Julian recoiled a bit from Freya at the rejection. Freya let him go and for a few minutes they looked at each other across the sofa. The space between them was overwhelming in a sense and yet Freya could reach out and touch him if she wanted. "Part of me expected that I admit but I thought..." Julian scratched his chin, considering his words. "Things seemed different, you seemed different..." He got up from the couch and paced a few feet away.
"I am different Julian." Freya said, although she ached to reach out to him and reassure him that she still loved him, she held back.
"Than why not? I know we couldn't get married in the temple but I'm sure Captain Hunt would agree to marry us..." Julian seemed to flounder for more words, leaving an opening for Freya to speak up.
Freya reached out for him, taking his hands in hers. "I do want to marry you Julian. But..." she chewed on her lower lip for a second. "For years, all my life even, I've simply accepted the rules as being the rules. It never really occurred to me until recently that they needed to change....that I could change them."
"Okay..." Julian looked more confused than anything, trying to understand the significance.
"I don't want to be married in secret, live in secret like I'm ashamed or some sort of criminal. We wouldn't be able to go public with it, we wouldn't even be able to live together or have children...and that is simply unacceptable to me." Freya said, still holding his hands tightly in case he tried to pull away. "I've always thought I wasn't good enough for you - because that's what everyone told me. I thought I wasn't good enough to be a doctor - because that's what they told me. But I know now that I am good enough to be a doctor and I am good enough for you. I'm good enough to marry whoever I want, to work wherever I want, to live."
"I know that Freya!" Julian exclaimed, "I've been telling you for years that I don't care about any of that stuff."
"I know but it took me a long time for me to realize it." Freya said, she placed a hand on his cheek lovingly. "The rules have to change Julian - I want to marry you but I want to do it in front of everyone, all our friends and family. I want to have children with you someday and be able to introduce them to their Great Aunt Theresa - even if she doesn't like me. Do you understand?"
Julian slowly nodded. "Not entirely but I think I get the gist of it. I can wait, I'm willing to wait if need be. I'm going to ask this question again and I want you to understand that, that I'll wait forever if I have to okay?" He slowly pulled the family ring off his finger and held it out to her. "Freya Ryan, will you do me the very great honor of promising to one day be my wife - after WE help change the rules of course?" he smiled expectantly. He put his arm around her shoulders and held her close.
"Are you sure?" she was asking even as she took the ring from him. "It could be years, it could be never..."
"I'm sure." he grinned as she slid the ring onto her finger. "Are you?"
"Yes." Freya said looking at the ring with a smile. "Yes...." she said a little softer.
"So you're engaged?" Andy asked while they were waiting in the transporter room.
"Yes...sort of. Could be a really long engagement though," Freya said with a smirk.
"Never know, the strike is gaining more support every day. And I heard one of the Council members complaining about how his entire staff has pretty much abandoned him. Has to replicate his own lunch." she rolled her eyes.
"Oh the horror." Freya said dryly. "How's engineering?"
"We've worked out some sort of schedule but it's still crazy. We're running with only about ten percent of our staff, makes for some long work shifts." Andy would have every reason to begrudge the strike but she still seemed to be in support of the effort, even if it made things harder for her.
The intercomm crackled to life in the small room. "Team one, prepare to beam aboard the alien vessel." Captain Hunt's voice said. "Scans indicated working atmosphere and artificial gravity but life support is failing. There are twelve occupants, all appear to be contained on the ships' bridge; several are unconscious. Medical, triage them and send them back; there will be medical teams on hand to transport them to the medical ward. Engineering, assess the ship. Transport in two minutes; Hunt out."
Andy and Freya stepped onto the transporter along with two security personnel who would accompany them.
The four person team transported into a cramped cargo bay. It was stuffed with crates and machinery. Andy started walking right away, causing one of the security guys to scramble after her. She was already attempting to load up one of the ship's display console. She pulled out a few tools and within minutes had the schematic of the ship on display. "The bridge is that way. Up those stairs" she said pointing down the narrow hall to an even narrower staircase. She studied to display for a few minutes before unplugging the power source she'd connected to the display screen. "Come on." Once again she tried to lead the way, but this time the security guy stepped in front of her and led the way down the hall. The other security man took up a position at the back and Andy looked at Freya and rolled her eyes.
When the hall forked off at the stairs, Andy stopped. "Engineering is this way, I'm going to go see what the damage it." she said. The two bulking shadows exchanged a look and nodded. One followed Andy while the other led the way up the narrow staircase with Freya.
The occupants of the damaged vehicle were crowded unto the small bridge, some were pacing anxiously but most were slumped on the floor or against the bulkheads. A few were cradling the unconscious or dying in their laps. "Come on." Freya said pushing past the security guy to begin assessing. The first person she came to recoiled in fear at first, she was a young woman and her clothes were ripped, she had a hand across her gut and blood was caked on her hands. Freya looked around quickly and then nodded to the security officer. "This one first." she opened a comm link to Andy, "Can we transport off the bridge yet Andy?" When they'd arrived, they discovered a powerful field isolated around the bridge, preventing them from transporting directly to the people.
Andy's reply was garbled with static and it took a couple repeats to get an affirmative from her. "Ryan to Unity, one to transport now." she said after opening a link to the ship. She put a locator tag on the woman's shoulder and stepped back.
Nobody else was as bad as the first; even those that were unconscious seemed to mostly be suffering from oxygen deprivation. They were in the next batch to be sent back to unity. The few remaining seemed mostly unscathed and a couple were even out of place on the rusty, dingy ship. One, a female, stepped up to Freya and spoke in a fluid, but completely incomprehensible, language. Freya looked back at her security guard, who merely shrugged and started tapping on his translator.
Unfortunately they didn't have time to wait around for the translators to catch up before Andy's voice broke through the comm. "The life support is about to go out for good Freya - we better get home, you send everyone over to the Ark?"
"Almost, about to send the last few now." Freya replied as she placed locator tags on the rest of them. They looked at them curiously but not with apprehension as they'd seen her do the same with everyone else already. Although considering the translators were on the fritz, they had no idea their companions hadn't been beamed into space - trusting lot. After they were gone, Freya turned back her security escort and heard Andy and the other guy coming up the stairs as well. Just before they transported off the bridge, she felt the ship shutter under her feet as Unity locked on with a tractor beam.
"Where's my sister?!" one of the aliens thrashed under the care of the medical staff, trying to look around them.
"I guess the translators have caught up with their language then." Freya said, leaning over to look at the girl. She was a teenager and from the look of her clothes had worked around the engines. "Was your sister hurt?" Freya asked.
"Yas! Here!" she pointed frantically to her gut. "Have you seen her?! Is she good?"
"One of our doctors has her in surgery now. To fix the wounds." Freya pointed to the door to the surgery bay and the teen scrambled to get up from the bed. The nurses tried to grab her but Freya waved them off and followed the girl. She held her back from going inside but allowed her to look through the window in the door.
"You can stay here until she comes out," Freya said motioning to the bed closest to the door.
Reluctantly the girl moved away from the door and sat on the bed. "You are doctor?"
Freya nodded. "Yes, I am." She finished checking the girl over and then encouraged her to lay down and rest. Once the girl was settled, she finished treating the rest of their visitors. She noticed they were all very trusting and a quiet observant sort for the most part. There were two imposing security guards flanking the doors of the medical ward anyway, though the aliens hadn't shown the least bit of malice and most of them were still just barely waking up.
Captain Hunt walked into the bay and assessed the small crowd. Somehow leaders of the ability to find each other in a room, a matter of presence. Freya looked up as he zeroed in on the most likely candidates for the captain of the vessel and introduced himself. After several minutes of talking, he looked toward her; "Doctor, we have some guest arrangements for our new friends. As they are ready to be released, please inform me."
Freya nodded and pointed to the half dozen or so in the waiting area of the ward. "Those have all checked out fine, they can go." she looked to the others, still in the beds. "These mostly just need to finish waking up."
"Thank you." Captain Hunt nodded. He looked toward the others. "After you Captain, Ambassador." he nodded to a couple of them and as a group, they left the medical ward.