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A Last Duty by NyokoEdit

Nyoko materialized in the small town of Shorthill. It was Nyoko's first time this region of North America. As she began to take in the her surroundings it really was like a different world. The homes were all old and classic colonials each with some kind of porch or tall white columns in the front. The town was spread out across the hills with wide fields and winding roads. It only took Nyoko a few moments to measure up the place and conclude she wasn't in Japan anymore.

She wandered about the township dressed in typical modern fashion with her retro-sunglasses on her face. She was greeted warmly by the locals. That wasn't so out of the ordinary as she was used to the small town living. She had decided to settle in before she set out on the task she had come here to complete. After she had checked into one of the period southern hotels, the kind that was made to replicate the style of 400 years ago. She had decided to get so thing to eat.

She was surprised at the demographic facts and right about when she was seated for dinner, and after being asked, "You're not from around here are yah?" on more then one occasion. Nyoko had a feeling she was the only Asian woman in this town. But it didn’t bothered here to much. She had came here for Laurel's sake. Since this was part of Laurel's life she intended to experience a little bit of the American South.

The menu was loaded with all kinds of barbecue and deep fried meats. It was certainly beyond Nyoko's typical diet habits. Though she would have preferred some rice, vegetables, and sushi. She settled for something that wasn't too foreign, Barbecue chicken, grilled asparagus, and red mashed potato. The meal was very filling and Nyoko particularly enjoyed the sauce. She also tried the local beer called Steel Rail a recipe that was over 400 years old now. She enjoyed that too. Then dinner came to an end and she took a walk around the town square which feature a white fence around a green knoll and an unoccupied gazebo.

Nyoko sat on a single bench under an oak tree. She took in the quiet county town atmosphere and began to wonder how this place fit into Laurel's life. Nyoko's visit here brought up a many questions, questions that will never be answered. Slightly disappointed she looked up at the tree. Then with a sigh she stood up and started to make for the exit of the park. She crossed paths with a older man walking this dog and Nyoko stopped to give him his right of way.

"Evening M'am" he said with the thick southern accent.

Nyoko smiled and responded politely. Then went to pass him. She would have kept going if he didn't speak.

"Yer one o' Laurel's friends?" the old man asked.

Nyoko stopped short. She was surprised to how the man guessed. She knew she was out of place but she couldn't believe it was THAT obvious.

"Yes, I am-" Nyoko responded.

"Yer, Starfleet folk I reckon," the older man responded. His dog now sniffing a rock that was sticking out of the rich grass.

"I m sorry, have we've met?" Nyoko asked.

"No we havn't. D'oh it don't take much think power to figure you out." He said.

"Is that so?" She responded with a smirk.

"Indeed, Laurel was troublesome one growing up, not at all normal like the other kids." He started to explain. "It was no surprise that she leave here for the stars."

Nyoko listened quietly. She knew Laurel's background wasn't a happy one. Though in all reaility That was speculation. Her old friend rarely ever spoke about her childhood or home town. Thus Nyoko always assumed it wasn't a happy time.

"Dem Orkenys lived in this town for generations as docs. She's da only one that didn't fallow dah tradition." The old timer continued.

The dog stopped sniffing and lifted his leg and nature did the rest.

"So ye here, looking all sophisticated, it speaks louder then words."

"What words are those mister?" Nyoko asked politely.

"Dat, Laurel is some were close, or yer here to bring dah bad news," he pointed out flatly and Nyoko frowned heavily.

"Ah, dah bad news," he answered for himself.

The dog had done doing his business on the rock and now had taken an interest in Nyoko. He started to climb up on Nyoko but ye old man tugged on the leash. Nyoko looked down sympathetically and she kneeled down to pet the dog.

"Yeah," she said sadly. "Bad news"

"Well, gonna say yer task will be too hard," the Southern old timer scratched his thick beard.

"Why do you say that?" Nyoko asked.

"Because she didn't have much friends here" he responded.

Nyoko could believe that. Although Laurel was well liked by here peers she lacked that set of social confidence. Although the academy days corrects most of that she never did have any luck with the boys. So Nyoko agreed silently with a nod.

"Say, you were her friend, right?" the old timer asked.

Nyoko had finished petting the dog and was standing up from her crouched posture.

"Yes, I was, perhaps her closest," Nyoko answered.

The old man nodded in satisfaction. "I'm glad, you seem like the genuine type."

"Can you tell me where I can find the Orkney residence?" Nyoko asked.

"I reckon her mother still lives up on dah hill still," he answered.

"Thank sir-",

"No thank you, for being a true friend to little carrot top," he responded.

Nyoko and the old man parted and she made her way for the Orkney Residence on top of Mason Hill. Nyoko had no means of transportation so she bummed a ride up to the house from a local. When she arrived finally the house was something out of a old hollywood black and white film. It was a old farm house truly a through back and Nyoko had to wonder if his old house had electricity. The yard had all kinds of ornaments and the porch had wind chimes dangling from its roof. She made her way down the pathway and up the old steps. Then she looked for some kind of door bell there wasn't any.

"Poor girl, no wonder why she ran way to join Starfleet," Nyoko said to herself.

Then she went for the door knocker. She lifted it and then hammered it way four times. Then she waited quietly and the doors finally open. It was a man his hair skin dark and hair short and curly.

"Good evening miss, what can I do for you?" he asked I'm that very common southern accent that Nyoko ha heard all day.

"I'm here to see Doctor Orkney," Nyoko explained.

The man tilted his head, "I'm afraid she isn't a resident here anymore, not since the last eight years." He responded.

"No, I mean the other doctor Orkney." Nyoko reaffirmed.

"Oh! You mean Grace." He realized though confused with what business young eastern woman had with the old lady. "Come on in!"

Nyoko stepped into the house and she carefully kept her arms by bedside. The interior wasn't as bad as the exterior and to Nyoko's surprise here was lights, and running water Dr Orkney's aid lead her through the entry room and down a hallway through a working 20th century kitchen and out the back into a patio room where an elderly woman sat quietly.

Nyoko stepped into the house and she carefully kept her arms by bedside. The interior wasn't as bad as the exterior and to Nyoko's surprise here was lights, and running water Dr Orkney's aid lead her through the entry room and down a hallway through a working 20th century kitchen and out the back into a patio room where a very older woman sat quietly in the corner of her sun room.

Nyoko took a deep breath. She hated this part of her job but she owed it to her friend. She had one last duty perform before she was finally on vacation. As she approached she saw the mother of her dearest friend. The similarity was dead in eyes, nose and checks. Nyoko assumed that if this had been fifteen years eailer the lady’s gray hair would have likely been a sea of rubies.

"Grace, a lady it here to see you," the Aid said.

"Well, who is it?" She asked in her thick southerner accent.

Nyoko approached from behind and when was asked to identify herself she did.

"Captain Honda M'am, from the starship Okinami" Nyoko said.

"Now what business does a Starfleet Captain-" She came to an abrupt stop as the realization came to mind. That the reason why Nyoko was here likely had to do with her daughter who hadn’t responded to her family’s efforts to reach out to her.

“Is this about my daughter?” The woman asked.

Nyoko swallow hard and nodded slightly. The motions didn’t sit well with the retired doctor. She let her old book lay face first in her lap as she looked out the window. The woman’s elderly face bore complete dispare dreading the news that Nyoko was about to bring. Nyoko sighed deeply and she sat next to the lady on the couch. She looked a good long moment waiting for when the retired doctor would allow her to speak her peace.

“Is she-“

“Doctor Orkney, let me begin by saying your daughter was one of my dearest and kindest friends I had ever known,” Nyoko cut in.

The past tense words gave the truth about Laurel’s state away and the old lady shut her eyes in utter grief. Nyoko frowned so heavily hating herself for bring this peaceful woman so much aggony. Though she pressed on, she had her duty to complete. She reached into her bag to grab hold of two items she was to present to the monther.

“How?” The retired doctor asked. “She wasn’t even in starfleet anymore.”

Nyoko stopped from removing the items from her bag and gave the mother her attention.

“Laurel’s civilian work was part of top secret military project called 616. I cannot disclose the details of the project. However I can tell you her work will change the federation for the better.” Nyoko explained.

Then she pulled out the triangle folded federation flag. Once the retired doctor saw that she lost herself in grief. She cried hard and Nyoko sat there loathing herself for having to do this. She held the flag in her lap waiting for a pause in the water works. A good deal of time passed but as soon as there was laps in the sob she continued.

“The project posed a threat to an enemy of the federation. They made efforts to terminate the project and It’s believed Doctor Orkney didn’t survive the attack on her libratory. The Federation has listed her as Civilian Casualty of war, and updated her personal recored as M.I.A.” Nyoko explained.

The doctor’s face contorted in pain when she heard the term MIA. Such a awful term that has been coined by military organizations since the beginning of time. It was an explanation given to explain the unknown missing servicemen. She had heard it before as everyone knows that being lost during combat is an occupational hazard dating back to the beginning of conflict.

Nyoko held the flag out for the mother to take. She took it in her arms and hugged it to her chest, then began sobbing again. Nyoko swallowed hard and again forcing every bit of self-discipline to remain professional and in control. She sighed deeply and then she went moved to end this awful experience.

“Doctor Orkney, the Federation has awarded your daughter Daystorm Science Award,” She opened a box with the medal inside it.

Since the mother was not accepting anything else due to her emotional state, Nyoko left the box open displaying the medal on the coffee table. Then after a long sympathetic moment, Nyoko decided it was time to leave. Adjusting her shirt some and looked to the Aid watching in concern.

“I best be going,” Nyoko informed him.

He nodded.

“Wait-“ The doctor said and Nyoko did.

“You said she was your friend?” The retired doctor asked.

“Yes. One of a kind,” Nyoko responded.

“I’m glad she had someone as sincere as you Miz Honda,” she said fondly. “I do have one request.”

Nyoko looked at the doctor curiously. She then she turned towards her to hear her best friend’s mother out. After all, how could she turn Laurel’s family down now after they sacrificed so much for the Federation? Nyoko sat back down now looking at the old lady that had picked up the medal and started t examin it. Then she looked at Nyoko.

“Could you spend some time with me, and tell me how she fit into your life,” Doctor Orkney asked.

Nyoko did exactly so. She told Dr Orkney all the stories of her adventures. She told her about the first time Laurel and her met. She reminisced about some of the missions they did together, about the fox hole they shared on Magnose Three. The Augmented Gorn she and Orkeny had to take on hand to hand and the night life they persuade together often. She went on to talk about the vacation but left out the colder parts that occurred in the recent years. The scandal specifically that caused her to leave Starfleet despite her warnings. Nyoko went on for a good hour and half talking about Laurel her friend, the one she lost to an assassination effort, an effort that nearly claimed her own life as well.

Once Nyoko had ran out of stories it was time for her to go. She bidded the Doctor farewell and she was given permission to come back at any time. Nyoko had no intentions of doing so. Laurel had died and although her friendship will forever feel like a loss. Nyoko had no interest in looking backwards. After all it was never her style. She was polite and after she left the house she walked quietly down the dark path to the road. She relived moments in her mind of her dearest friend. Then once she had cleared the yard and was standing on the duirt road she came to a realization.

It was time now to say good bye. Silently she did and after long moment in the darkness. She tapped her combadge to open commutation.

“Space Dock.” Nyoko said sadly, “One to beam up.”

Then in a haze of blue phase surrounded her and she disappeared. Nyoko had completed her duty. Then off she was to Japan for some well needed rest. She didn't even bother to check out either.

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