Lust, Love, Loss and Longing

FOTR Special 09

IDP 2020

vakashdarkbane

It had started innocently enough.

She could remember returning from that first mission together when the Raptor fended off the Urthean attack force in a last-ditch effort to protect the Starbase.

She remembered still coming down off the adrenaline rush as she and the rest of the crew left the bridge. Taking the ladder down to deck three and exiting via the gangway. She wasn't hurt so she just headed to her quarters to rest since the threat had been averted. She called the turbo-lift and stepped inside but before the doors closed Land stuck his hand between the door to stop it.

"Sorry." He said stepping in as the doors parted. "Hope you don't mind."

"No." Terri said as he stepped off to the side and rested against the wall. "Habitat Level." She said to the computer. The doors shut and the lift began to slowly move up. Main power must still be a bit sketchy due to the earlier attack.

She sighed it was going to be a bit longer ride than normal. She glanced at the fox and felt her heart skip a bit. She hadn't gotten a good look at him on the bridge save for the back of his head. He was quite handsome in a rugged sort of way and suddenly she felt her heart start to race slightly and her skin got very warm.

Land noticed Terri suddenly squirming uncomfortably. "Are you ok? You look like you're sick?"

She wasn't sick, she knew what it was. "Why now? Why him? I don't even know him?!" she thought to herself. "It's nothing just unwinding from all the excitement." She said laughing nervously, unzipping her tunic a bit to get more air. "Can't breathe with this damn thing you know how it gets."

"Right." Land said a brow rose out of curiosity. "You look a little tense."

"I'm fine Ensign," Terri said smiling. Damn he's cute. "Land… wasn't it?"

"Yeah." He said. "I didn't catch your name."

"Ensign Lu." She said. "Terri Lu, Communications / Systems Tech. Where'd you learn to fly like that?"

He relaxed a bit. "Been doing it all my life. I think I've finally found a ship that can actually pull off some moves without trying to tear itself apart."

"That ship isn't your normal ship of the line." Terri replied just trying to keep her mind on something other than what she was currently experiencing. "It's designed to be a destroyer type vessel in order to do with the numerous threats encountered on the frontier, not just the Urthean's."

"You sound like you helped put it together," Jack said leaning against the wall.

"Oh, just a bit here and there, mainly the computer," Terri said, feeling herself break out into a cold sweat. "Most of the time I just had to work with Fara and her people to make sure it all jived you know," she said using slang from his own planet and then wondering why the hell she just did that. Keep it together girl it's just soul touch, get over yourself.

Jack raised a brow at the use of the word then smiled. "I dig it." he said in response. "Hey, you know we just survived that mess out there, I could use a drink would you like to tag along."

"Yes!." Terri said excitedly. For the love of the gods what is wrong with me. She inwardly sighed, she'd felt this before but it was particularly bad this time to the point to where she felt like she was sitting in the backseat of her own mind."

"Cool." Land said, smiling. "Know any good bars around here, I just got here."

What was it with her and Cornerian's, she'd just ended a relationship with Rivas not that long ago and now due to a quirk in her biology it looked like she was heading down that road again. "Yeah, I do, it's called Lita's." Terri replied. "It's very much a bar, it's on the promenade level, computer, promenade level section C." She said the computer acknowledged her and the turbolift changed directions. "So you arrived with the new Commander?" She asked.

"Yeah. Not the most exciting of shuttle flights over here." Land sighted. "Used to be stationed on the Neosho, you?"
"Oh, I've bounced around a few times various postings before I got assigned to here, nothing more than a few months," Terri replied. "This has been my longest posting so far, been here almost 3 years."

"Wow, I was on the Neosho for about that long." Land said. "Long enough it's probably going to be a while before they get all my junk sent over here." he chuckled remembering the boxes of items he left packed sitting in his quarters."

"Oh well if you got a lot of stuff you'll like your quarters here, they're really large." Terri said. "With this being an old Keldryian station, they left them as they found them and just refitted them so they are really nice." Terri said. "Lots of space to stretch out in."

"Well good, I had pretty much filled up those little boxes they stuck us in on the ship about 6 months ago.' He chuckled. "I was starting to think maybe the bureaucrats screwed up and gave me the wrong room."

"Why do you have so much stuff, what are you hoarding?" Terri asked.

"I have a rather extensive movie collection," Jack said. "It's weird most worlds have at some point used film as a way to tell stories, I collect them when I go, especially horror films."

"Really?" Terri said.

"I probably got some you've never seen before from a few of the first contact missions we had out there." Land said. "Do you like scary movies too?"

"Yeah, I do." She smiled. "I'll have to borrow some from you if we're going to be shipmates." The lift stopped. "Maybe we can watch one after a few beers?"

"Sure!" Jack said, trying to play it cool and stumbling over himself. "I was planning on it. I'm still pretty amped up from today. I need to do something to wind down. I did bring a few and my player to boot, it's still in my duffel in my quarters"

"Sounds good to me." Terri said exiting the lift she was pretty sure he checked her out as she walked out and smirked. He quickly caught up to her. "Hey I'm glad you like old films, it's hard to find someone who does anymore most people just do holo novels."

"A film doesn't require an occasional trip to the infirmary." Terri smiled. "I'd rather watch someone get chased by an ax-wielding maniac than be playing their part." she laughed as they entered the bar. Lita's was dimly lit with an antique music player that droned various tunes from about the quadrant of similar styles and tones. A dull fog filled the whole place as the various patrons used Hooka's or smoked whatever other vices they had brought with them or procured at the bar. Many of them sat either playing various games or talking quietly. Terri walked up to the bar and hopped onto a stool and zipped down her tunic so she could cool off a little bit. Jack walked about the bar and looked around at the various things on the walls for a bit before he wandered back. Eventually, she gave up and just tied it around her waist while Jack sat beside her on another stool.

Jack looked a bit confused, but he would be he wasn't experiencing what she was. "Get a little warm?"

"Just trying to breathe a little." Terri said laughing it off.

"So what's good?" Jack asked.

"Well considering what we just went through i'd suggest Keldryian Ale if you want to relax." Terri said.

"Works for me."
"What can I get you." A middle-aged Eviasin Mink said stepped up to help them.

"Hi Lita, can we get a pitcher and two draughts of Keldyrian Ale." Terri said.

"Sure," Lita replied. "Who's the new fish?"

"He's our new pilot for the ship, we just got back tussling with the Urtheans."

"Ah ok, I'll get you the pure stuff then." Lita said heading back to a room behind the bar.

"This place take credits?" Jack asked.

"Yeah."

"Good I'll buy, do they have any food?"

"They have bar food." Terri giggled.

"You like pizza?" Jack asked.

"Occasionally." Terri smiled.

"Well, this is going to be one of those occasions," Jack said grabbing a leaflet menu and looking over it. Lita came back with the pitcher and two chilled glass and Jack ordered the food and paid for it. He saw Terri was waiting for him to pour her a glass and he did her's before he did his own. He rose his glass to her. "Here's to coming home in one piece."

"I'll drink to that." Terri smiled as they clinked their glasses and both took a drink.

The alcohol provided a brief relief to Terri as it at least lowered her core temperature a bit. Just keep your cool Terri, you are in control, you just met the guy and you just got out of a relationship that you just jumped into. This is soul touch,got to just keep my head, not get too drunk.

Land quickly downed his draught in a few gulps, set the glass on the bar and sighed happily. "That definitely hit the spot."

Terri laughed at him only taking a few moderate sips. "You might want to go easy on that it will sneak up on you."

"Bah I'll be fine i'll.." He suddenly his eyes bugged out a little. He held up his hand as he felt it take hold. "Ok, yeah i'll slow down thanks for the warning." He said pouring himself another draught. "Maybe wait till the pizza gets here."

He noticed the Tactical officer from the Raptor walk into the bar. He was red-furred with a scar over one of his eyes and he was rather tall and bulky for an echidna. He glared at Jack before taking another seat down by the bar.

"What is his problem?" Jack asked as Lita brought the pizza from the back.

"You are sitting in his stool, that's his problem," Lita said. "Don't worry he'll leave you be I'll get him his usual and he'll sit there and keep to himself. Just enjoy your PIzza."

"That's just how Jakar is." Terri smiled, grabbing a piece of pizza. "You'll be fine he's not as mean as he looks."

"I'll deal with him." Lita said. "You two just enjoy." Lita said sauntering over to Jakar and they began to talk quietly

"Thanks by the way." Terri smiled. "You are very generous to someone you barely know.".

"Old Cornerian tradition, we went into battle, we came back alive, we party." Jack smiled. "Enjoy, let's hope we get to keep doing it."

He was definitely a bit different than Rivas, Don always seemed to be a bit more restrained and serious compared to this fox. He seemed very laissez-faire and relaxed, she had to admit she found that difference alone appealing. When Don had lost the command of the Raptor to this new guy that had caused him to change. He suddenly wasn't the same wolf anymore, and despite her trying to help him through it he pushed her away. Things hadn't been that bad leading up to a few months ago when he found out that he no longer had command of the prototype ship. Then he started drinking a bit too much, they had a fight, words were said and they parted ways.

She knew he probably regretted it but they were done as far as she was concerned. She had loved him but after that fight and him changing like he had anything that had been there had withered rather quickly. Since then he was just sullen, withdrawn and angry at the entire universe.

"Something wrong with the Pizza?" Jack asked, snapping her back from her thoughts. "You looked like you bit into something nasty."

"No it's great It's great I was just thinking about something, don't worry about it." She said smiling. "So are you from Corneria or Papetoon?" She asked.

"Katina actually." Land said. "Son of a Colonel, raised on a colony, sounds like a folk song doesn't it?" He grinned wolfing down a pizza slice in a few bites and taking a smaller drink from his draught.

"I can relate, my parents were fleeters too." Terri said.

"What do they do?"

"Dad was an engineer, mom was a science officer." She said, smiling remembering them fondly.

"Oh wow, did they put pressure on you to join?" Jack asked.

"No," Terri said quietly. "I did in memory of them but to see the galaxy as well."

"Oh sorry, I didn't mean.."

"It's ok, their ship disappeared a long time ago, I was still a girl when it happened." Terri said, grabbing another slice.

"Well, I got pressed into it." Jack said. "Although the first time I got in an actual cockpit and got to fly a starfighter it wasn't so bad." He smiled.

"What would you have done if your parents didn't press you."

"I dunno, been a bum I guess." He shrugged. "I'll tell you one thing though when I found out I could get out of the Lylat system I was on the first ship out of there to the academy to get transferred over to this outfit."

"Do you like Starfleet?" Terri asked.

"Compared to what I was used to, oh hell yes." Land chuckled. "I love how you have your shift and then you are off, it's like a normal job except with alert conditions but you know what that's just fine with me."

For a moment something she had noticed with Rivas had suddenly become clear with her. Why he always seemed at edge although Rivas was a Fleet officer and maybe it was just a difference between pilots and crewmen on a Cornerian vessel.

"Hell you guys even get to enjoy a few vices on duty."

"As long as you take it in moderation," Terri said. "Some take it a bit too far, it's an easy trap to fall in too."

"Already been there, done that and got the t-shirt." Jack chuckled. "Harry got me straightened out." He said taking a drink.

"What did you do?" Terri asked curiously.

"I partied too hard one night and threw up all over the flight controls in the morning." Land said. "Captain Sixx was so furious they were finding molted feathers all over the bridge for months. He would have had my hide but Harry stepped in and got me all straightened out.

"So you two are friends?"

"I suppose so, I think he tolerates my company," Jack said shrugging. "I wasn't too happy about him dragging me out here but if I get to fly that little beauty while I'm here I think I can deal with it."

"What's he like?" Terri asked, finishing her slice and grabbing another. She noticed that Jack was waiting for her to get a slice before he took his next one. "The Commander?"

"Harry?" Jack said. "I don't know he's hard to pin down with a few words. He's a good guy, he likes to push people, sometimes a bit too hard." Jack took a bite and a swing and thought about it. "He reads a lot, he's pretty smart, he used to be an engineer and he keeps his cool when things get tough." he said after he swallowed.

Terri smirked. "Oh I think he and Fara will get along just fine." She chuckled.

"What do you mean about that?" Land asked.

"You haven't seen her temper, yet." Terri said. "If he can handle her he can deal with anybody."

"She seems a bit weird for an engineer." Land said.

"Fara is just very dedicated to her creation," Terri said. "Maybe to the point of it being a bit unhealthy." She paused as she saw Rivas enter from the entrance on the other side of the Bar. He didn't seem to have noticed her as he stopped to read the menu.

"Hey let's catch that movie." She said scooping up the pitcher and mugs. "Lita' we'll bring these back when we're done."

LIta nodded and waved engaged in conversation with Jakar.

"Grab the pizza let's go to your place."

"Sure." Land said quickly sliding the rest of the pizza into a box Lita had left for them.

They arrived at Land's new quarters, set the pizza and beer on the coffee table and land went to go fetch his player and movies from his duffel. The quarters hadn't been lived in yet and they smelled sterile and were devoid of any personal touches, the only furniture were the standard couches chairs and table that they all had. It was cold and terri went over to make an adjustment to the temperature settings but the climate control was offline. She walked over to a closet where she knew the bedding was as Land went to hook up the player to the viewer in the room. "I'm going to grab a blanket if you don't mind it's a little chilly in here."

"That's fine ." Jack said as he got to work hooking up his player.

"You might want to let station maintenance know your thermostat is broken, if you don't they'll never fix it." Terri said, pulling out a large felt blanket and heading to the couch.

"Thanks for the tip, I'll probably call them in the morning." Jack said hooking up the final collection before sitting on the other end of the couch and fumbling with the remote.

"So what are we going to watch?" Terri said grabbing another piece of pizza and getting under the blanket so she felt warm.

"I think it's "Attack of the Brain Slugs." Land shrugged. Getting himself some more beer and another slice as he settled back. "Computer dim the lights."

The computer acknowledged the request and Land hit the play button.

The movie was bad, and amusingly so but that made it enjoyable. Whoever did the dubbing into Confederation Common Language was having way too much fun doing so. The dub was as over exaggerated as the bad acting in the old black and white film. The effects were primitive and the story was pretty run of the mill. A swarm of extra terrestrial parasites invade a small town on Altairia and proceed to try to take over while a reluctant scientist and his friends try to stop them before they spread too far. They are ultimately successful and there was a needlessly slapped in romance between the male and female leads and it was utterly hilarious. The movie was very self aware and it was told that everyone making it was just having fun doing so and not taking it that seriously. Most Altairian entertainment was like that, even the rather gory later horror movies she had seen still had a wise ass protagonist that cracked jokes at all the horrible things going on.

They shared a few laughs and Terri tried to restrain herself and not freak the fox out. She really wanted him to make a move just to get a break from the hormonal hell she was going through but he was being a perfect gentleman, he even let her have the last slice of pizza. The movie ended and it was late at night.

"Hey thanks for hanging out with me." Jack said. "That was really fun."

"Yeah it was." Terri said, smiling.

"It's late, we should probably turn in the skipper wants me to meet him on the bridge tomorrow." Jack said.

"Yeah, but I don't have to go."

"Huh?" Jack said a bit confused.

"I mean i need to go too." Terri said laughing nervously. "A little tipsy, sorry tripped over my words there." She had to mentally scream at herself to get her to back up towards the door. "I'm sure the computer is all a mess from that battle, probably better get on top of y… it, ya know."

Jack smiled and yawned and stretched. "I hope we can do it again."

"Of course we can." Terri said as the door parted for her as she exited into the corridor.

"Want to hang out around lunch tomorrow?" Jack asked.

"Sure." Terri said. "Have a good night."

Jack waved as the doors closed behind her.

Terri took a few steps and then backed up against the corridor wall and tried to catch her breath. You get taught these things growing up and even her grandmother had told her to watch out for it when it hit but all that prior knowledge was no help. She stared at Jack's door fighting every urge to just run back through those doors and jump him. She made a mental note to see the Doctor about it in the morning and drug herself home.

She got up early and went to the infirmary the next day. Dr. Okan was there and he was able to see her. She was sitting on a biobed as he ran some tests on a blood sample of hers.

"Can you do anything for me Doctor?"

Okan looked at the readings and took a few notes. "What do you mean by that,do you mean, you want me to stop tens of thousands of years of Echidna biology from functioning?" He said. "I can't do that, trying to stop the biochemical reactions associated with soul touch can be extremely fatal. Tell me is this your first case?"

"I have never felt like this about anyone before." Terri said. "If that's what you mean, I didn't have nervous sweats, hyperventilating and everything is way too sensitive and can you turn up the heat in here?" She said.

"There is nothing wrong with the environmental controls Ensign." Okan replied. He checked his readings one the blood sample. "You have a trace amount of Kelricite in your system, did you ever have a relationship with an Altairian?"

"Yeah but it was a long time ago, when I was in the Academy," Terri replied. Okan looked at her profile and did some quick math in his head. He then whistled. "That must have been really hot and heavy by my math."

Terri flushed. "It's really none of your business."

"You came here to ask for my help so it is my business," Okan said frankly. "It might be also why you are having such an intense soul touch." He said, making a few more notes. "Prolonged exposure to Ketricite due to physical contact with an Altarian is all well and good as long as you maintain it. However, without maintaining that level of contact, it can cause some biochemical irregularities." Okan said handing the samples to a nurse and giving her a few quick instructions for the lab. "Your symptoms being partly the result have you ever experienced this before?"

"No." Terri responded.

"I see, normally most have been through their first case by the time they reach puberty and you never have?" Okan asked.

"Nope." Terri fidgeted. "Can you do anything?"

He huffed, being an Echidna as well he understood some of what she was going through although the effects weren't as severe for males. "I can give you something to help alleviate the symptoms but the only way to really stop experiencing them is to either follow through." He said with a pause. "Or deny it and deal with the consequences. Whom triggered it?"

"The new navigator that came with the Commander.?" Terri said.

"Oh dear, I can see why that might be a problem." He said thoughtfully. "That could present some definite awkwardness."

"Tell me something I don't know, Doc." Terri huffed. "How do you tell a complete stranger from a different planet and culture, oh by the way my hormones are going crazy telling me that you one of a few people in the universe I'm supposed to be with, want to go jump into the sack and then maybe be a couple, start a family, maybe have a kid or two?"

"Give me about 30 minutes. I'll have to make something on the spot that may help." Dr. Okan said. "But honestly the only way to make it stop is to let it runs its course." he checked on the pad. "You are due for your Reproductive Control shot as well, do you want to take care of that while you are here?"

"Yes, things are complicated enough right now." She said

Okan nodded. "I'll do what I can for you. Wait here." He said with a smile.

An hour later she was heading to duty feeling the symptoms a bit more suppressed as she walked into the ship's computer room. Jenna Rydel acknowledged her as she came in and then stopped short when she looked at her and a mischievous smile crossed her face. "Girl…. Who is it?" her friend said teasingly.

"What are you talking about?" Terri said, dismissing her.

"You are flushing under your fur, you are practically glowing." Jenna giggled. "You can't hide it from me."

Terri sighed. "Fine, it's the new navigator."

"Oh he's cute." Jenna said. "Kinda scrawny but cute, did you do anything?"

"No!" Terri snapped. "We hung out, watched a movie, ate dinner.

Jenna laughed. "Wow, that's pretty tame coming from you."

"Shut up." Terri glared. "I didn't want to make it weird."

"What's he like?"

"He's nice, we have similar interests, he's a lot of fun." Terri said. "I was only with him for a few hours but I didn't get any bad feelings about him. He didn't even try to make a move while we were watching the movie, we just hung out."

Jenna laughed. "Well good for you, I hope it works out."

Terri nodded. "Can we get to work please?"

"Of course," Jenna said handing her a padd. "Today's agenda, ever terminal on deck 3 refuses to work and displays random video feeds from all over the ship. We should probably get it fixed."

Terri sighed and looked at Jenna's findings on the padd. Fixing this was probably going to take most of the day.

The morning had started oddly enough.

Commander Martinez had come by while she was in the middle of dealing with her Taber cat being obnoxious and disrupting her morning routine. It was an informal interview and she answered his questions politely. She just wasn't expecting to be caught by her new commander before she was ready for the day.

Thankfully it was brief and the Commander left satisfied with their little talk.

Unfortunately it made her a little late, she finished getting ready and left her quarters heading for ops. The lift took its sweet time and when it finally arrived she ran inside and told the computer the destination before it registered to her that she wasn't alone when she picked up a familiar scent in the Turbolift.

She saw Don Rivas was in there as well as the doors slid shut and she settled back against the wall on the other side of the lift.

This was some undue awkwardness that she was not really wanting to deal with right now. Since their break up she had made it a point to try to avoid him anywhere outside of work. This was not something she really wanted to deal with right now.

Don seemed a bit pensive as well; he was flexing his fingers nervously and fidgeting. He looked as if he was trying to say something. Finally he did.

"Computer Halt the Lift." Rivas finally said.

The lift slid to a stop.

"Can we talk, off the record?"

"We have nothing to talk about Commander," Terri said, glaring at him.

Rivas took a breath. "Yeah we do."

Terri said nothing and she just went back to staring at the wall in front of her.

"Look, we had a good thing going, and I fucked it up." Rivas said.

Terri said nothing and kept staring forward, keeping her guard up.

"I am not going to beg you to take me back, I don't want you to. I said things I shouldn't have and I can't take them back." He said levelly.

"You threw a bottle at me." Terri hissed.

"I threw it at the wall, and I shouldn't have done it." He said. "You didn't get hurt did you?"

"Not physically." Terri huffed keeping her eyes fixed on the wall in front of her. "That's why you still have your commission."

Don sighed and looked at the ground. "I know I'm sorry won't cut it. I am, I truly am and I have to live with that every damn day since." He leaned back against the far wall of the lift away from her. "If anything I just want your forgiveness. I can at least live with that. You are a great gal, and we were good together, you made me very happy, but it's over and it's my fault. "

"Did you at least get some help?" Terri asked, finally turning to look him in the eyes.

"Yes I did and I haven't had any real liquor since that night, it's been Synthol since than." Rivas said.

She had loved him, until that night she came to his quarters months ago and found him drunk out of his mind. A few days after he found out he lost command of the ship that would become to be known as the Raptor. The details of the fight were hazy except for the scary parts, but Rivas had managed to scuttle the entire relationship in a matter of moments in his drunken outburst.

"I don't know what to say Don." Terri said kindly. "It wasn't what I expected."

"I mean it, you don't have to give me an answer right now." Don' said quickly. "I just am tired of walking around with it bottled up."

Terri nodded. "I got to think about this, right now I need to get up to ops before I'm late do you mind?"

"Of course, sorry, thank you. Computer resume." Rivas said and the lift started to move up again.

They got to Ops and Terri went over to the damaged control terminal where Lt. Briggs was waiting for her. "About time you showed up the Captain wants this console up and running before the end of the day and it's a bloody mess, I hope you brought your A-game Ensign." The white canine said, gesturing to the burnt-out mess. Terri looked at it and then over at Rivas as he walked up to Captain Stiles 'office. "What happened?" She asked.

"Took a compression beam right to the central processor. "It's going to take a miracle to resurrect this thing without replacing every dam component."

Terri smiled. "We'll see about that, do you have the casing already unfastened?" She asked.

"Got that done while waiting, you ready to do this." He said walking over to the cover of the lower part of the console and grabbing a handle.

"Of course." She said grabbing the other one and removing the cover.

A few days later.

The Raptor was on its way to Algion prime after a strange encounter with a spatial anomaly that nearly destroyed the ship. Jack Land was relieved to have that all behind him as he had just got off duty and was glad to get out of that uniform. After days like this, the damn thing felt way too tight and he was glad to have got out of it putting on loose jeans and a t-shirt.

All in a day's work I suppose. He sighed inwardly.

The chime on his quarters sounded and he walked over and hit the keypad and the door opened and Terri-Lu was standing there.

"Hey what's up?" He said smiling.

"Can I come in, it's been a bad day, don't really want to be alone, can I just hang out maybe?" Terri said smiling.

"Yeah sure, I'm trying to figure out what to eat right now, trying to unwind myself," Jack said. "I guess grab a seat on the couch. I'll think of something if you're hungry."

"Yeah I am, thanks." She said stepping inside and heading for the couch. She sat down and unzipped her tunic. It felt a bit too restrictive and she tossed it over the edge of the arm. She then unzipped the undershirt a bit just to feel comfortable as she leaned back into the couch and exhaled loudly.

"I will second that." Land said from the kitchenette.

"I hope the Commander doesn't always do things like that," Terri said. "I was scared half to death."

"At least you weren't' the one flying the ship." Land chuckled. "Usually Harry is pretty harmless unless he gets a wild hair up his ass. Good thing is, when he does come up with something crazy he did actually think about it first and he decided it was the best course of action to take. Pasta salad sound good? I don't really feel like anything heavy."

"Sure anythings fine." Terri said relaxing.

He came back with two plates of pasta and sat down beside her and dug into his own. "I don't have any movies here yet all we got is whatever is on the fednet data base."

"It's ok." Tere said as she started to eat. "After today I don't think they'd really do anything for me."

"Right?" Land chuckled. "Computer just play some relaxing music and dim the lights by 25%."

"ACKNOWLEDGED." the computer responded, lowering the light level.

"I feel calmer in dimmer light." Jack said. "It's so bright on the bridge I don't like being reminded of it on days like this."

Terri nodded in agreement. "I do the same thing, I also have a Taber cat and well he doesn't like the bright light all the time so I sort of have to live in the dark a bit."

"Don't those things bond to you for life?" Jack asked. "I've heard they can be a bit high maintenance."

"They do and they can be, but He has lots of toys to keep him busy." Terri replied. "I've had him since I was a girl so I'm stuck with him at this point." She said finishing the small meal and placing the plate on a side table. "Thanks."

"Yeah no problem." Jack said doing the same and leaning back on the couch.'

They sat in silence for a bit both just staring at the ceiling.

Terri was trying to keep focused from her own inner turmoril, although Doctor Okan had provided her something to alleviate the symptoms they were still very much there.

"Jack." Terri said cautiously.

"Yeah?"

"This is going to sound weird… but I don't really want to go home tonight. This day has been really messed up and I don't want to be alone."

Jack seemed intrigued and a little confused. "Ok." he said his voice betraying the sudden change.

"I mean, we don't have to.., unless , um.. I mean can you just..: She stopped herself, she was tripping over her words.

Jack chuckled. "Wow you are really sending me a lot of weird signals here." He said sitting up.

You have no idea. Terri thought. "Ok let me try this again, it's been a shitty day, I don't want to be alone. Is that better?"

"Sort. of." Jack said. "Look i think you are pretty cool, but I barely know you. We work together I don't want to make it weird."

"Oh it wouldn't be weird." Terri blurted and then caught herself. She took a deep breath and tried counting back from ten. "OK.." she said taking another deep breath. "What do you know about Termians, has Harry ever told you anything about us?"

"Not a lot." Jack said. "He's pretty quiet about it."

May as well just get it out in the open and see how he handles it.

"Look, we have this weird biochemical.. Notion we get around people who would be ideal mates." Terri said slowly. "It… doesn't have to apply to individuals of our species; it can be anyone, we don't really understand it ourselves. We don't really know what triggers it, we only understand enough to keep it from driving us too crazy." Terri said calmly.

"Like Alterians?" Jack asked.

"Sort of, but it's more self inflicted, we can't pass it on to another." Terri said. "Trust me if I touch you you won't suddenly become totally enamored with me. In fact, if you were an Echidna, you'd be feeling it as well but, well you aren't."

Land thought about it, it was a lot to process. "So you are in love with me?"

"Lust would be appropriate, the love part comes with time." Terri said. "I mean we can love people without it, and I have before but this is just more powerful."

"Ok this is just… a lot." he chuckled. "I mean I was kinda hoping to be friends first but you're saying if I just wanted to get down to it."

"I wouldn't reject you." Terri said cutting him off and blushing. "Sorry."

"Wow." He got up. "I need a beer, you want one?"

"Sure." Terri nodded. Just getting it out in the open brought a bit of relief to her she got up and followed him to the replicator, taking one of the two cans he made.

"Look i know it can be awkward, I used to date a Cornerian not that long ago, that was different enough just trying to do it without all this." she opened the can and took a few sips. It wasn't the real thing, it was synthale but it would do the job. "We're from two different planets, different social norms, courtship rituals, it can be challenging."

"Yup." Jack said taking a big drink. "The bitch of it is, when you're a younger man, all you do is dream about some gorgeous woman kicking open your door and demanding you jump in bed with her, you get older and it happens and you aren't really sure what the hell to do with yourself."

"Well that answer is obvious." Terri said.

Land looked pensive, she could tell he really wanted to oblige her but the more rational side of him was putting up a hell of a fight as he mulled it over in his mind. "Look since you've come clean I will, I've never been with a non Cornerian or anything other than a Vixen for that matter. I mean I've been curious, been tempted even, hell Doctor Oona on my last assignment was practically throwing herself at me." He sighed. "But Lizards weird me out."

Terri scoffed. "Yeah I know Cornerians have a big hang up about that."

"Well, I feel kind of bad about it." Jack said looking down. "I just couldn't get over my hang up. A lot of it's my dad. He served in the war, anytime something went wrong it was lizards that lizards this. I guess some of it rubbed off on me. I was hoping I could avoid being in a situation like that again but damn my luck and all that."

"So what are you going to do?" Terri asked.

"Well…. What can i do? I mean yeah sure we could just get down to it but I don't feel that would be right." Jack said, trying to phrase his words correctly. "I mean there has to be something."

"If you just hold me, and let me sleep with you, tonight, that would help a lot." Terri said. "Physical contact of any kind will help. We can work up to the rest later if you want but I can't promise how long I'll hold out."

"What do you mean by that?"

"The longer you put me off the longer you are going to regret it." Terri said finishing her beer.

"Oh.. well ok i will keep that in mind."
"Please do." Terri said. "So when are you going to turn in?"

"Oh probably pretty soon. Is this going to be an ongoing thing?"

"Probably unless you really piss me off." Terri said.

"Well I don't want to do that." Jack said. "Do you want to clean up, you can use my shower."

"Yeah I do, thank you, you can join me if you want I won't care."

"Wow you are not going to make this easy on me." Jack chuckled.

"No I'm not." She grinned wickedly as she unzipped her under shirt and tossed it over his head as he walked past him giving him a quick glance at her topless. "Like i said you are only going to regret it." she said slipping into the washroom.

Land hadn't expected that he grinned sheepishly as he removed the garment from his head.

"I'm sure I will." he chuckled. "I'm sure I will."

A few months later.

The Raptor had been fairly busy

Urthean raids, various missions, endless patrols, deadly space viruses, run ins with entities with god like powers, a creature hatching from a moon.

They barely had any time to spend together. They'd talk through text windows but at the end of their shifts they both retired to their quarters.

They were still a few days out from getting home after the adventure at Kistor.

Terri, was not faring well.

Part of her absence had been that ever since her infection with the poly water virus she just didn't feel well around Land.

She had seen Doctor Okan about it in private and he'd told her that it had severely messed up her hormone levels and he wasn't sure if there was anything he could do to fix it. He hopped that possibly it would level off but they would have to give it time. He did give her some medicine to help her with the symptoms but all it did was give her some relief.

She sat in her quarters in her pajamas holding her head waiting for the migraine that she'd started to experience each night to pass so she could sleep. It was severe and it always came on so strongly to the point it about drove her to tears. All she could do was wait for the medication to set in. She really wished her Taber Cat was around, he'd be a great comfort now if he was here.

That was only the greater half of it, she could deal with the fact that Knackt would always give her a knowing wink from time to time after her little tryst with him and Jenna while she was infected.

Jack had thankfully been distant as well. She figured,out of guilt, which was silly, which also indicated he did something too while under the influence of the virus as well but she hadn't heard whom he was with. It wasn't that she cared, she just found it amusing that he thought she did, it was sweet at least.

Her door chime went off. "Who is it?" She croaked.

"It's me… Jack can I come in?"

"I am not really feeling well, can you keep it short?" Terri said.

"Yeah what's wrong?" Jack asked over the speaker.

"I don't want deck one knowing my problems come in and stand by the door."

"Ok sure." Jack replied.

Terri thumbed the door control by her bed and Jack entered the room.

"Hey." He said noticing the room was barely illuminated..

"Hey." Terri said.

"You look miserable what's up?"

"That virus messed me up a bit." Terri said. "Gives me migraines at night."

"Oh, sorry to hear that. Do you want me too…"

"No.. Stay over there." Terri said, holding up her hands. "It really messed me up if you get to close it will get worse."

"Really?!" Jack said, seeming a bit hurt.

"It's not that I don't want you too.. I just can't be around you right now." Terri sighed feeling the migraines edge start to come off. "I'm sorry."

"I get it." Jack said. "So it basically reversed the whole soul to touch thing?"

"Not completely I still like you. It's just I get nauseous when you get too close." Terri sighed.

"How long will that last?" Jack asked.

"I don't know Doc hopes not long."

"That sucks."

"Yup."

They were silent for a moment.

"I hate to say this but we are going to have to cool things off a bit and hope this passes. Please understand I know it sounds ridiculous after what I've put you through." Terri said apologetically. "I just need to get past this…

"I do and It's ok." Jack said. "I'll find something to do to keep myself busy."

"I'll miss our time together." She smiled.

"Yeah I will too." Jack said. "I'll let you be.. Have a good night."

"You too." She replied and he started to leave. "Jack…"

"Yeah?"

"Whatever you did, I won't hold it against you. I wasn't much better."

Jack was silent a bit. "Thanks." He said after a pause. "Take care Terri." The doors parted and she could see him smiling with relief.

Terri flopped back in her bed and sighed heavily. That could have gone a lot worse.

A month had gone by before she started to feel better. Her and Jack still chatted via terminal chat she could tell he missed her at first. Then they had suddenly picked up several escort missions and social time was once again diminished. They had grown apart in that time much to Terri's ire.

Then on a day she had about gave up on him she got a message on her data padd as she waa on the bridge talking to O'mara.

"What's that?" Michelle asked.

"It's a personal message," Terri said, opening it intrigued and reading it.

Terri, I know it's been forever but do you want to go on a date? I am thinking maybe a movie, some drinks on the holosuite your pick. If you are up for it.

"Whose it from?."

"None of your business," Terri said, flushing a little under her fur. "Excuse me." She quickly hurried back over to her station. "I got something I need to take care of."

She hurried back to her station and quickly responded.

Yes. Talk later. 3 Terri

Harry's orders suddenly caused her to jump a little as he ordered her to send an encoded transmission to Starbase 186 to update them on their status and she quickly went to work doing so. Only a few moments later things got crazy, the Raptor jumped right into battle with Xox and his small fleet afterwards, everything was going fine until there was a loud piercing noise that reverberated throughout the ship followed by a rather large concussive blast.

Terri tried to shield herself as her console overloaded and felt shards of plasteel strike her forearm and neck as the power surge sent plasteel flying at her.

She then felt something rapidly trickle down her neck and she realised she couldn't talk and she tasted blood. She quickly slapped one of her hands over her neck and with her free hand quickly sent a message to the sick bay for emergency medical teams. She applied as much pressure as she could but the blood just kept coming. She tried to stay calm and applied as much pressure as she could. Terri tried to call for help as she started to get dizzy but nothing came out and everyone else was preoccupied with getting the ship away. All she could do was wait, thankfully Nurse Twila and a Medic showed up and treated her injury fairly quickly and Jack was told to take her to her quarters.

The doors opened and the lights were off. Jack commanded the computer to turn them on and they only partially came on reviewing the mess in Terri's quarters as anything that wasn't nailed down had been tossed about the cabin.

Jack helped her towards her bed and sat her down. "Good grief they sure got you wired up like a Sols day tree don't they?" Jack said.

Terri grunted tiredly.

"Well I think the uniform is shot." Jack said. "I don't think you want to lie in that mess do you?"

Terri nodded in agreement.

He helped her take the top tunic off and tossed it into the recycler. Suddenly his combadge beeped. He tapped it. "Land here."

"Jack I expect you to return to your post once Lieutenant Lu is settled." Harry said over it's speaker. "How is she?"

He looked over at Terri who took a slow drink of water and gave a weak thumbs up.

"About as well as she could be, she's settling down now. I'll be up in a bit."

"Very well. Martinez out."

"Hey I gotta go." Jack said.

Terri nodded.

"I guess our date is, out than."

Terri shook her head no.

"Really?"

She shook again and then made a dismissive gesture.

"Ok ok, I get it. Get better ok?" Jack said.

Terri lay back on her bed and waved at him and he left.

She sighed contemplating what to do and hoping they could get away. As the minutes past eventually the alert was silenced. The ship's deck shuddered badly and the engines sounded horrible. She tried to cover her head with a pillow to drown it out. Whatever happened, it had been bad and the Raptor was letting them know it. The lighting in her quarters was only the dim emergency lighting and she couldn't even get the computer to play music or something to drown out the noise.

Eventually hours later Nurse Twila came by and removed the device on her neck, she looked tired and haggard.

"How bad?" Terri croaked.

"Your neck will be fine, your vocal cords will heal in time." Nurse Twila said putting the device away and checking her vitals.

"The ship."

"I know." Twila sighed. "It's bad almost half the crew is just gone, the other half are injured to varying degrees. You need to focus on resting, don't worry about that for now."

Terri felt sick to her stomach, she wondered if any of her friends had been among the dead.

"Now just get some rest, Dr. Okan will want to see you when we get back to starbase." Twila said gathering up her kit and the device that was formerly strapped to Terri's neck. "Your injury is healed, just take it easy on the talking for a few days. Drink some honeyed tea, any kind you like that will help and lots of water."

"Ok." Terri rasped laying back on her bed and tried to put the horrible what if's out of her mind.

Sometime Later.

Jack and Terri exited the theater after the movie and Jack groaned seeing the downpouring of rain outside as the holographic movie goers went out into it with you.

"I forgot to shut off the weather." Jack groaned. "Computer.."
Terri nudged him and shook her head negatively. "Like rain." She croaked.

"Ok well if you insist, I didn't really plan on this."

Terri shrugged and then pointed to the canopies lining the street from the various shops beside the theater and gestured they could walk under them.

"I guess you got a point, I could always see if one of the shops have an umbrella. Come on." He said walking down the street. Land was trying not to make her talk to much but he was wondering how she was feeling. She seemed ok all things considered. They walked for a bit before he decided to ask.

"How's that headache you said was bothering you."

Terri made a so-so gesture with her hand.

"Oh.. so not as bad?"

Terri sighed and nodded.

"I guess that's something than."

Terri nodded and grabbed his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder.

Jack smiled and they continued. "There's a little burger joint down here I figured we'd grab something to eat afterwards, that sound good to you?"

Terri smiled and nodded and squeezed his hand.

Jack was relieved, somewhere no more than a few meters from them the doors to the holosuite and the wonderful reality that they were trying to escape from at the moment. He wasn't really wanting to go back to that quite yet.

Terri sighed, she really wanted to talk to him, tell him how much she missed him but her throat was really sore even whisper talking was becoming an ordeal with the damage to her neck. She was hoping wherever they were going they had something very cold to drink. She looked up at jack as they walked. He looked happy, maybe somehow he just understood and she didn't have to say anything.

They walked into what looked like a cafe and Jack took a seat at the counter. He handed her a menu. "Now I get you aren't exactly talkative right now so just point to what looks good. I already had the computer put the menu in Termian so you can read it."

Terri nodded thankfully and flipped through the menu. She thought it was funny that he remembered that one little detail in the simulation but forgot to disable the weather in the simulation.

Terri flagged down the waitress and hoped the simulation was smart enough to read her pantomime for something to write. Thankfully, it did, after a few tries and she was able to scribble on a napkin.

She tapped jack on the shoulder and pointed at the note.

I am having a wonderful time, i missed spending time with you. I am sorry I have been so distant I haven't been right since the virus incident. Don't have enough room for details.

"It's ok. I don't think any of us were." He smiled. "I am just glad you said yes."

Terri smiled back and nodded.

She started to right again. I should tell you that when I was infected …

Jack snatched the pen out of her hand. "No don't bother I don't care i don't want to know. I am more worried about your migraines. What has been going on?"

Terri nodded and gestured for the pen back and grabbed another napkin As she wrote he leaned over and read each word.

She explained how the polyvirus had messed up her hormones, how being around him made her sick until recently and that she no longer felt the strong biochemical urges of the "soultouch" but she still liked him despite that.

Jack nodded as she furiously scribbled the message and was quiet for a moment as he processed it. "So we are back at square one?"

Terri shrugged than sighed.

Thunder boomed outside and the wind and rain kicked up throwing water against the windows.

"Are you going to order or play charades all night?" The waitress asked.. Terri pointed to what she wanted and Jack placed his order.

Jack was quiet, deep in thought as he stared into the glass of soda the waitress brought him. Terri kicked her feet as they dangled from the barstool just to try to keep her mind of the silence and the sleepiness the drumming of the rain was causing her "You know, maybe this isn't a bad thing."

Terri looked at him inquisitively. Jack chuckled. "Let's just say, what happened to me broadened my horizons a little. So in some weird twist of fate we've managed to switch places in a way.."

The irony wasn't lost on her and she nodded.

"We start over from now. Try again with how things are and go from there ok?" Land suggested amicably.

Terri smiled and nodded then hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you." She barely squeaked out.

"No problem."

He then saw her grab the pen and napkin again.

One day you have to tell me what happened to you. I am sure that no matter who it was it won't top mine. Promise?

Jack laughed as he finished reading the note. "Only on our wedding night, if we make it that far."

Terri gave him a playful glare and quickly scribbled. That's extortion.

"I know it is!" Jack laughed. "Gives us something to shoot for doesn't it?"

Terri smiled, she knew that he was putting her on the same spot she did to him at the beginning, just in his own way.

You are on. She scribbled.

Time passed as it does.

They continued to see each other taking it slow but the more they did Terri noticed that gradually the symptoms got less and less to where she could just treat them as a mere annoyance. The Raptor was gradually given more and more side duties and oftentimes they just used whatever off time they had to see each other.

Mess Hall shortly after the encounter with the Exeter and the Space Pirates.

They sat across from each other enjoying a late evening dinner under the stars streaking buy in the Raptor's mess hall.

"I still can't believe Harry had you ram those ships." Terri chuckled.

"Ugh I am trying to forget about it Fara has been giving me daggers since she got back."

Terri laughed. "Why it wasn't your call."

"I was at the controls, that's all she cares about." He sighed. "Plus I am an easy target being a junior bridge officer."

"I'll try to talk to her and get her to lay off." Terr sighed.

"Could you?"

"You know maybe if you did have a higher rank maybe she would respect you a bit more." Terri shrugged. "How long have you been in the fleet now?" She asked realizing it had never come up.

"Seven years." Jack sighed.

"Why are you still an Ensign are you trying to set a record?"

"Har har." Jack said dryly. "I wasn't always. I used to be a full Lieutenant. I did something stupid and got busted down so hard I am barely clinging onto the bar I got left. Don't really want to talk about it ok babe?" He said stabbing dejectedly at his food with his fork.

"Ok, fine I was just curious is all."

"It's not that I want to be an ensign forever I just can't get out of this slump. I do what i am told not sure what is wrong."

Terri sighed. "I may know but you don't want to hear it."

"Maybe I do." Jack said.

"Well you know how I took that yeoman position to help Harry out, right?"

"Yeah?"

"Well.. Harry has progress reports he puts in for all of us once a month." Terri said. "It's how command evaluates promotions and things like that. He's doing what he can for you but you really need to work on a few things." She leaned forward. "I probably shouldn't even be telling you this but I'm trying to help."

"So what am i doing wrong?"

"Being tardy is a lot of it, not really showing much drive."

"So what he bags on me for all the time."
"He's trying to help you Jonathan." Terri said calmly reaching over and squeezing his hand. "He wants you to try harder and stop being late all the time. You also don't turn in your debriefing reports in a timely fashionYou need to start showing up to the morning briefings and things like that. I can help you if you like."

"Why is it a big deal to you?" Jack asked.

"Well forgive me for caring, you are my boyfriend aren't you?" Terri smiled. "Come on with a little effort you'd get that rank back. How long ago was it."

Jack did a quick calculation in his head. "Over three years."

"Then you are out of the probation period." Terri smiled. "Sheesh what is with you Cornerians and not reading the rules and regs."

"What do you mean by that?'

She giggled. "Nothing, just take a look at that little blue folder they gave you and brush up on it a little it wouldn't hurt."

"Sure." Jack smiled. "Thanks. Maybe we could take a look at it together instead of our usual movie night?"

"That would be fine." Terri said a bit tiredly. "I don't think i could get through one without falling asleep anyways."

"We could read it in bed." Jack suggested.

"We could." She smiled.

"I've been meaning to ask." Jack said carefully. "How's the medical thing going, not that I don't mind being patient."

"It's going." Terri said irritatedly, jabbing at her food. "The cuddling and being intimate helps but I still get a bit nauseous when we start kissing or footing around. If you would have dove right in at the beginning we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"On that note, how long have we been seeing each other now?" Jack awkwardly said, trying to change the subject.

"I dunno." Terri said. "Close to a year."

"Really?"

"Mm hmm" Terri said, taking a bite. "Why is that a personal best for you?"

"Well…" Jack said a bit nervously. "Yeah. I mean not that I haven't tried but usually my relationships don't last this long. With you it's different?"

"How?"

"I don't know, maybe we've taken time to getting used to each other, it's been great getting to know you , it's like you a really good friend, but more than that…"

"Not someone you are just yiffing?"

"Yeah."

Terri put her fork down. "Jonathan… is there something you are wanting to say?"

He looked a bit nervous. "Yeah, I love you Terri. I mean it too, you mean a lot to me, you are all I think about everyday. You are the smartest, coolest woman I have ever known and I have so much fun with you." Jack said smiling. "I don't really want to be with anyone else."

"So… that's why you stuck around?" Terri said somewhat relieved. "Even with everything?"

"Of course, look I"m sorry when you first showed up at my door and started sleeping over of course i wanted to just jump right in but… I've been there. It doesn't really last."

Terri gave him a droll look and then dabbed a napkin at her muzzle. "Well for one you are entirely mistaken in the case with us." She laughed. "But… it's been fun getting to know you a bit more too, I love you too Jonathan, it's been great getting to know you. I mean, you are the first guy i've been with who likes to watch my twisted horror movies." She chuckled. "Most don't even get past the first one."

Jack laughed. "Are you kidding? I wouldn't have missed those for the world."

"Plus, you are a really nice guy and you don't drink, other than being kind of a nerd sometimes, what you see is what you get, I like that about you." She said reaching across the table and grabbing his paw affectionately. "I think you are more intelligent than you portray yourself to be, I don't understand why you don't utilize it."

"What makes you say that?"

"You completed at least two of those Number puzzle books on my nightstand." She said. "I know I didn't do it, it's filled with your handwriting. Plus I know you calculate course adjustments in your head without consulting the computer."

Jack seemed shocked.

"Jack, honey, I'm a computer specialist you didn't think I would check in on you out of curiosity?" Terri smirked. "Anyways, you started with how I'm feeling?"

Jack nodded understanding.

"It's a little better, don't get me wrong." Terri sighed. "Doctor Okan thinks it may clear up in another month or two." She looked up at him and despite the nausea gave him a devilish smile. "When it does, you had better be ready?"

Jack felt like a small mouse being stared down by a large predator. "Oh I will be."

"You'd better." She said playfully kicking at his feet under the table. Jack returned the playful pokes back at her and they giggled like two kids misbehaving in the classroom. "It's a date, I'll stay over and make you breakfast and then we'll work on getting your act straightened out."

The time did finally come, at least a few weeks later, much to both of their relief.

Any down time they had now they quickly rendezvous and made up for the lost intimacy and when not doing that just enjoyed each other's company. They spent a lot of time in each other's quarters for days on end. There was Genuine Love there other than just the passion, oftentimes they'd sit around talking about nothing in particular or just enjoying being together and doing things. Jack was especially thrilled when he found out she played the same game console he did although she never told him that she was his greatest nemesis on the shooter game. They played it cooperatively and had a lot of fun being on the same team. Although he still played it a big more often than she cared for. She had talked him into taking the advancement test but she had noticed that the materials she had provided were becoming a bit too untouched on his nightstand.

Was he not taking it seriously? Was he even studying it?

Time passed.

Jack was watching the Fed Net channels on her couch when she came up behind him and put her arms around him giving him a hug and kissing his cheek. Taber her pet cat yowled at her in protest. Jack returned the gesture and she shewed her Cat away and sat beside him on the couch. Taber, not being one to be denied jumped into her lap rather roughly and yowled demanding she pet him.

"You upset him." Jack chuckled. "He doesn't like you loving on me when he's around."
"Well he can deal with it." She said, stroking the beast's coat while the creature gently clawed into her slacks. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure?"

"How is studying going on that advancement test?"

Jack's expression shifted. "It's going. Just been a bit busy is all." He said dismissively.

"Do you need help?" She asked.

"No." Jack said. "I've got it."

Terri frowned. "Well, you only have a week before.."
"Look I'll take care of it, why is it such a big deal anyways?" Jack said irritatedly. "You've been on me to get that damn thing done for a month. What is with you lately?"

Terri felt a bit hurt and Taber hissed at Jack and ran for his spot in her bedroom, accidently cutting her legs as he bolted. "Nothing with me.. I, I just thought you wanted to be a lieutenant again?!"

"You've brought it up at least a few times a week in the last month or so. I'm getting sick of you asking me about it." Jack said, folding her arms over his chest.

"But.. I just want you to be successful is all." Terri said. "You don't want to stay an ensign forever do you?"

"Maybe, Maybe not there's nothing that says I can't." He scowled. "Badgering me about it isn't going to help."
"Jack… I'm not badgering you." Terri said trying to figure out where this was coming from, yes she was trying to push him but she didn't realize she'd crossed a line somewhere. Or had she. "I love you, I just want you to live up to your potential."

Jack huffed. "Maybe you expect too much out of me. Look I will deal with it in my own time, stop bothering me about it. I come here to relax and be with you not be bothered with... " He caught a glimpse of her face full of confusion and hurt and he decided to shut up. "Look, it's my problem, you wouldn't understand." He started to get and she grabbed his hand.

"Jack I want to understand, Please what's wrong… Let me help you." Terri pleaded.

Jack's scowl softened, but only softly. "No… you can't. I need to leave, before I say something stupid and wreck this like the others. Terri, let me go, please."

She did reluctantly and he walked over to the door. "Try to have a good night." He said her back to her.

"See you for breakfast?"

Jack shook his head. "Going to sleep in for once, maybe tomorrow."

"Okay…" Terri said dejectedly.

He left quickly without saying another word and the door to her quarters slid shut. Terri sat back on her couch trying to figure out just what had just happened…..

A week later…

With a crippled ship, half the crew stranded on a planet's surface and possibly captured by Urtheans, somehow that event was burning like a white hot fire in her mind's eye as she entered Harry's ready room. She was so angry at how he had been acting towards her during this whole crisis she just wanted to scream and let him have it, but she was the ship's command officer and she had to maintain some sort of professional candor with him even if they were lovers. As the doors to the corridor shut she turned to face him with Harry's desk between them.

"What do you want, Ensign?"

"Can we talk without all this formality?" Jack asked.

"Fine." Terri said crossing her arms.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier." Jack said sincerely.

"That's the best you can do?" Terri said annoyed.

"Hey there's no need for…."
"Stuff it." Terri snapped back at him. "You need to understand something, the instant command fell in my lap, before anything else, this ship and everyone on it is my responsibility." She took a breath. "Everything else is a secondary concern, maybe if you would bother to stop being such a jackass and take on a bit more responsibility you would understand that, Ensign."

"Hey, I like where I am, I fly ships, that's what I'm happy doing." Jack said defensively.

Placed her hands behind her back clenching them into firsts. Is that why you put off taking that test, you are lazy?! You disappoint me. She thought.

"Well maybe some of us have better aspirations then that." Terri glared, growing for the first time angry and frustrated with him. She loved him, she wanted him to be better than he was but he was just fighting her, maybe this was a fight that needed to happen but even deep down she knew this was not the time but it was coming out now. "What really pisses me off is I needed you and you were not entirely helping the situation. If that's how you are going to act when things get bad with me.." She said rubbing her forehead. "Then maybe we don't need to be seeing each other anymore…"

"What, hey wait… I said I was sorry I meant it." He said, looking wounded.

Suddenly a com signal sounded and Terri pressed the acknowledge key. "Yes, what is it?"

Dr. Okan mentioned something about the Urthean's they had brought on board wanting to speak with her but she wasn't really paying attention. "I'll be right down." She replied, closing the channel.

"I don't really care if you are sorry or not…" Terri sighed. "I look at it this way, I'm not always going to be a lowly Lieutenant, I may even get transferred, or even get my own ship someday. You on the other hand seem perfectly content to just sit there and fly. Quite frankly I'm having trouble restraining myself from throwing you in the brig for insubordination, but I need our best pilot at the helm. Return to your post Mr. Land."

She pushed passed him and out into the hall. She felt horrible she didn't know if she was sick with something, the fatigue of the last several hours or what, she just wanted this whole nightmare to end. If she couldn't rely on him to support her in the worst of times, what good was he? It was over, as far as she was concerned, she'd deal with her personal life once the ship was out of danger.

Deep down under the anger, there was a deepening sorrow, but she didn't have time to cry right now, she needed to put on a good front with the Urtheans.

Even after the break up, something didn't seem right.

She felt horrible, she felt alone, abandoned, she wasn't sleeping well.]

Groggily she got up and stared into the beleaguered image in the mirror of her quarters on starbase 186 as Taber hopped onto the vanity and drug his tail under her snout mowing demanding her get an extra meal. She shewed him away and stared into the mirror. She looked, destitute.

"Come on Terri, girl what is wrong with you?" She said tiredly. "You've lost one, dumped two you are tougher than this."

The image in the mirror didn't respond or provide any solace.

She felt alone, terrifyingly alone and uncertain, why she had no reason. She wanted Jack in her bed beside her and she couldn't understand why. It was over but for some reason she wanted to be held in his arms again.

He'd been by earlier in the day to exchange items that they had borrowed form each other with very few words, did that stir something in her.

No that was stupid, the weird thing was she really needed a drink after he left and the thoguht of alchahol just did not sit well with her, wich was weird as well.

She looked at the wall chronometer. It was the wee hours of the morning and she had a duty shift starting at 0700 and Jakar's self defence class an hour before that.. So she went to the replicator and made a mint tea to try to relax and go to bed. It helped but she still found herself fitfully sleeping.

A few days later.

"What do you mean a Mother?!" Terri blurted out still in shock after Doctor Okan broke the news to her.

"Well it's simply a matter of biology when a male and female…" Okan said being facetious.

""That's not what I meant." Terri growled.

Okan grinned. "I know but asking an elementary question gets you an elementary answer."

"But, no.. not now, when how.. Don't answer that." she said feeling the room spinning glad that the Doctor had told her to sit down. "I mean, I know who its just.."

"Well good, I am sure there was a father, children don't just appear out of thin air…. Usually." Doctor Okan said tapping something into his data pad.

"I'm sorry this is just… A lot. Can i get a drink of water or something?" Terri said, feeling a bit faint.

"Certainly." Okan said getting up and heading for his replicator and handing her a glass of cooled water that she drank ravenously trying to clear her head.

"How long?" She asked.

"Well judging by these readings and the rate of cellular division I'd say we're almost halfway through the first trimester." Okan replied.

Terri did the math in her head, and unfortunately it added up. She did forget to tend to getting her anti pregnancy shot.

"There are some unusual readings in the fetus, nothing too disturbing but I do need to ask for your sake and the child's who is the father? In case there is any complications."

Terri swallowed. "Land, Jack Land."

"Ah…. I see. Hybridization, that would be the readings I'm seeing." Okan said, reassuring only himself.

"What's that mean?"

"Well my dear you're not the first Termian to have a successful mating with a Cornerian, due to the highly irradiated nature of their home world, they've become quite adept at crossing with other species." Okan said matter of factly.

"I didn't think that was possible." Terri said, staring blankly into her reflection in his desk.

"Well nature does funny things when you keep irradiating your atmosphere with decades of war. Not to mention all the fun things a binary star system does to your dna." Okan said with a bemused whistle. "Look it will be fine you will just have to follow some strict dietary guidelines. Plus come in for regular check ups, and these will be mandatory, is that understood?"

Terri nodded.

"Are you going to tell him?" Okan said, smiling.

"I.. we aren't seeing each other anymore." Terri said, still staring at her reflection.

"Oof." Okan said sitting back in his chair and running his hands through his hair before placing them behind his head. "That's a pickle to be sure."
Terri nodded.

"You should at least tell him." Okan said.

Terri nodded again but that was all.

How's that going to go? Hey Jack, sorry about dumping you by the way you knocked me up, She thought.

"Thank you Doctor, is there anything else?" She said flatly, trying to process it.

"No unless you don't think you can make it home. Oh, you might want to spar any more, don't want to risk taking a blow to your abdomen."

Terri nodded. "Yeah thanks… I'll work out something with Jakar." She got up and wandered out of the med bay's door into the promenade.

Well, you really got yourself in a mess now Terri. She thought as she slowly made her way back home. It's his baby too he needs to know, but how are you going to break it to him? She groaned in frustration and walked over to a turbolift and called it. One arrived and she stepped inside and gently bumped her head against the back of the padded wall trying to think her way through this whole mess.

When and how was she going to tell him? It wasn't like she could hide it forever. How would he react? How would she react if he didn't want anything to do with it. She started to feel herself panic, so she took a few deep breaths and tried to compose herself. She would have to confront him when she was ready. Why was it she could face off with that Urthean Commandant Xox twice and not be afraid but when it came to talking to Jack land she was utterly terrified of what might happen.

Unfortunately, when the moment came, it was too late.

"Ensign you turn that shuttle around right now…" Terri snapped.

"Or what you'll toss me in the brig?! We don't have time for this Commander, things going to destroy Altairia and I'm going to ram this bomb right up it's keester and get out if I'm lucky."

"But… you…" Terri stammered. "You could be killed."

"I could be, most likely, or not." Jack chuckled. "Fifty fifty shot either way it'll be interesting to see how it plays out."

The channel became a bit more hazy. "Jack, look I have something important to tell you that you need to know." Terri said suddenly. Jack don't do this, please.

"Well it's a bit late for that sorry, babe." Jack said sadly. "I'm starting to lose transmission. I need to put power to more important things. I may not see you again. Before I go.."

"Don't say that."

"Terri…" He said gently. " Before I go I just want to tell you, you were fantastic." He said with a mirthful grin.

Terri's lip twitched.

"And you know what?"

Terri shook her head no.

"So was I." Land said, gunning the shuttle engines and plunging the Talon deeper into the leviathan causing the channel to cut off.

"Commander…" A female voice said gently as Terri felt someone grasp her shoulder and gently shake her.

Terri blinked her eyes and raised her head, her eyes were caked with dried tears and she noticed that the picture of her and Jack was smeared with them. It took her a minute to gain her surroundings. "Plex is that you?"

"It is commander." The Bem responded. "You were supposed to retire for the night over an hour ago."

"What are you doing in my ready room?" Terri asked.

"That would be a question I should be asking you Commander." Plex said levelly. "I came buy to drop off my report on the Nebula we scanned a few days ago."

Terri sniffed and nodded her head. "Right. Nebula I asked you to do that."

"You did." Plex asid evenly. "Are you ok Commander?"
Terri tried to straighten herself up in her chair. "I need to go to bed that is all.

"Indeed." Plex said, grabbing the picture and looking at it. "You appear to have been crying." Plex said grabbing the picture with one of her four arms and looking at it. Terri could tell that the rather observant Plex wouldn't take too long to figure out what was going on. "I didn't realize you and Ensign Land were mates."

"Damn.." Terri said. "You figured it out that easily?"

"Your behaviors make your deception obvious." Plex said gently cleaning the picture off with a few puffs of breath and using one of the sleeves of her arms to clean the dried tears off the glass before setting it back down on the desk. "Plus word, gets around."

Terri nodded. "That it does."

"My people only have one gender." Plex said. "When we mate it's a deep spiritual bonding and we procreate using a gene seed pod. You are the first person I have known that is with a child, I will admit I am curious to see the process at hand."

"Believe me that pod sounds a lot better then what I am going through." Terri sighed feeling a slight wave of nausea right on time that she normally experienced before going to bed.

"I can imagine with the complex biochemical processes involved with progenation, contained within one's own body, it would not be pleasant." Plex said off handedly. "You have my sympathies."

"All part of the experience." Terri shrugged.

"I have observed many bi gendered relationships among many species of the confederation." Plex said. "Honestly, all I see is endless conflict and strife for both partners. Perhaps we're right in moving away from that centuries ago."

Terri laughed. "It's not as bad as it looks. There are good times."

Plex nodded but didn't reply.

"There are some really good times." She said, sighing.

"You miss him? Even though he angered you and caused you pain?" Plex asked.

"Of course I do." Terri said. "I always will."

"From what I heard there was a termination of the relationship?"

"It's never that simple Plex." Terri sighed.

"I suppose not."

Terri stood up and stretched. "I probably better get to my quarters before Taber tears up my couch again, are we still on course for Drelar 2?"

"We are."

"Then I will see you at the morning staff meeting unless something comes up. Have a good night.

"You too, sleep well Commander." The Bem said letting her leave first and departing for the bridge as she headed for her quarters.

Terri sighed suddenly, feeling a craving for Aquan Anchovies. "Really?" She sighed. "I hate those things." She said placing her hand over her abdomen. She noticed that she was starting to show a little more and it was going to be harder to hide it. The nausea passed and her stomach growled at the thought of the slimy fish treat. She never could get the hang of them but Land always insisted on getting them on the occasional pizza. It seemed his offspring liked the damn things as well as time went on the cravings only got worse.

Her time on the Intrepid so far had kept her fairly busy. Her grief only caught up to her when she had a brief moment to breath and then it would pass. She had the care center on Altaira set up to notify her if Jack's condition had changed but had yet to receive word on any change.

She arrived to her quarters only to be treated to the yowling protestations of her Taber cat, who was more agitated he hadn't got his daily dose of pets for the day and she was late getting home. She checked his food and water only to find he had more than enough to sustain him even though he acted as if he had been left to die.

Later, after a shower and choking down the dreaded snack to get her stomach to shut up she lay in bed exhausted with Taber curled up beside her purring contentedly. She looked out through the viewport as the stars streaked by and sighed sadly.

"Come back to me Jonathan, please." She sighed sadly drawing the blanket around her and slowly drifting off to sleep. "We both need you, please come back."

The End.