on her way.

Khavek watched her go, lingering for a moment as a satisfied smile pulled at the corner of his mouth.

Lieutenant Alana Tovan
Chief Shipfitter
Starbase 332

Khavek (played by Erin Whitlam)
Alana's Father


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