Title: More Questions Than Answers: Reunions, The Lady in Blue, Part Seventeen
Location: Unknown
Setting: The Female Prisoner's Holding Room

    Captain K was still bound and shoved harshly in to the room by the young Sandokhans warrior guards. He looked in the room and saw Cadet Sarie and a woman he did not recognize by her physical appearance but he most assuredly knew who she was! His heart soared to be near her again.

    He looked around further and did not see the CMO. That was unanticipated. "Where was she?" he wondered.

    "I'm here to rescue you," he both joked and told the truth. His face grew more serious as he got closer. He could see that the Galdonese woman was quite ill and feverish. His hopes fell.

    The lady with Cadet Sarie smiled weakly and laughed.

    Kvard pushed the Captain to topple him over, "No jokes" he ordered. "Make it quick!"

    Captain Kematsopoulos lost his balance and fell on his knees. As he tried to upright himself, he said tying to keep a sense of humor, "How are you holding up?" His choice of words were a deliberate pun to defy Kvard. Fortunately for the Captain's sake, the Sandokhan did not notice it by the time the Universal Translator had finished with it.

    They responded that they had been treated well considering the circumstances.

    "It is good to see you again, Captain, even for one last time," the Galadonese lady added.

    "I have told your medical officer that I am Saffira a culinary aide for the Galdonese officials. I came here to check out accommodations for our diplomatic party that has not arrived yet," the lady said to fill the CO in on the lie she told the Sandokhans. She could not tell them the truth, that she is the Empress of All Galadon. Her people might pay a high ransom or incinerate the entire planet for revenge, so strong was their love for her.

    "Yes, I remember," he said with a quiet sadness in his voice. He reached out to her in the bond/link they shared. ~~Why have you shut your side of the link? You could have called for help. I would have gladly come, ~~he asked confused.

    ~~That is exactly why I did not. I could not bear it if I caused your death, ~~ she explained.

    ~~Your Majesty. I would happily die to save your life and more,~~ Nouri professed passionately his love and dedication for her and the cause of peace.

    He forgot himself for a moment and started to reach to hold her hand and kiss it but could not since he was still bound.

    "What happened? " he said out loud to keep the ruse of only one conversation going on so that the Sandokhans would not be aware of their small advantage.

    "They came as if from no where and attacked us. We were surveying the area for the meeting.  Our guards and security people fought admirably and all but one of them were killed. The Sandokhans keep me alive only because their religious leader, L'Asaha thinks I may fulfill one of their prophecies. Some of the Sandokhans think I am 'The Lady in Blue' and here to help them avoid the extinction of their race and to heal their ill. There is some debate amongst themselves if it is me or not. The keep me alive for only that reason. Being a cook, I had no useful information to give. They've killed the rest of our party unless they are too weak to remain conscious. I cannot tell," she lied most convincingly about her true identity trying to protect her people from the wiping out the Sandokhan tribe. She knew of what fervor and xenophobism that they were capable. The Empress feared that they were capable of genocide in their current frenzy.

    (Sadly, she had already fought hard to get that "idea" for what to do with the Tureth struck down. Many in her worlds wanted to be done with this war once and for all. Genocide seemed to them the only answer.)

    Out from the darkness, another mind reached the Empress. The CMO, Lasara and Rolin had reached the room above hers and were peering down through a crack. The Moebian tried to talk in the manner of telepaths to the Empress.

    ~~Are you the Lady In Blue?  Can you help Rolin? I don't know how to explain to Lasara that there is no 'miracle cure' for her brother's illness, ~~ the CMO said.

    ~~No. I don't know who this person is supposed to be. I don't think I can help him but you can bring him. It won't work, ~~ the Empress said sadly, telling the truth as she knew it. She sensed the overwhelming feelings of the doctor and spoke again to explain more.

    ~~I am not very strong and Sandokhans are not telepathic. I did not know it would work with your Captain but he was bonded to a Vulcan before. There are some similarities between the the farr and the stoi ,~~ Zahrina added.

    ~~What is the 'it' you speak of?  The 'miracle' for Rolin?~~ the doctor asked.

    ~~ I think the child means the Ankhanahkstoi. The ritual is used for an emergency healing of only the most critical injuries. The energies involved in it are a particular shade of blue,~~ the Empress replied.

    ~~Someone has been poisoning the Sandokhans,~~Dr Laleia-Lii said.
   
    ~~ I don't know about the poisoning. Their minds are unaware of it. You must get your people out of here and stop it, ~~ she said.


Title: More Questions Than Answers: Reunions, The Lady in Blue, Part Eighteen
Location: Unknown
Setting: The Female Prisoner's Holding Room

    The Captain and the Empress continued their conversation through the stoi, the bond/link.

    ~~I have a plan. It hinges on being left alone with both of you and finding a way out of these caves.~~ Captain Kematsopoulos said.

    ~~Follow along. I have an idea on that~~~ the Empress replied.

    "As I said, they think I am 'The Lady in Blue' and have had many debates on this. One is," she said hoping to cause a greater rift between the teenage guards, "that the prophesy must be fulfilled by someone of royal blood. Those who are convinced it is me have made up a story that I was of royal birth and secretly adopted. I told them my adoptive parents were killed so I could not ask them about my real origins. They never spoke of the details of it and always seemed to avoid the topic," she said, playing her Sandokhan audience as a finely tuned violin in the hands of virtuoso.

    Kvard, who was listening intently, interjected, "Silly nonsense. I don't believe the prophecy but its definitely a man not a woman that it refers to. That is the other big debate."

    Kvard kept silent that he had already seen the Human Captain shine blue. He had told his followers to do the same. If K'Arak found out he might spare this insolent alien's life also like he was fool enough to do for this woman. Kvard felt very strongly that all "invaders" of his homeworld should all be killed and not be even given the chance to leave.

    The debate amongst the Sandokhans continued...

    "It is all nonsense.  Tales told to entertain children at night!" Kvard yelled to the whole room.

    "How can you dismiss our traditions so casually. You should be ashamed," Laranja, the leader of the female guards said hotly.

    The Empress took a deep breath and prepared herself. She was hoping to carefully time her next move to take the most advantage of the argument.
   
    "Ashamed! For recognizing the truth? You should be embarrassed by your own gullibility! These aliens have brought nothing but trouble.  You would forget that because one turns blue?" Kvard yelled back.

    "This is it," Zahrina said to herself taking another deep breath. Then the Empress of All Galadon, reached out suddenly and touched Nouri. They both instantly shone blue. All of the guards saw this.

    "It is our traditions that set us apart from these aliens.  Would you have us become as faithless as them? ... SEE!  How can you not believe your own eyes!" Laranja gasped seeing the spectacle.

    "A trick!  Brought on by their alien technology.  It is no different than watching them appear from thin air, " Kvard said agnostically.

    Then the Empress let go, the Captain lost his surgically altered appearances. She acquired them momentarily in the manner of the ritual, as some horrible injury, but then shone brighter blue and the marks of the Captain's surgical alterations left her face and body as the light began to lose its intensity.

    The Empress shook uncontrollably. Nouri desperately wanted to hold her but he could not as his appearance changed, making him look almost entirely Galadonese. She cursed herself for miscalculating.

    ~~ I am sorry ... so sorry. This was supposed to be just a brief flaring of the energies of the Ankhanahkstoi through the still active bond/link not a demonstration of it. I didn't know it would interpret your surgeries to look Human as a life threatening injury, ~~ the Empress wept uncontrollably.

    The unexpected and almost full display of the ritual took its toll on the couple, Nouri fell to his knees exhausted and the Empress slumped in her bed, too weak to do much else.

  "Instead of saving him by making him shine blue I condemned him. He'll be too weak to escape now," she thought despairingly as she reviewed what happened and went wrong the last two times with the ritual.


Title: More Questions Than Answers: Reunions, The Lady in Blue, Part Nineteen
Location: Unknown
Setting: The Female Prisoner's Holding Room

    But "Saffira's" part of the plan to widen the rift and cause a distraction did work. The argument had turned into a shouting match. Now there was both a man and a woman who shone blue for the two groups to see and fight over. While the young Sandokhans argued and were distracted, the Captain and the Empress continued their conversation though their telepathic bond/link.

    ~~ I know the way out. I have been tracking these alien minds and their activities since I first regained consciousness after I was brought here. I am too weak to fight at your side as I did against the Romulan terrorists at my palace.  If I lie down and conserve my energy, I think that I can keep the bond/link going long enough to direct you both out. You must leave me at once and go on if you get the chance,~~ she told him.

    ~~I only regret my death will be meaningless. I am ready to die for peace but dying this way solves no purpose. If my people find out they will destroy this planet. You must promise me not to tell them,~~ she pleaded. As the Empress of All Galadon, she knew full well the weapons of mass destruction that they had at their disposal and the current mind set of her people to use them.

    ~~I will never leave you! ~~ Nouri promised.

    ~~You must!~~ she ordered.

    ~~Never!! ~~ Nouri repeated adamantly.

    Just then Lasara made her move. She grabbed her baby brother and snuck away from the CMO, who was distracted and fascinated by the medical changes going on in the bodies of the couple enraptured by the Ankhanahkstoi.

    The strange blue light engulfing the couple began to fade further and dissipate. Lasara, taking her brother with her, leapt in quickly between the two locked in the ritual. The blue light sizzled, flared and became more intense.

    The Empress took on Rolin's illness and healed him, just as little Lasara knew she would...



Title: More Questions Than Answers: Reunions, The Lady in Blue, Part Twenty
Location: Unknown
Setting: The Female Prisoner's Holding Room

        The debate between the young male and female guards continued and became more and more heated.

    "We must bring them to K'Arak and L'Asaha.  They will explain all and know what to do," Laranja got arose and headed toward the door with an odd distant look on her face. "I will go to him first," she said totally oblivious that children had entered the room and that Rolin had been healed. The other female guards followed her.

    Kvard was so furious that he forgot his duty chased her, yelling, "No, you will not.  No one must here of this deception. I will not have you spreading alien lies!"

    The CO noticed instantly that they were left alone, looked deeply into the Empress' lovely and mesmerizing blue eyes and acted quickly.

    "While I am down here on my knees. There is an old Earth custom," he said very awkwardly. "It goes something like this... Will you marry me?"

    She choked. "We have to get out of here first" she said stalling to buy herself some time to think.

    Nouri grinned impishly almost like his old human self in spite of the fact that he now looked almost entirely Galadonese.  With alarming quickness, the Captain untied himself and whispered a prayer of thanks for his crazy old Uncle Stavros. He got up and went to the Empress' side to unlock her.

    The Empress was shocked and speechless.

    "Then so be it," he said holding her hand gently and kissing it gingerly as he popped the lock one of her manacles.

  The Empress was also under the spell and influence of the ritual but she knew and recognized it.
    
    "Captain," she tried to say stiffly but was unsuccessful. "You know as well as I do that we can't trust our feelings. My people believe that our feelings of love between each other are nothing more that a side effect of the aborted ritual. It is not sensible to act as if they are real. Besides," she said, part of her wishing desperately that her feelings were true for him, "You are a Captain of a starship in an alien federation. I am the Empress of All Galadon. It would never work." It was very hard for her to hold back her feelings, genuine or not, of love for this unusual alien. She hoped this verbal rationalization would help her.

    "I know all that. I don't want to be sensible.  What if our feelings are real? I not going to make same mistake I did with my first wife. It wasn't sensible to love her either with her Aunt's hatred of Humans and her Vulcan brand of racism falsely labeled as logic. I waited too long to ask T'Nar. We could have had more years together than we did. I regret that every day of my life," he said popping the other restraint.