...on Star Trek: Between the Stars:
“So, tell me something about yourself that nobody knows.”
Jordan Kelley laughed as the man to his right took his hand, twining their fingers together as he posed the question. He no longer flinched or pulled away whenever Trevor Whitehorse displayed his affection for him in public—the rebuilding of their relationship had reached a point where he not only welcomed the Betazoid’s touch, but sometimes even initiated such contact.
They hadn’t slept together again since that first time three months ago. Each had agreed that, if their love for one another was strong enough to withstand the trials they’d already been put through, then surely it would hold up under their determination to take things more slowly. To get it right this time—with openness and honesty, getting to know one another on a deeper level than they had previously, knowing that when they shared a bed again, the timing would be perfect. To that end, Whitehorse had taken to asking Kelley random questions about such a wide variety of subjects that he had begun to look forward to the daily inquisition.
Rebecca Woodson, Kelley’s oldest sister, laughed also as the trio strolled along Starbase Echo’s market. “I can answer that one,” she said. “One of our great uncles, some twenty or thirty generations back, was an actor.”
“Really?” Whitehorse asked. “It’s funny you should have an actor in the family that far back—one of my adoptive father’s ancestors was an actor too, at around the same time.”
He stopped suddenly in mid-stride, his gaze going sharply to the right. Kelley knew instantly that something—or rather, someone—had caught his companion’s attention.
“Trevor?” he queried. “What is it? What do you hear?”
Whitehorse didn’t answer, at least not verbally. Instead, Kelley and his sister were treated to a first-hand display of just how fast the Federation Marine could move as he shot away from them, pushing people aside in order to reach his target. A loud cry of indignation sounded seconds later, just before Kelley heard a distinctive loud thud.
“Becca, stay here,” Kelley warned his sister, then moved resolutely toward the commotion. The crowd of officers and civilians parted for him without protest, and he soon came upon his boyfriend pinning a red-skinned man to the deck, his knee in the man’s back as he held his wrists pushed up near his shoulder blades.
Kelley snagged the sleeve of an ensign wearing a yellow undershirt, whom he knew to be one of Echo’s Security team. “My sister, Mrs. Rebecca Woodson, is over there by the cherry trees. I want you to escort her to my apartment—do not leave her until she is inside and has secured the door.”
“At once, Commander,” the ensign replied, and darted off to carry out the order.
Whitehorse was hauling his captive up off the floor, and other security officers—among them the station’s security chief, Master Chief Petty Officer Dilik Zram—were coming toward them.
“What’s this all about?” the aging Bolian asked.
“I was about to inquire about that myself, Chief,” Kelley supplied. “Trevor?”
“This prick was thinking some very interesting things about Captain Natale,” Whitehorse replied as he gave the man a shake. “Wondering what she looks like, is her skin still orange, has she had her baby yet…”
Kelley shared a glance with Zram. Synnove Natale was the commanding officer of Stabase Echo, and an Orion hybrid who had escaped being sold by her own father at the age of seventeen. It was well she had—Zaddo Natale had, over the last 20+ years, become one of the most ruthless, brutal leaders in the entire Orion Syndicate. That he had only attempted to have his daughter kidnapped once in that time had not lessened her fear of taking an assignment so near to where he operated his criminal empire. Kelley knew that even though she had remained free, thanks in part to her friend and now husband, Brian Wallace, Zaddo had maintained contact, sending her messages and gifts over the years. It was his way of reminding her that he was still keeping an eye on her.
The captain’s father had also once threatened to torture Brian Wallace to death and make Synnove watch, explaining the fear she had felt on the Human’s behalf for the last two decades.
Zaddo Natale was a red Orion, and Kelley suspected the man held now by Whitehorse was also—he could very well be one of Zaddo’s lackeys, here to scope out the security of the station on his master’s behalf.
“Who are you?” Kelley demanded. “What do you want with my captain?”
The man grimaced in pain, as his arms were still being pushed up behind his back. “My name is Savaj Natale. Synnove is my sister.”