"This plan is our last hope."
Picard's warning range in Tasha's ears as she tugged her pants back on hurredly, her backside still cold from being pressed against the metal weapons locker moments eariler.
"But failing that, it will be our last stand."
She knew he was right. No matter how this ended, it would be an end either way.
Silentally, she went over the plan in her mind as she watched Laren across the room. The Bajoran woman was unsucessfully trying fix her hair without the avaibility of a mirror. Taking pitty on her, Yar walked over and smiling gently, she reached out and adjusted the purple headband. Ro inclined her head in thanks and placed a hand on Tasha's cheek. There was so much love in her eyes and no matter how often she saw it, so still had a hard time beliving it was real. After a minute, she coughed and went to put her boots on.
"If any of you have second thoughts..."
She didn't. Not really. Not about what they were going to do. She believed in Jean-Luc Picard and if he believed that this was their best shot, then she did too. But this could be the end. And if it was, there was something she had to say.
"You know, Ro," Yar began, re-lacing her boot, "This could be it." She pulled on the laces and tied them tightly. Glancing over at Ro, she watched her as she checked the power-cell and adjusted the settings on her phaser. A budding feeling of calm came over her as Laren went about her ritual maintenance on the old sidearm. Even though Terrain weapons were more reliable and Klingon disruptors had more power, Ro always insisted on using her old Bajoran phaser. The blonde found the other woman's sentimental attachment to it, while impractical, somehow charming. It was a symbol of hope, that by refusing to let go of her culture it would ensure that one day it would be allowed to thrive again. But they had yet to see if her stubbornness would be in vain. She looked down, fighting the urge to bolt. Why couldn't she say it? "This could all end in disaster."
"You think too much, Tash. I've got you..." She heard Ro holster her phaser and looked up just as she felt her lover's arms encircle her. "...so how it ends doesn't really matter."
Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around Laren's waist, her thumbs sliding under her gun belt. At that moment, she knew she could finally tell Ro Laren exactly how much she loved her, but looking into her eyes she also knew she didn't need to say one word because they felt it. And her small feeling of hope took root in her soul, causing a small grin despite the circumstances. Laren was right. As long as they had each other, they could survive anything.
And then fucking Wesley Crusher had to stage his idiotic mutiny. An angry child who lost his girlfriend and wanted someone to blame. And in his tantrum, he decided to stage an uprising against the people who actually gave a shit about him.
When Wesley pointed the phaser at their cell leader, Tasha didn't have to think about it. She ran at Picard, knocking him out of the line of fire. She felt the electrical burn of phaser-fire before she landed. Temporarily stunned, she was unable to move and she hated the weakness of her own body as Picard righted her. It took all of her concentration and determination to focus on the argument between Picard and Wesley.
As Crusher yelled what he thought was justification for staging a mutiny, a handful of minor members of their cell moved behind him in support. Disgusted with the boy whom she'd considered a friend, she watched him produce an EMP grenade, going on about how he was going to prevent the mission. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of movement but she still affected by the phaser blast and was unable to react before the sound of Klingon disrupter fire filled the hanger-deck. Picard dove toward her, intent on moving her out of the line of fire. Neither of them paid any attention to Wesley's snivelling or noticed that he dropped the grenade until it was too late.
"Picard! Get her back!"
Helpless, all Tasha could do was watch as Laren threw herself on the grenade just as it detonated. The horrifying sight of her lover's body being illuminated by the electromagnetic radiation is only worsened by the overwhelming smell of burnt flesh and muffled sound Laren's shuttered gasps for air. She felt her body betray her as she fought it's response to gag.
Her back was them, but with Yar could picture Ro fighting to stay conscious with terrible detail. She would have given her own life to be able to say something, anything, but the words wouldn't come. She was grateful when Picard moved towards Laren, his voice strong and reassuring.
"She's right here, Ro. You saved us all, soldier."
If she had control of her facilities, she knew she wouldn't have been able to leave Laren's side for anything. But Picard doesn't give her the chance to refuse his assistance before he wraps her arm around his shoulder and heaves her to her feet.
Distantly, she could feel herself stumbling through the bay and she could hear the firefight that was going on all around her, but it didn't really feel like it was real. Suddenly, they stopped and she heard Wesley say something, but she couldn't understand his words. Then her other arm was being lifted and between the two of them, she was all but being carried. It was all so unreal, like a bad dream that she couldn't quite understand. Then her eyes landed on something familiar and reality came crashing down with agonizing clarity.
"Oh God... Is that... that Ro?"
No one answered her question, but they didn't need to. She knew the answer.
As Picard and Wesley dragged her through the din, one of the ships that was suspended hit the ground, and the entire building shook. Then there was a flash of light and the surroundings changed.
As soon as the blinding light faded, her hand was around the little bastard's neck and the only thing on her mind was making him pay.
"Traitorous..." Her throat ached, her fury propelled her. "Murderous son of a bitch, you killed... You killed her-"
"Tasha..." Picard's voice was quite, barely a whisper, but she heard it louder then if he were shouting it at the top of his lungs. She felt all of her energy leave her and she fell to the ground. "...I'll handle this."
Laren knew she and Tasha could survive the end of the world as long as they had each other. But Tasha didn't have any idea how to do it without Laren.