Prologue – Wake-up call

 

When Ben stirred Tarin laid an arm across his chest. “Stay,” she muttered.

He turned and gently kissed Tarin’s forehead. “You know I can’t.”

“I know.” She pressed her face against his shoulder and took a long deep breath. He smelled so warm and good and she wanted him to stay forever. “Can’t you at least stay for breakfast?”

Ben drew Tarin’s hand to his face and touched her fingers with his lips. “Sorry, but I should really get going. How about dinner?”

“Dinner sounds nice.” She withdrew her hand from his grasp and took Ben’s face in both hands. After a long kiss she added in a playful tone: “Dinner at 1900 and not a second later. Consider that an order Mr. Tucker.”

Ben grinned and returned Tarin’s kiss with equal passion. “Yes Ma’am.”

When he had left, Tarin rolled over to soak up the warmth Ben’s body had left in the sheets. The last days and weeks had been demanding enough and she was determined to take it slow for as long as she could.

“Bridge to Captain Veal.”

Without moving Tarin answered. “Veal here.”

“Captain, you have an incoming transmission from Admiral Avanessian.”

She drew the cover around her and slowly set on the edge of the bed.

“Give me two minutes, then put him through to my quarters. Veal out.”

* * * * *

“Sorry for the outfit Admiral.” Tarin had yet to close the uniform jacket over her grey T-shirt and she usually didn’t take calls with bed hair, especially not from admirals.

“That’s alright Captain.” Admiral Avanessian’s lips twitched a little bit in mild amusement. “I realize it is still pretty early.” On the monitor Tarin could see a window behind the Admiral and through it a deep blue sky touched with the faint pink of early dawn.

Without giving her time for a reply he continued: “I have read your after-action report and I wanted to congratulate you on your success, even if blowing up a whole moon to achieve it was a rather extreme measure.”

“It was only a small moon Admiral. Hardly more then a class C planetoid.” Tarin sounded a little apologetic.

 “Don’t worry Captain. I am not criticizing you. I have spoken with some of my Vulcan colleagues and they called it ‘an unconventional but logical tactic’.” Now the smile fully showed on Admiral Avanessian’s face. “I must say I have to agree with them.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Now that this is settled, I am afraid we can’t give you more time to relax, Captain Veal. Starfleet has a new job for the Valkyrie.”

Tarin hadn’t expected much else from Admiral Avanessian’s call. “What is it?”

“It’s a diplomatic mission, so you can probably avoid giving your colleagues in the Astrography department another heart attack.” Tarin couldn’t stifle a grin. She had been raised among Stellar Cartographers and Astronomers and she knew how some of them would throw a fit if even a tiny meteorite was reported off course by the smallest margin.

Admiral Avanessian leaned a little closer to the monitor. “Before I go into any details let me offer you a piece of advice first.”

“You better stock up on bloodwine.”

 

Prologue    Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3

Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6    Chapter 7

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