Location: Minduno/Mindos Quarters
Caradan did not want much fanfare and wanted to endure only minimal goodbyes. It really was not goodbye as she full intentions on returning. As she had worked out her plan on her own she also worked out the two goodbyes she decided she would endure. Caradan would let Riaan know as well as Mindo, but, now that there were two Mindos (and neither had been ruled a copy or a sleeper agent), it seemed perhaps three goodbyes were in order.
“It isn’t goodbye,” she told herself as she walked the corridors. “I’m just going away for a bit.” Yeah, going away into the lion’s den so to speak as she would pose as a Klingon loyal to the SoK. One wrong move and they would do all they could to kill her. Maybe it should be goodbye…just in case.
Her first stop though, was Mindo, her first love. She would make Riaan her third and final stop as she had an apology to make before letting her know of this away mission.
As the Science and Medical teams still work to determine which of the two Mindos was real and which was not, Security maintained personnel outside each of their doors. Caradan nodded to the security crewman, tapped her credentials into the small touchpad beside the door and chimed her calling at Mindo’s (or Minduno’s) door.
Minduno called, "Enter," and was pleased to see who was at the other side of the door.
"Cara!" he said, hopping off the couch and going to her. He straightened a little, getting slightly more serious. "Is this a formal meeting?" He felt a little nervous. Caradan had been rather distant the past few days. He didn't know if it was because of his coming on to Riaan, or even if she'd heard about it. The incident was still fresh in his mind and he hadn't told anyone about it.
The door gently slid shut as she entered. “A little of both to be honest,” she smiled. “I have to apologize for being a little distant lately. It’s just been so busy.” She looked out the window at the Klingon station. “That,” she pointed at it, “taking up most of my focus.” But she decided to make this an informal meeting first. “How have you been, my love?” She went to him, standing just before him.
He reached up and took her hand in his. "I've been managing. This business with me and... me, is taking my focus away from my duties. I've fallen a little behind on reports, and it's difficult only having partial access to the systems and operations I need. Then we get into battle and I'm... he's been sent to help me. My staff is just as confused as I am." He paused for a second, considering for a moment what it must be like for everyone else. "Are you confused?" he said. "Does any of this make sense?"
Caradan nodded with a comforting smile. “It does. Keselowsky’s been picking up the slack down in Engineering. He wants to make Crismore his assistant engineer. I keep telling him that the AE has to be a commissioned officer and nothing less. I also tell him this is only temporary.” She thought about the recent skirmish with the Klingons as Mindo guided her to his sitting area. “I’m sorry about calling Min…the other Mindo, but we were facing multiple Birds of Prey. They were just taunting us come to find out.”
She slid a hand up and down his leg. “But I don’t want to talk about the others, or the Klingons, or work really. I just want to talk…right now. You know, like we do at times when we sneak away.” She was drawing blanks and hoped Mindo had something to talk about before she got to the formal business of it all.
He put his arm around her waist and they laid down on the couch. After a few minutes of especially heated kissing, the two came up for air and cuddled quietly for a while.
"Something just occurred to me," Mindo said quietly, his left hand gently caressing Caradan's abdomen. "I don't know what kind of music you like."
“Well,” she said looking into Mindo’s eyes, “aside from having that elanin singer stone that you gave me float in my bowl sometimes when I am regenerating, lulling me to sleep…um…I really don’t know if there is a kind of music that I like. There is a song however that sticks with me. I find myself humming it from time to time. I admit to not having researched it, but, among the library of songs in the ship’s library, the computer played me a song at random. You see,” she moved about a little. Not that a Changeling needed to move about to get more comfortable, but Caradan felt to mimic the act anyway. “…I asked the computer to play something for a Changeling, something about change and form and beauty. After some songs that were not too catchy, it played a song called ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful.’ And…if there is a song that I think describes me, it would be that song.”
Mindo smiled at the title. "Your endless forms are most beautiful," he said softly, kissing her hand.
Caradan smiled and held onto Mindo tightly. “I really do need to research that song once I get back…” she paused. Though her thought was complete, this was the yet the time for this conversation she felt, so she added words after a brief hesitation. “…back tooooo…my quarters.”
Mindo smiled at that, but something about what she said wasn't sitting well. After about two seconds of somewhat awkward silence, Mindo said, "You're not really going anywhere, right?"
Hence the formal part of her reason for being there. She looked around with just her eyes trying to find the best way to explain. She was ashamed of herself for letting that little bit out thus clueing Mindo in on the fact earlier than she expected. How could she possibly accomplish this mission if she could not keep something so small a secret still.
Deciding truth was always the best, she gave a nod. “Yes. I am going away. I am uncertain how long though.”
Mindo furrowed his brow. This was entirely new to him. "Why are..." he stammered. "Where are you going?"
“I am to blend in with the crowd on that Klingon station,” she looked out the window at it. “There I shall disappear. I am to infiltrate the Sovereignty, do what damage I can and locate Captain Takato.” She looked him dead in the eye with all manner of seriousness. “It is vital that you tell no one. I wanted you to know because you are my first love but I cannot have this information being compromised.”
"I can keep a secret," said Mindo, and he forced a smile. "Just promise you'll come back."
Caradan did not detail out the minutia of what she had in mind, to anyone, and she had, long ago, come to a logical conclusion. "I will do everything I can to come back. If I find myself unable to get back on my own, I will get a signal out. Promise you will do everything you can to come get me in that event."
"I promise," said Mindo, and he gently kissed her on the lips.
It felt like hours later when Caradan was back in the corridor. That was how her time with Mindo usually passed. Time almost seemed to crawl as she wanted to hang on to each and every second as though each was her last with him. In reality though, she bade him ‘goodbye’ and left his quarters not ten minute later. Caradan never thought she would say her ‘goodbyes’ to Mindo only to do it all again…with Mindo, but the realization came flooding in as she walked the corridor to her next destination where she felt she would have the exact same conversation all over again.
The security personnel stood off to the side as Caradan punched in her credentials. She took a breath and chimed her calling at the quarters for Mindos.
Mindos lay on his bed in the small, cramped quarters reading an old Earth novel he found in the ship's memory banks on his PADD. He'd had plenty of spare time since coming aboard, and while all he wanted to do was return to duty, he knew it would be a while before that would happen.
Hearing the chime, he set the PADD aside and said, "Come in." As the door swished open, he was excited to see Caradan in the doorway.
"Hey!" he said with a smile. "I was hoping it was you."
The security personnel looked in and took a quick surveillance of the room as Caradan stepped inside. The door slid closed.
Caradan did not yet have any words for him. Technically, she had just finished speak to him, bade him ‘goodbye’, but, like something of a time loop, she found herself before Mindo again, about to have the same conversation, the same reaction, the same love-making, the past few minutes about to be replayed all over again.
“I have to go away,” she said as she decided immediately to get official; opposite the way she broke the news to the lieutenant. “Not sure how long. But I am confident my mission will be a success.”
Mindos stood up on the bed and went over to the edge. He was now close to Caradan's height.
"Going away? What mission?" Mindos was confused and very alarmed at this news. Many emotions hit him at once. Anger, fear, sadness... "You can't go away! I just got you back!" He pushed back his tears, but he couldn't stop the shaking of his voice. The desperate plea to keep his only love with him.
It was a vastly different reaction than Mindo had, but, then again, this Mindo in particular was away from her for a long time. She understood his emotions all the same. Going to him, she placed a hand on his shoulder. “It’s an important mission; one that could both end this civil war and bring back Captain Takato. I am to…” and then she remembered the possibility of him being a sleeper agent, “…too sorry I can’t tell you any more than that. Once I am back though,” she smiled at him, “I have assurances we may be leaving Klingon space for good. Things can settle down for us. Wouldn’t it be great to leave the Klingons to their own and to have Captain Takato back?”
Mindo looked down and shook his head. "I feel like a child. I just want to scream 'it's not fair!' I understand orders. I understand duty. I'm just being selfish right now." He sniffled and rubbed his eyes. "I just want us to be together again."
“Mindo,” she patted the side of his face, “you know better than most how unfair ‘IT’ can be. Us being together? There is nothing I want more. But…” she was shaking her head. “…what we want sometimes has to wait.” Caradan flexed the fingers of the right hand, keeping her form stable. So soon from setting out on her mission, this was not the time for showing strong emotions. “When this is over,” she moved with him as he shook his head to ensure she maintained eye contact, “when this is over, then we can be together.”
Mindo put his hand over hers. "Just come back, OK?"
Smiling, Caradan considered that to be an order. “Yes, Sir. I will be doing that.” She moved in on Mindos and kissed his forehead.