A/N: This is a take on several scenes from the "pilot episode" of what eventually turned into Picking Up The Pieces. This predates the first chapters of PUTP by two years, this is the 'maiden voyage' of the Taurus. T'Vral is (as is hinted at in ch. 4 part 2 of PUTP) the daughter of T'Lea and Kareb.
I realized this is not clear: Section 31 is not trying to kill her or get rid of her! Sorry if it looks that way ...
T'Vral's gaze had lingered on him in the transporter room, but she had said nothing.
His new captain conversed with her in Vulcan, and the corners of her mouth turned upwards, her eyes brightened.
Then at that pointless dinner the captain had insisted on, he sat across from her, and she would not even address him directly, but had "accidentally" called the captain Chris. Not even that le-matya of a first officer, the self-proclaimed captain's friend, called him anything but Captain.
She did acknowledge that she knew him, when asked. "Lieutenant Commander Solkan and I were bonded as children." As if it had little relevance to today. Not, we are bondmates. Not, he is my sa-telsu. She could not even say his name without his rank.
First the Andorian had stolen his position as first officer, and now this human captain was speaking in Vulcan and making his bondmate smile.
When she and her first officer returned to her ship, four of her own crew transported over, to assist in the recovery of the lost ship. One, in particular, wore his own robes, and introduced himself as Lt. Cmdr. Shevek. Not Subcommander ... not a Vulcan rank.
He went to his quarters. One more dent in his desk, and Solkan ran the man's file. Starfleet. Of course.
An encrypted call to Hanson, who knew of Shevek, all but confirmed he was a comrade - Section 31. Solkan asked why. Why someone else? Why not him?
"Because I didn't trust you to get the job done."
Another dent in the desk, and several isolinear chips jumped to the floor.
He returned to the bridge.
There she was again, on the viewscreen. He took his station, and both ships took positions around this odd glowing sphere.
Sensor readings, probes, scans. Hours and hours and nothing new. Moving closer, changing orbit. Nothing.
And then, all at once, everything.
Some unknown object, perhaps a small asteroid, came flying out of the center of this sphere, finding impact in the impulse drive of her ship. Her orbit decayed, rapidly. Their tractor beam could not pull her back. Thrusters could not fight the pull. All their information suggested a black hole lay at the center - and death. Ancient beacons warned against the use of warp drive once inside the sphere.
She continued transmitting data, new information but nothing they could understand. Then she made her choice. She went to warp.
The sphere glowed brighter, energy readings increasing. Then, silence. Her transmission cut off. The brightness, fading away.
It was not her death he felt. No, it was more as if she had simply ... ceased to exist. She was just ... gone.
The captain shook him by the shoulders. "What happened?" he demanded. "Is she alive?"
Was she? He did not know.
He returned to his quarters, later on, to meditate. He had not felt pain, but it had only been a base bond. Somehow, he was sure, she had not died. It was if she existed ... elsewhere. She was alive, somewhere else.