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A Matter Of Trust

Posted on Jul 21, 2017 @ 12:26am by Captain Siobhan Reardon
Edited on on Jul 22, 2017 @ 1:54am

Mission: Blue Planet

“A Matter of Trust”
(Continued from “Q&A”)

Location: Elandipole
Scene: Domicile Two Two Beta Charlie
Stardate: [2.17]0709.2117

“See the shuttlecraft go into the hangar bay… whee!” despite Sylvia’s sense of fun and determination, it seemed like the carrot puree was going everywhere but in their daughter’s mouth. High chair, bib, floor, Sylvia’s dress. The woman smiled and tried to clean her daughter’s face with a napkin, but her wriggling and squirming abilities were as developed as her aversion to carrots.

Thomas laughed in spite of the situation. “Honey, let me try.”

“Go right ahead.”

He gently picked the baby up, not caring about the mess, and whispered to her. “You know your mother is only doing what’s best for you to grow big and strong and healthy. So please, please be a good girl and eat your breakfast.” He then gently placed her back in the high chair, and waved the spoon like a magic wand. “Patronus eatus carrottus,” he said, holding the food aloft, and the tiniest giggle could be heard as the baby clapped her hands. He brought the spoon near her mouth and she leaned forward to take a bite. She clapped her hands and reached up for him to do it again. “I guess she likes magic better than flight control,” he said jokingly as she finally finished the last few spoonfuls.

“You *are* a magician,” Sylvia quipped. Just then the door chime sounded. She answered it while Thomas gently wiped the carrot from every surface possible.

“Hi, Sio,” Sylvia said to the redhead who had been a frequent visitor the past few days, but was now due to depart.

“Good morning,” she answered in return, her face grim, even though the tone of her voice was cheerful. It was the most serious Siobhan had looked since she first arrived at Elandipole. Even her first visit, where they had discussed the specifics of Varn being dead, she’d had a lighter demeanor. “Can I?” she asked, gesturing to come in. She was carrying a small silver case.

“Would you like some coffee?” Thomas’ better half asked back, as he placed his daughter in her favorite activity chair.

Sio set the case down, and with that, it looked like the weight of the world fell off her shoulders. “That’d be great. Double everything.”

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you what you have there,” Thomas said, referring to the case.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” Reardon answered cryptically as Sylvia brought in a small tray with coffee, toast, and fruit. They started eating, and Thomas and Sylvia’s daughter cooed in her bouncy chair, happily playing with some toys that were attached to the top.

“I have a favor to ask of you, Thomas,” Siobhan began a few minutes later, setting her coffee mug on the table. “You have every right to say no, and I almost thought about not asking, but in the end this was something you needed to know about.” She was not sad, but she was tense.

“What is this about?” Sylvia was the first one to question.

The redhead stood and walked over to the window, letting the view ease the information out of her. “I’ve been keeping a secret. The past few days have shown me that if continue to do so, it may prevent something good coming from it. I don’t have the knowledge needed to resolve this- but scientists do.” She turned away from the beauty outside to place her attention on Thomas Varn.

Thomas became even more curious. “Why me? Starfleet and the Federation are teeming with scientists… many with greater expertise than I.”

Sio shook her head. “I think you underestimate yourself. And it can’t just be anyone. It needs to be someone I trust.”

“Why do you trust me, Sio?” Varn’s eyebrow raised. “We know I’m not the person you used to know. How can you trust your instincts?”

“Thomas,” Sylvia interjected. “You’re being unfair… to both you and her.”

“No, it’s okay,” the woman on a leave of absence said. “I understand what he means. It’s like this- the Thomas Varn I once knew would never hurt anyone intentionally. And the man I now know as Thomas Varn would never use this information to hurt someone else the way he’s been hurt.”

“You seem pretty sure of yourself,” Varn said.

“About this, I am.” She gave the same print and voice commands as she had in her stateroom on the SIREN’S SONG and the case opened, revealing a PADD. She handed it to him. “Here.”

She sat down and folded her arms, feeling a chill pass over her while he began to peruse the information she wanted to to give to him. She had kept the original; this was only a copy. If she had made a poor choice in Varn, and he refused to help her, she still hoped that one day she might find someone who would.

He read intently for about thirty seconds until the shock and rage of what he was seeing caused him to let the device drop from his grasp and clatter as it hit the coffee table. He quickly retrieved it and shook it at her. “You *brought* this into our home, after all the damage it caused? What were you thinking?” This upheaval caused the baby to cry, and Sylvia was quick to pick her up and take her into the other room.

Sio raised her voice to match his. “I was thinking in the right hands, this could help society. It could help pe-”

Varn got up and leered at her, angry. “I know I’ve changed, but you were the *last* person I thought would ever change. Becoming Saul Conniston’s cheerleader?” he spat. “I don’t understand why you even bothered.”

“Would you shut the hell up and let me explain?” Siobhan asked pointedly.

Thomas sat back down, doubtful. “Okay,” he huffed.

“I didn’t bring this with the intention of harming anyone here, or rebuilding a piece of Machiavellian machinery that anyone with a soul would know is an abomination. But the tech that it was built upon, if reutilized, reworked, could advance medical science by an order of magnitude. Did that occur to you?” Her face was impassioned, the tone of her voice harsh.
Thomas Varn was silent.

“Thomas, people use good things for evil purposes all the time. Why can’t someone take something bad and use it for the benefit of mankind?”

“And you’re asking me to be that someone?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m asking- not ordering. Not demanding. It’s up to you.”

Thomas settled himself a little. “LAVENZA II was destroyed, as was the original device and all the research- or so I thought. How did *you* manage to get this?”

She remembered her talk with Kane and shivered. “Someone gave it to me on EARTH a few days after Edgerton’s death. I didn’t ask them where they got it from. They suggested I might be able to make the decision to bring Dex back.”

Thomas hesitantly picked up the PADD again. “The questions you were asking me on that first day are making a lot more sense now. Bringing back the dead is a messy business indeed.”

“I know, maybe I’ve always known. It would absolutely be the wrong thing to do. Death is final, and playing with those laws is wrong.”

“Then why did you keep it?”

“For the same reason I’m wearing this ring,” she looked down at the simple band. “I thought it would ease the pain, somehow.”

“His death had meaning, and it had honor. Surely that is a comfort.”

“You can’t curl up at night next to comfort. You can’t have long talks with comfort. You can’t tell comfort how much you love him. You might ask Sylvia about that. I know she understands.”

Thomas’ mate stood in the opening between two of the main rooms, cradling their child, eyes wide with recollection. He saw his future in those beautiful eyes, sometimes forgetting she had seen a world with a future that did not include him.

“I’m sorry for questioning your motives,” Varn said to Siobhan.

“One day we’ll have to learn to stop having to apologize to each other,” Sio replied, gently hugging the winged man. “But for now, I need to get going.”

“I hope that means you’re coming back to visit, so we can keep practicing. We’re going to need lots of practice,” he joked weakly.

“Yes, of course,” she said, grinning back at him. “But I don’t know when.” She hugged Sylvia and kissed the little girl’s forehead.

“What do I do with… that?” he said, gesturing to the case and the PADD.

“As I said, it’s up to you, completely. No bad feelings either way. I’ve left it so you can change the encryption on the case easily for your own finger or thumbprint and code, and use it to store the Promethean information. To later develop it into something better than it was intended to be. Or you can take the PADD and crush it to smithereens.”

“There’s not really an in-between, is there?”

“No, this is too damning should it fall into the wrong hands. Hands like the next Conniston or Edgerton. We’d all be foolish to think the next crackpot wasn’t already out there.”
“After your leave is over, are you going back to Starfleet?”

“I don’t know. I’m not asking for active duty again until I am confident I can make decisions and demonstrate the responsibility that a Commanding Officer needs.”

“Your trip here would be enough for me to believe you’re ready now.”

Sio shook her head in the negative as she approached the front door and opened it. “Thank you, but I don’t feel that way.”

Varn tapped his heart. “Then I hope you can begin to feel what your actions show. We’ll be seeing you.”

“See you later,” Sio said, all of them knowing this wasn’t goodbye, but still hesitating as she turned, closing the door behind her.

Sylvia sat down, still cuddling their daughter. “What are you going to do?”

Thomas Varn was still a little dumbfounded. Plans and formulas for a machine and a process that had changed his destiny were now in his hands. “I can’t make a decision right now. But I’d say it’s time to close Pandora’s box until I can.” She watched as Thomas placed the PADD back into the case and code it to his thumbprint, and tuck it away in a cabinet that surrounded his workstation.

“Out of sight, out of mind?” Sylvia asked hopefully.

Thomas took their daughter and held her in his arms, letting her grab his finger with her tiny hands. He smiled at her, then looked at the love of his life. “Nope. Not by a longshot.”

NRPG: Part 3 of 3 in the Elandipole mini-arc. Thanks for letting me use Thomas, Justin! Do not adjust your television sets. I’m sending this to the whole Phoenix string- it will make sense as to why in the next few posts.

Susan Ledbetter

Writing for

Siobhan Reardon
On leave

And Borrowing
Thomas Varn
Civilian Scientist


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