<USS Banshee> "The Truth Shall Set You Free"

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 17:25:53 -0700

?The Truth Shall Set You Free?
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper

There was something about being able to walk among people you knew that made Josh feel good. Knowing that the person behind him wasn?t carrying a stake who?s intended target was his heart and that the person walking mere meters in front of him was being ravished by some silent assassin of a disease was something that should soothe even the weariest of souls. It was good to be home.

Granted, Josh liked to be able to get off the ship from time to time ? most often when shore leave was only visible on the ship?s long range sensors. He was grateful for the gray two-toned corridors even though he could remember walking through them with a hatred for redundancy and plainness. There was no fear of ambush here; there was no fear that the corner that was just ahead would be the last one he ever rounded. It was just an overall sense of normalcy, decency.

Thomas Lark rounded the corner. ?Maybe that?s not true after all??


Josh smiled, ?Nothing, Tom. I hope that tactical was functioning properly while I was gone?? He had the fullest faith in the young ensign ? who was approaching the rank of Lieutenant JG sometime in the near future, but Josh didn?t know his status off hand. ?I?m hoping that you didn?t destroy any friendly ships??

His laughing gaze was met with narrowed eyes, ?Funny, Josh. By the way you owe me two shifts. I was hoping that maybe you could switch with me this coming Tuesday and Wednesday?? Lark reached out and deposited a PADD in Josh?s outstretched grip.

?Oh, come on, Tom.? Josh?s eyes leafed through the PADD and the duty roster for the upcoming week. Josh would be pulling two weeks without a day off. Which, given the normal circumstances that he would?ve been in, he wouldn?t have minded being on the bridge for fourteen days. Now, with Telsia incapacitated with pangs of marital grief, and a young boy who needed more than a father, Josh felt as if he was abandoning them. ?When you set your mind to something you just go for the throat, don?t you??

Tom nodded, ?I want to go on a weekend getaway with Zoe.?

Josh?s eyebrows perked, ?Carmichael? From Science? I was under the impression that you were after Jenny in medical. Playing the field, Tom?? He knew from past experience ? and horror stories ? that Thomas Lark wasn?t the most suave, wasn?t the most talented, and not the smoothest when it came to wooing and hooking up with the ladies on board. Anywhere for that matter.

?Zoe has that air about her that she?s all business and no play. So I figure that I can take her on a date to the holodeck for two days and introduce her to the art of programming that is Joshua Asper.? He smirked and nudged Josh?s shoulder. ?So, how about it??

?Wait just one second. You?re going to force me to take two of your shifts so you can try and impress a girl you?ve never gone a date with some of my holoprograms? Forgive me, Tom, but it seems that I?m giving back a lot more than I took.? The tactical officer used his tactics as he crossed his arms. Josh enjoyed watching people who had power get dropped on their face. ?One day.?

Tom frowned, ?One day? That would only leave us three in the holodeck.?

?One day and I?ll let you have access to my best programs I?ve ever written.?

?Fine,? Tom almost stamped his foot, ?thanks Josh.?

Josh only nodded as he swiveled on his heel and continued down the hallway. His train of thought had been interrupted and he was running on empty as far as mental capacity was concerned. The data from the mission, collected by Lieutenant Sara Crusher, was being analyzed and he was content for that. Being a Starfleet officer he had the intuition to search out and find fraudulent claims and things of the sort, but somehow and for some reason he didn?t want to go back down there ? he was rather satisfied with being on the ship.

As the doors parted he felt something brush past his leg and Telsia almost ran into him. Cameron bolted into the hallway and down the corridor. Crewmen scattered against the walls as the youngster continued his prowl. Josh dashed out after him and scooped him off the floor. ?Where you think you?re going, buddy?? The child squirmed playfully in his grasp.

?He?s been feisty all day. We?ve played hide and go seek so many times I thought about hiding in an airlock.? Her smiled brightened his day just a little more as it gleamed in the artificial light emanating from the ceiling. ?Normally I can get him to rest and nap for an hour or so, but today all he wanted to do was play and mess with his toys.?

?Sounds like me when I was younger. My mother said I would run her crazy or I would just sleep all day and not do much of anything.? For the first time since Josh had taken in Cameron and Telsia he looked Cameron in the eyes completely and reflected on just how similar the two were. ?Speaking of which, I need to talk with you about something.?

Telsia took the flailing child from him and set him in his little playpen, ?Sure, what?s up??

?Just some little things that have been nagging at me. My brother called the other day when I was watching Cameron and he said that we had the same eyes.? Josh watched as Telsia visible stiffened at his remark. ?I also remember how you said that children like to be held by only their mothers and fathers ? and that he took such a liking to me in regards to that. I don?t want to overstep my boundaries here.?

She balked at his remark with a look of almost total disgust, ?How dare you! After all I?ve ? after all we?ve been through! To assume that he?s yours and that Eric isn?t really his father! I can?t believe you!?

?His name is Cameron for crying out loud! That?s my middle name! I remembered when we were dating all those years ago that you wanted to name your child after your husband?s middle name. You can?t just go and deny that I have any right to question it!? Josh was standing and yelling at this point, but he quickly got his emotions in check.

She shook her head and folded her arms. Her gaze went from engaging and social to withdrawn and distant; it was almost as if she wasn?t the woman he knew her to be. ?You have every right, I guess, to wonder about his origins and that Eric may or may not be his father.?

He didn?t want to cross any lines, ?Telsia, I was just curious because of the night we?d spent together before I was reassigned. I mean, I didn?t get to talk to you after that until I saw you in after the aerial demonstration for Ambassador Troi.?

?You want the whole story??

?I guess,? Josh was unsure and weary of treading into unknown waters. In a way he?d built up a resistance to the notion that the child was his, even though he?d missed the first two years of his life. Josh figured that the child wasn?t his and that he was just imagining things. Then again, even in the resistance he?d formed, he had a slight pain of wanting young Cameron to be his.

Telsia sighed heavily as she stood and walked across the room. Josh remained motionless on the couch, but followed her with his steady gaze. She turned her back on him and stared out blissfully at the stars and the looming planet just below them. The array of blues and greens splattered its surface with an odd reminiscence of home and the moment transcended into tranquillity.

?I didn?t know what to do. I was so scared and there was no one to talk to. You were at a classified location doing classified missions against classified enemies. You weren?t there for me to talk to. So I rushed out and found someone I liked. We dated for a couple of times and I threw myself at him with all intent to win his heart in some sick and twisted game.? She burst out into tears and her back heaved softly as they changed into sobs. ?I couldn?t go home to my parents and tell them that the child had no father. I mean, they?d look down on me and my relationship with them would be ruined.?

Josh?s eyes darted around the room as his mind twisted around what she?d just said and he stood. His mouth gaped open and he took a step forward. He wanted to say something, but the air and words caught in his throat and refused to come out as anything audible or understandable. She turned, tears still streaking down her red cheeks, and it hurt Josh so much to see her in such emotional pain knowing she?d already gone through so much.

?Josh, don?t say anything. He?s yours.?

His stomach lurched, but it wasn?t in pain or in excitement. He was totally breathless. ?Oh my God, Telsia.? He ran and grabbed her. He hugged her and she started crying openly, ?Don?t cry, Telsia. This is one of the happiest days of my life. Being here with you and knowing that we?re together as family. I love you.?

?I love you too,? Telsia managed to murmur.

He hoisted Cameron out of his playpen, the child smiled and pointed towards Josh, ?Da-Da.?

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