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Dead Men Always Return

Posted on Mon Jul 10th, 2017 @ 1:16am by Lieutenant Kazyah Linn & Lieutenant Elijah "Eli" Dreznik
Edited on on Mon Jul 10th, 2017 @ 1:17am

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: USS Vindex
Timeline: Mission Day 97 - 1634 hours

The ship was eerily quiet as Kaz walked through the corridor. His favorite jeans hugged his body perfectly as the tight black teeshirt stretched over his torso. His footsteps fell silently as he walked towards his destination, the transporter room.

He'd just returned to the Vindex an hour before but he wasn't quite ready to return to his daily life. The demons haunted him in ways he couldn't understand, and he doubted they'd let him go gently.

As he turned a corner, a man stood in the corridor not far ahead. His head was down, reading a PADD, but it was quite obvious who it was.

"Eli," Kaz said to himself, in a low whisper that even he almost didn't hear. Panic overcame him as he turned into the nearest hiding spot, a small alcove of corridor that housed three doorways and barely enough room to hide the Intelligence Officer.

Eli looked up from his PADD, pausing in the center of the corridor. Although he had no measurable psionic abilities, he did suddenly have the feeling that he was being watched; and the slight burning of his ears told him that he was being spoken of.

"Hello?" asked the scientist quietly. There was no immediate response. Eli shrugged his shoulders and returned his attention to the analyses stored on his PADD, and continued making his was slowly down the corridor.

Kaz sighed as he leaned his head against the wall. This was childish, and unbecoming of a man of his status. The truth was, there was nothing between them, at least that's what he told himself. And whatever may have grown between them was mostly in Kaz's head. And Eli knew nothing about that.

He righted himself and pulled on his shirt, smoothing out any wrinkles. With a nod, he walked out of the alcove and calmly walked past the Lieutenant without a word.

Eli halted as he caught a familiar scent. His sense of smell was unusually sharp, a relic of what he theorized to be a predatory evolution adaptation of Skagaran genetics. It took him a long moment to process the scent, and when he did the realization came like a bolt of lightning. Kaz. Eli spun around on his heel and spoke.

"Lieutenant Linn," he said calmly. He was certainly not obligated to answer Eli, but the scientist hoped that he would.

Kaz stopped, but only for a moment. He looked to the side to speak over his shoulder, but didn't look at the man. "Lieutenant Dreznik," he said, before he continued towards his destination.

Oh, so that's how it's gonna be? Normally if he got a negative reception, Eli was content to just leave well enough alone and continue with his business. While he and the Intel Officer hadn't been particularly close, Eli liked to think they were at least on friendly terms. So that reason alone compelled him to not let things slide.

"Kaz," he said. "Please talk to me."

Kaz straightened his back, "I won't be returning to duty until tomorrow. At that time, you may schedule a meeting with my office and we can discuss any work-related issues then," he said, still not looking at Eli.

He stood there for a moment, but then continued on his way and rounded a corner.

Eli watched the Intel Officer leave, somewhat dumbfounded. He looked down at his PADD, almost to make sure that there wasn't any frost to brush off the screen. Eli was tempted to return on his way to the Planetary Sciences Lab, but curiosity got the best of him and he followed in the direction that Kaz had went. The only reasonable destination in that direction was the Transporter Room, at least according to the ship schematic that Eli remembered.

Following his intuition, Eli entered the Transporter Room. He heard the telltale whine of a transport cycle concluding; in that moment; Eli knew exactly what he was going to do. He pulled up the activity log...and saw that Kaz had transported to the surface. Eli almost stopped himself from following; an action such as this could be seen as a gross violation of privacy, but it was a chance he was going to take. He programmed the Transporter to repeat the previous destination, as well as a five second delay. Eli climbed onto the Transporter pad, stowing his PADD in a pocket in the process. As the tingle of the beam whisked him away, Eli silently wondered what awaited him; in his mind, there were two options. Either his heart would sing, or it would break.

As Eli materialized on the surface of the planet, he looked around slightly unsure of where he was. He was standing near the shore of a large body of water, the coast covered in massive boulders rather than sand. A slight breeze blew off the water, bringing with it a slightly salty smell. Waves lapped against the rocks giving a perfect harmony to the scene.

He took a few steps forward as his eyes were drawn to the sky. What was once dark and blue was beginning to mix with lighter shades as sparks of pink, orange and red began to pierce the darkness. He knew what he was seeing. Despite being mid afternoon according to the ship's chronometer system, this area of the planet was going through daybreak as the sun was about to rise over the horizon.

The experience was interrupted as Eli saw a figure sitting on one of the rocks. It was obvious that it was Kaz, sitting there with his legs pulled up to his chest and his chin resting on his knees. He was looking out over the calm water in silence.

Eli crossed the three meter distance in several long steps, making a deliberate effort to not wedge his feet in the cracks between the boulders of the formation. The entire scene reminded him of the sandstone cliffs overlooking the Yarvin Gulf on North Star. His Pa had taken Eli and his brother Jimmy camping there several times, so Eli understood why it was an appealing aesthetic. He stopped next to Kaz and sat down, dangling his legs off the side of the stone formation. It was over an eighty meter drop, but Eli was not intimidated in the slightest.

Eli looked at Kaz. The Intel Officer seemed lost in thought, so Eli spoke carefully as to not startle. "Kaz..." he began softly.

Gently, Kaz pressed a few fingers to Eli's lips to keep him quiet, but his eyes never wavered from the scene before them. A few moments passed and suddenly the sky's color burst with gold as the flaming aura of the system's star began to stretch over the still water. The reflections danced along the ripples as the sunlight glistened from the tears that fell down Kaz's cheeks.

This was a moment like no other. In this moment, Kaz was completely and utterly whole again. His burdens melted away as his existence blended with the burning heat of the star.

Moments passed and finally, Kaz turned to look at the man sitting next to him. "I can't believe you're here," he said, his fingers gently running over his cheekbone, as if to verify that the man sitting here was real.

Eli smiled. Kaz's touch was warm and soothing, as he had imagined it would be all those months ago. "I'm trying to reconnect with my life," he said. "And as much as you tried to shut me out of your world, your companionship valued part of mine."

"You're trying to reconnect," Kaz said, looking back out over the sea, "And yet you've been one of the few constants in my life."

"I'm not sure I understand," said Eli. He cocked his head slightly to the right and raised his left eyebrow. His own gaze wandered out into the open water as well. He had grown up on a world with two suns, so he was accustomed to a double sunrise. And since one of the suns was a blue giant, it was an entirely different color pallet. "I've been gone for months."

Kaz shrugged, "You wouldn't understand," he said, resting his chin on his knees again.

Before he could respond, something dawned on Eli. Kaz had actually seemed to look at him, with eyes that actually saw. "Can you...see me, Kaz?"

The man simply nodded.

Eli's heart swelled with joy for a moment....then deflated just as quickly. He suddenly felt dirty, almost parasitic. He had intruded upon what was intended to be a very private moment, a moment of reflection and contemplation. Wordlessly, he drew his legs away from the edge and scooted away from Kaz. Eli stood in a single fluid motion, taking another brief glance at the alien vista before turning back toward the transport coordinates. And may the Two Suns forgive me.

"Please don't leave me," Kaz said, his voice soft and pleading. He turned his head down towards his knees as the tears stained the tattered denim.

As out-of-sorts as he felt in this moment and this place, that made Eli come to a dead stop. He had expected to slip away unnoticed; instead, he was being asked to stay. He let out a long, contemplative breath through his nostrils, then turned on his heel once again. Eli moved closer to Kaz this time, sitting down to Kaz's immediate left with his legs crossed. He draped his right arm over Kaz's shoulder. "Okay," said Eli in a near-whisper. "But only because you asked."

Kaz leaned on the man's shoulder. "I haven't seen a sunrise since I was a child. Before the accident," he said softly as the tears didn't stop.

"So...this is the first time you've seen me as I actually am?" Eli asked with a touch of wonder. "I hope I have not disappointed you too much."

"I've seen you before," Kaz simply said. "Being blind, you learn to appreciate other parts of a person." He looked up at Eli and held his gaze, his hand stroking the man's cheek. "The way you smell, the feel of your face when I touch it, the ripple of your muscles as you move, the sound of your heart beating, the sound of your laugh, the feeling of your emotional aura. I've seen you in a way few other people ever can, Eli. And I was taken with you from the moment we met."

Eli felt a surge of blood rush to his head. Then why did you push me away? he thought, but immediately banished those words from his mind. No, this was not the time to dwell on what might have been; instead, it was time to take action and live in the here and now. Eli put his hand behind Kaz's head and pulled the Intel Officer closer...close enough that the tips of their noses brushed against each other. Not feeling the need for words, Eli brushed his lips gently against the other man's.

Kaz closed his eyes as he melted into the moment completely. He slid a hand behind Eli's head, his fingers twining with his hair. Kaz leaned forward, pushing the other officer down on his back into a laying position.

Eli let out a slight yelp of surprise at the sudden aggressive move. It was exhilarating, and Eli felt like he was being naughty just by allowing it to happen. It was a moment that he had acted out in his mind for months now, and it was finally happening. As exciting as it was, Eli felt the need to apply the brakes ever so slightly. "Are you sure we want to do this here?" he asked softly.

"I wanted privacy," Kaz said, quietly. "So I chose a place on the opposite side of the planet from everyone else. I doubt anyone would even realize we're here."

"Convenient," Eli managed to stammer. The raised red bumps on the sides of his face and the front of his neck became particularly sensitive in instances such as this, and it seemed that the Intel Officer almost knew that because having them touched was driving Eli absolutely insane. "Just...try to be careful. Rocks can get slippery, especially ones with specific geomagnetic properties..."

"Eli, shut up," Kaz said, interrupting the man. He leaned down and pressed his lips to the man's neck as his hand began to slide the man's shirt up and over his head.

The suns sparkled against the water, bathing the two men in warm light as they formed a bond that had been on hold for far too long.


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