Fernandez and Hope had spent the day together. They were an odd pair, not because they didn't look like father and daughter, because in a way they did, but because they were so... different from each other. Hope was grinning and laughing, always trying to figure out how things work. Even the fountain in the park area of the Starbase were something she wanted to have the physics of figured out and clear in her mind. She was clearly a happy and curious child. Fernandez was withdrawn, he smiled at Hopes antics when she was trying to make him laugh, but the reserve was back and it was like he had pulled deeper inside himself from the experience he had.
After dinner and they were making their way back to their ship, the USS Mercury was again ready she gave over, Hope knew that Fernandez was in a mood again, and some Orion woman was haunting him. She knew by morning things might be better but that she could not pull him back to 'now' so she put her arm around his waist and her head against him as they walked, Fernandez automatically put him arm around her shoulder and hugged her, leaning his head so that his pigtail hung against her neck and back tickling her in the way she knew that he knew bugged the hell out of her.
They had entered their cabin and she called first dibs on the shower. Fernandez sat down in his room, he stared at the sea chest. The list of ships he had served on were painted on it, the Victory was there, no matter how hard he wanted it to be a bad dream it wasn't. He wondered why some live and some die, who the hell chooses, and why they had made the choices they had made. Then he thought of Hope, his Hope, the brightly lit hell, a ship's engineering compartment, her mother lying dead at her post, trying to save a ship from a bio weapon attack after stuffing her only child in a nook and raising a force field around it. His Hope... she had seen it all, she saw her mother die, she saw the whole engineering department die a horrible death, she herself was dying of asphyxiation when Fernandez found her. Yet she was a happy person not brooding over who lives and who dies... he wondered... he wondered how she did it.
"Curtin to all hands. Secure for departure. Senior staff, report to the observation lounge immediately. Chief of the watch, sound liberty recall." sounded from Fernandez's comm badge.
He quickly changed into uniform and left Hope a note, the usual one. "Duty calls" and headed out for the observation lounge.
As he headed toward the observation lounge he remembered... he relived his past...
A very beautiful girl ,around 18-23, with a green complexion, pointed ears and fine features of Vulcan but with Orion blood also, stood "I don’t think that’s a good idea" the girl said.
"But we are two shifts early, think of the profit we made, we deserve a drink" said Fernandez.
"Then lets get one at the ship, we are space rats you know, I don’t think you do remember that, do you?" she said looking at him closely, (she had grown up as a rat, a person of no value, not even worth the cost of the energy weapon bolt it would take to vaporize them)
"One little drink in a dark corner?" Fernandez said, after only a bit more convincing she agreed and they went in to the tavern, The four Klingons in the center of the room were not drunk but they were not sober either. As Fernandez and his companion passed them the Klingon caught them. One was holding the girl and two were holding Fernandez, the leader was talking, and waving a knife around, "Rats do not belong in public buildings they belong in the alleys and gutters." The two holding Fernandez let him go, maybe hoping he would try something, the leader said, "When vermin get so bold as to come out in public places there is only one thing left to do."
The situation was this, in the center of a dark, smoky tavern stood four Klingons, a mix blood female and Fernandez. There were two Klingons by Fernandez, one at each shoulder, there was one Klingon behind the girl holding her, and she was not resisting, her head bowed in submission. and the leader was standing with his knife between Fernandez and the girl , maybe two meters from Fernandez and less then a meter from the girl. Fernandez was trying to match the girls attitude head bowed some and hands behind his back, but his eyes betrayed his lack of submission. What happened next was hard to follow it was so fast.
The Klingon turned and drew his knife across the girls throat, Fernandez moved his left hand and he had a pistol in it, a red laser jumped from the pistol still behind his back to the head of the Klingon on Fernandez’s right, then a flash and deafening report, Fernandez turned to his left and jabbed the pistol against the Klingon on his left and two more reports the laser jumped over the girls shoulder to the Klingon that was holding her and the fourth shot rang out, the leader had turned and charged Fernandez even as Fernandez turned the pistol on him. Five shots rang out as one and the Klingon hit Fernandez cutting his right side to the bone even as he (the leader) fell dead.
Fernandez crawled over to the girl and cradled her limp body in his arms red, green, and pink blood all around them. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!" then he said something in Orion that translated into "Beloved"
Fernandez looked around then removed a patch from her tunic, it was a ship identity patch and her ID pouch, he removed a handful of credit chips from the pouch and put them in her limp hand and placed that on her chest and looked at the Bartender and said, "She can pay her own way." he took the patch and ID and ran out the door.
Fernandez hurried to the ship and had to explain why she was not with him, no one else seemed surprised or put out, they were all nobodies of no value.