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Found 5 results

  1. Family Matters Jylliene, Annisha, and Prani No matter if you were a Rihan or a Yith from a long time ago, keeping a space station running takes a lot of effort. Thousands of people depend on a smoothly operating set of systems to protect them from without and from within. Prani knew these responsibilities, but until she had to practice them for a few days she did not understand the scope. Keeping the station going was more about putting the right people in the right places than about the technology. Even this comes to a temporary end, at least until the next shift. The day in engineering came to a close and Prani made her way home. Nijil's home. Prani stood at the door, but was it the right door? Aegis must have thousands of doors, all looking exactly alike. The computer helped her get there, but until she tried to get in she just did not know. She scrunched her forehead as she read the alien script, the level, and room number. Sighing, she rang the chime. Nothing happened. No one came. The door hissed open. "Father?" Prani looked down. "Oh, hello there," she said with a grin. A short Rihan girl stood at the threshold, her hands on her hips. "I thought the father just walked in. Au okay?" Annisha asked, her eyes piercing through her father's confusion. She moved aside to let him in. "I, err, it's been a long day and I just did not want to walk in on the wrong family." "Making house calls father?" She joked, skipping back to her desk. Papers were scattered all over its surface. Pencils and pens standing in a tall cup. Annisha sat back down and continued her sketches. Prani walked over to see what mess she made on the pages but was pleasantly surprised. Annisha looked up. "What do au think?" A drawing of a tall feline-like creature stood over what looked like herself. "Those people from the loud music all over the station, remember?" "Yes, it's a Yith." Prani said, turning her head to see the skewed picture. For some reason, everyone was leaning to the right. "Yith? They never said who they were. How do au know?" "I, well, new research, people listening...clues." Prani stumbled over her answer." Annisha gave her father a 'what au talking about' look. "Yith it is. Au know what that means in Rihan?" Prani shook her head. Annisha stood up and her father bend down to her. The girl whispered into her father's ear. Prani's mouth was agape, and she understood and why the girl did not say it out loud. Before Prani could think more about what her people's name means in the Rihan language, a sound came from another room. “Finally home?” Jylliene asked as she approached Prani. "Yes, they kept me busy today, meetings..arguments," Prani answered. She walked towards Jylliene to give her an embrace, not knowing if the couple did this sort of thing. Though it did feel somewhat strange, Jyll willingly hugged Prani, then turned to Annisha. “In the mood for anything specific for dinner?” "Oh," she exclaimed with mild forgetfulness. "I forgot to gather the ingredients to make a fresh dinner. At the outpost, err, I mean here I try to fix as much non-processed as I can." She looked Jylliene over. She likely had a long day as she did. Prani sat down at the kitchen table, trying to conjure up just the right meal. “We have the replicator for a reason. There’s no harm in using it for dinner now and then,” Jyll reassured. Annisha piped up. "Not like your cooking was bad. Say, how did au get so good all of the sudden father?" Prani turned to her. "Well, lots of lessons and classes at the holosuites...and my mother." “What are we in the mood for?” Jyll asked, cutting off the discussion in hopes of helping refocus attention away from Prani and the differences Annisha had noticed. "I read in the station's database," Prani said with a loud clap, "about a round flat dinner called pizza." “Sounds worthwhile.” Searching the term in the replicator’s menu, Jylliene related to the others the potential choices, with different sauces, meats, and vegetables. Prani went to the replicator and read the choices. "So many toppings. What are anchovies?" “Small strongly-flavored fish." Prani's mouth watered at the prospect of fish. She whispered into Jyll's ear. "Does Nijil like fish?" Jylliene nodded to Prani. “Anchovies it is. Let’s see...cheese, capers, and olives are all recommended with them.” She entered the order. *** Prani and Jylliene sat at the dinner table, a mostly eaten pizza lay in the middle. Annisha went to bed an hour ago after protests and yawns. Prani swirled the yellow liquid around in the clear glass in her hand. The bottle the liquid came from was almost empty. "Say, what is that stuff in the bottle again? It's making me feel funn, funnier." “Wine. Typically I would have had a bit more, but with the baby, I didn’t want to have more than a half glass or so.” Prani looked shocked. "Oh no, I've poisoned this body. I am so sorry. Will it recover?" She asked with an unsteady grin. Jyll chuckled. “He’ll be fine. Do the Yith not have any intoxicants they ingest?” "Oh we do, but alcohol really works us over." She held up the bottle. "This would have put me out for many hours, hic, and still might." “Well, you have Nijil’s physiology right now, not your own, and you can see he doesn’t react that dissimilarly. You’ll sleep pretty solidly.” "Oh oh oh, I, uhm...that reminds me. Annisha, and what a doll she is. She asked me if I was sleeping on the couch again and thought I was in trouble last night." Prani contemplated how to ask her next question. "She's a smart girl and I don't want to give her a reason to suspect anything, but perhaps I could sleep on the floor in your room, or on a bunch of pillows?" “Prani, you’re fine. I want you as well-rested as possible. For your sake and Nijil’s. Unless you’d prefer the floor.” "Oh, that's good news. I would love my own bed. It's a big round affair that would not fit through the door." She gestured with her hands just how round it was. "Oh, these arms are too small. You know you are all short...to me." She shrugged. “I imagine that’s why your bed is larger, then. I can see about getting something set up in here, but the more permanent changes we make, the more Annisha will suspect.” "Tell her it's for the baby. What baby does not have a bed two meters in diameter?" “It’s more customary for an infant to have one that’s perhaps one meter long by a half-meter or so in width, though it does vary. There can be even smaller ones, but the baby would outgrow it much faster.” Prani looked a mixture of happy and sad. "Oh, the baby. How far along are you? I don't know the gestation period for you." “About seven weeks now. Gestation is between 35 and 45 weeks; it’s a bit tricky to know for certain with a mixed-species pregnancy. Probably close to 38, though.” Prani started to tear up. "I will promise to get Nijl back well before then. He should not miss the first child's birth. You being supportive, and me being in his body, helps a lot." She took a final drink from her glass. "I had expected to be put in some kind of holding after revealing what happened." She looked at the glass. "Aww. no more drinky." “Come on. Sleepy time,” Jylliene said with a chuckle. “We could both use a good night’s sleep.” Prani nodded intently and started to get up out of her chair. "Oh my," and fell with a thud to the floor.
  2. “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” It seemed to Captain Chirakis that the Rihan child known simply as Annisha had a facility for swift computation of statistics, compiling complex bits of data for evaluation and making accurate conclusions even more quickly than some of the seasoned operatives with which she worked. As Annisha continued to assemble the bits of Aegis available to her on the view screen, the captain decided to up the ante by secretly removing two or three puzzle pieces. “I think your game is broken,” Annisha said with no change of expression. She tilted her head to view a piece of the station propped at a strange angle on the display. “Oh, this needs flipped.” The tiny exterior section of the outer hull was indeed flipped the wrong direction. Changing this however still left an incomplete version of the station on the screen. Annisha sat motionless and looked quizzically at what she had remaining. "If it is broken, then, to save the lives of those on the station, we must determine why it is broken, then formulate a strategy to fix it," the captain replied, mirroring the young engineer's concerned and puzzled expression. "Perhaps a three dimensional puzzle will clarify the problem." Kirel tapped the board to modify the image. "Ah,” she vaguely pointed, “do you see it?" “No,” Annisha answered, her voice trailing off. “I, um...wait.” She brushed her black hair back with her hand to get it out of her face, studied the additional dimension further, then started to manipulate the controls. In what looked like an ancient 3D Tetris game, the pieces began to fall into place. Not every attempt was successful and a few times she dug herself into a hole. She let out grunts at failed attempts, but kept at it. This diversion sucked her in. Minutes passed. Annisha hardly noticed the time, nor the Bajoran watching her. “I’m thirsty,” she said in the middle of moving a large piece with her fingers. She could be clever with puzzles like these, especially when it did not feel like a test. Everything stopped as she rubbed her eyes and wrinkled her nose, then resumed. Annisha let out a raspberry sound with her lips. “Oh...” When Annisha turned, a glass of water sat within reach. The girl grabbed the glass without lifting her gaze on the display. “Hmm...,” mused Kirel. “Why did I not think of that? It’s the obvious solution, and quite simple.” The child definitely had some kind of education, and possibly advanced. Moreover, she had been encouraged to explore. Aristocratic or high-ranking diplomatic family. Only they would have regularly used the vocabulary and high Rihan dialect Kirel had been speaking. Only they would have encouraged her in this type of education. If not, the child was either precocious or truly brilliant. “I believe it’s time to progress to the next step, Annisha. Are you ready?” “Next step?” She asked peering up. She then gave a brief smile and appraised her work. Her eyes danced around the outline of the station. When she arrived the true nature of Aegis had been hidden behind bulkheads. This station soon would be a memory as another transport sped her off to a new life on A’Tari. Not enough time to learn all of the kid-only hiding place. “I’m ready,” she mumbled as if in trouble. What did she know? “Then I have another surprise for you. A sanctuary into which few are admitted.” The Rihan vocabulary increased in difficulty. Kirel watched Annisha for signs of comprehension. “My office, wherein resides an athenaeum of documents and assorted paraphernalia that should be very interesting, especially for one of your caliber.” A button on the console erased the puzzle and brought up another outline of the station. Kirel gave one command. “Three-dimensional solid, one meter by one meter, non-permeable manipulative, monochromatic, materialize on the command office floor, central area,” she paused to consider, “difficulty seven.” She turned to Annisha. “Come.” “Toys?” she asked. “I had those. But I have drawings back at my bed. They gave me some paper. I can get them.” She got out of her seat and brushed back her hair again, its length had started to annoy her. She followed behind Kirel and got her first real view of her attire. “Why do you dress like a Tal Shiar person?” “Do I?” Kirel turned, bemused, as the office door opened. “I hadn’t thought of it that way. But now that you mention it, I suppose my uniform does resemble one. If you’re referring to the black,” she paused as the doors closed behind them, “I am a Starfleet officer but I work for a very special branch of Starfleet, a branch that wears black uniforms.” “Ohhhh,” was all Annisha could muster as she looked all around. Her excitement got a hold of her and she rushed to every corner to get a closer look. Every place she’d been since the Great Fire was plain and merely functional. Even her hero’s place seemed boring by comparison. “What’s this?” She pointed to the pieces of a puzzle in the middle of the room. Then she walked right in the middle of the numerous pieces and started grabbing each one. “What do you believe it to be?” “Something you put together? A house?” Annisha placed a piece on her head. She then took the piece and played with it in her hands. With her other hand she grabbed a piece on the floor and hooked it to the other one. “Look.” showing her accomplishment to Kirel. The captain turned from the bar, drinks in hand. “Excellent. I wonder if all the pieces fit together like that. And when you’re ready, I have some Romulan ginger ale for you.” “I have to put this together?” Kirel shrugged, setting the child’s glass on the coffee table close to her. “You do not have to do anything. You can sit and watch them put themselves together if you wish, but that may take a very long time. I’m sure they would appreciate some assistance.” She sat in an armchair and pressed a button, bringing Dr. Davis to the small viewscreen on her desk. Pressing a finger to her lips, Kirel pointed to Annisha, who seemed completely absorbed with the puzzle. “I’ve done this before, first you lay out all of the pieces so you can see what you have.” She began to arrange the pieces apart from each other. She sat in the middle of the pile and arranged them radially in circles around her. “This looks like a bird,” she said of a piece resembling such. A minute passed and she had placed all of the pieces out where she wanted. “Hmm.” She laid herself flat on the floor staring at the arrangement for a time. In short order the Rihan girl had moved pieces together appearing to be similar shapes. She wrinkled her forehead as she has seen something like this before. “These fit together like plates,” she observed, holding one-half a plate in each hand. She held them in midair as she looked on the floor for other pieces. She knelt, “Here’s one...and another.” She stacked the plate-shaped pieces into a pile. She spotted another piece, grabbed it and sat down with it. “Are we here?” “I am here. Are you?” She smirked, sipping her ale. “You are home, I am not,” she said, manipulating the piece for the tip of the station. The girl poked at the very top of the piece, an antenna relay or something. She smiled as the realization of all this hit. So many pieces. She’d never seen something this large or complex. A tinge of worry that she’d not get this finished crossed her mind. Her stomach growled and her mouth dry. “I think I need that drink now, please.” “The one on the table?” The captain pointed to the glass that had been sitting close to Annisha while she had absorbed herself in the puzzle. “Perhaps something to go with it?” Embarrassed, she grabbed the glass and took a long drink. “I think I may need more. This is a big puzzle,” she explained, spreading her arms wide and almost spilling her drink. “And big puzzles need more concentration, which can quickly drain your body of energy,” Kirel replied. “Computer, some of Dr. Davis’s cream scones, with chocolate bits for energy, on the table next to her.” Within seconds the plate materialized along with another glass of ginger ale next to the one Annisha had just drained. Annisha nearly jumped out of her skin and pounced on the treats before her. “Mmmm.” She ate quickly and started in on the puzzle before her. The universe around her shrank to encompass only the puzzle, and the occasional drink. After several hours’ work, the nine-year-old Rihan child had accomplished what should have been impossible for her age. Slowly, carefully, but not without a little frustration, she had completed a level seven difficulty puzzle of Sky Harbor Aegis, one intended to judge the manipulative ability and concentration of prospective station engineers - minus a few intricacies, of course. Kirel was nothing short of astounded, but refrained from showing it. Instead, she replicated another, smaller version, at the next level of difficulty, placed it in an Aegis satchel, and handed it to her before escorting her back to the orphanage.
  3. Sky Harbor Aegis-Cabana (Performed by the Aegis midway band Static Revolution to the music of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”) Her name was Jylliene, she was a Ops girl With a dark red uniform her work in CT was the norm She shifted power and ran the comm board And though she served in Starfleet, Nijil’s tea could not be beat Across the big Midway, it seemed they both would stay She had green eyes and he had green blood And keep foes at bay CHORUS: At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis (Sky Harbor Aegis) The hottest spot just off Kobheeria (here) At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis Dangerous missions were always the decisions At the Harbor....he found his love (Harbor, Sky Harbor Aegis) His name was Dabi, he married Mimi He sat at the security console, he watched Jylli lose control And when she finished, he kept a record But Dabi watched a bit too much, Nijil raced down to give a punch And then the insults flew and faces turned black and blue There was green blood and a single stun But just who shot who? At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis (Sky Harbor Aegis) The hottest spot just off Kobheeria (here) At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis Dangerous missions were always the decisions At the Harbor....they lost their loves (Harbor. . Sky Harbor Aegis) (Harbor Sky Harbor Aegis) (Sky Harbor Aegis, ahh ahh ahh ahh) (Ahh ahh ahh ahh Harbor..Sky Harbor Aegis) (Replicators makes good bananas) (Forcefields and phasers...better than Tasers) Her name is Jylliene, she was a Ops girl But that’s 30 light years ago, before they all had to go Now it's the mission, and new for Jylliene With pointed ears she had to wear, a short bowl cut for her hair She sits there terrified, and won’t come back alive. She’ll lose her mom…already lost Nijil Last she'll lose her mind! CHORUS: At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis (Sky Harbor Aegis) The hottest spot just off Kobheeria (here) At the Harbor (Har!), Sky Harbor Aegis Dangerous missions were always the decisions At the Harbor.... Do not look now You’re being watched... Sky Harbor Aegis Sky Harbor Aegis
  4. Dinner Guest Part I Jylliene entered her quarters after her shift and changed for dinner, then hit the communicator on the wall. “Jylliene to Nijil. Are you available? Did you have a preference as to where we should eat tonight?” In his own quarters, now only a few doors down, he heard the comm chime. He was holding some things and was unsure where to place them. He decided to hold on and hit the button with his nose. “I was having one of the midway locations deliver food to my room.” The sound of something falling, the crashing of metal, could be heard over the comm on Jylliene’s end. “Can you give me a minute?” Jylliene winced, and hoped her timing hadn’t led to anything too horrid. “Of course. I’ll be along in a few.” She closed the channel and figured at least that she could try to do something a little different with her hair. After walking to the bathroom, she looked in the mirror. Up? Well, it was already up anyhow. Different updo? Nah. Down, then? She nodded to her reflection, and pulled out the pins. Quick brushing...better. Nice, actually. Returning to the living area, Jyll checked the chronometer. A couple of minutes had passed. Barely. Jewelry? She glanced through the small box at her bedside table and found a necklace that looked promising. Putting it on, she went over to the mirror again, and nodded her approval. Back to the chronometer. That took...okay, now one minute later. Three minutes. Enough time? Maybe? Yes. She didn’t really want a lot of down time before dinner. She wasn’t really ready to process the possibilities of the mission ahead yet. The pleasant distraction of dinner with Nijil was indeed, very welcome. Jylliene exited her quarters and walked down the hall to his door, then rang the chime. “Just a second,” Nijil replied from the outer comm panel. That minute seemed longer, but it gave him time to clean up the mess and get the other things ready. Was there enough light or too much. Never mind she’s at the door, he thought. He ran to the mirror to see if he somehow hurt himself again. He walked back to the door and waited a bit. Jylliene waited patiently outside the door. Mostly patiently. She hoped that the crash hadn’t indicated ruined plans. Or a re-injured back. Or some new injury. “Is everything okay?” she called through the door. “Yes, please come in,” he said as he turned down the lights. Jyll entered and smiled as she looked around. “Very nice. Welcoming. Aefvadh..ing. Hm. What would that be? It’s good to see you, e’lev.” That word again. He hoped she used it like it meant, but now would not be the time to ask. All over the quarters sat candles. He heard they were quite mood setting, but after a while he wondered if it was supposed to be in the dozens. So many in fact he had to disable the fire suppression. “It’s good to have you here e’lev.” It felt good to say. Jylliene looked about again, and gestured toward the cushions surrounding the low central table. “May I?” she asked, approaching one of them. He nodded, “Please. Dinner will be here shortly.” A bottle of ale and two glasses were already set out. Nijil waited until Jy sat down. “Is this the infamous ale I’ve heard so much about?” Jylliene asked, glancing at the bottle on the table. “There was one in the cargo container I received. A note mentioned to save it for a special occasion and do not drink alone. I can think of no more special occasion.” Was he getting soft or less of a Rihan? He threw the notion from his mind. “I’m touched - hann’yyo,” she replied, softly, smiling at him. “Shall we open the ale, then? Or is it better with food?” “It’s strong with or without food.” He sat down opposite her. She looked...he had not words in Rihan or Standard. “You look nice.” “And you look refreshing,” she replied. “It’s good to see your face over dinner after finishing a shift. Or on a day at liberty. Anytime. I’m fumbling over my words now. May I ask for a glass of ale, then?” He touched her hand, “I’m having trouble with words as well.” He lifted his hand to open the bottle. He did not know the vintage, but then would not know what a good year was. The cork popped off. A whiff of its aroma caused him to go wide-eyed for a second. “Prepare yourself.” He poured his then hers. He raised his glass. “To...What is there to toast to?” “Life? Wait...no...how about...mnevher?” She glanced at him quizzically, not sure if that was quite the right word. “You are picking up the language well.” He raised his glass again. “May fortune favor our future.” Dierik ly beradar, she inwardly replied in her own tongue as she raised her glass. May it be. Part II Jylliene’s head swam a bit. The ale definitely had a kick to it. It likely didn’t help that she had already finished one glass - and dinner had not yet made it. Probably shouldn’t have downed it quite THAT quickly, she thought. Eh well. Live and learn. The door chime rang. “It’s here!” Nijil jumped up like a Ferengi leaping for latinum. After a few moments, he came back with several white containers of steaming hot food. “I searched for something I’ve never had. ‘Chinese’ I believe.” He smiled as he began to open the boxes. Some of the choices reminded him of home and others were foreign. “Oh, how inconsiderate.” He sat the boxes down so Jy could have first dibs. He took another drink. She looked in the boxes and selected one of the entrees, scooping some out onto her plate with her fork. Meat with what appeared to be little trees. Interesting. She also chose some rice, then gestured to the boxes for Nijil to take what he wanted. Jylliene took a bite, and smiled. “Good choice,” she said. “Thanks.” Each bite caused Nijil to pause to savor it. He nodded for some, not prepared for the spiciness of others. He looked up at Jy to see if the food was all right. “Sorry the quarters are still sparse. I’ve moved most of my things here, but it’s not setup yet.” He laughed. “My old bed and no couch. I’ve become a slob here.” His fork found another artificial schezwan chicken. “Not a slob. Someone who has just moved in. It takes some time to get things sorted out.” Nijil laughed again. He’d drank more than his fair share of the ale. “I’m a bit...tipsy. If that’s the right word. Oh and I lied to you earlier. You look really good.” He felt flush in the face now. The likelihood of him saying drink-encouraged things did not cross his mind. “So... Oh my. Well, has your family ever visited the station? I don’t hear you speak of them much.” “No, they haven’t. I’d not mind inviting them out, but almost as soon as I arrived, we went out on the planetary survey, then the other one, then the station retaking, then...” she paused. “Well, it just hasn’t necessarily been a good time to ask them to stop by. Wonder if it will ever be?” She grinned at this, but inwardly, did worry. Had she gotten herself an assignment that would never quite be a stable location? “I’m not sure if my parents would visit me here. They are people of the land not metal deck plates.” He paused. “Consider yourself lucky you can ask them. Ha, what would they think of me, enemy of the Federation?” Nijil no longer considered these people his enemy. “This is rather uncharted territory. Would that the circumstances leading to this had never happened.” She paused. “Though I’d hope we’d have met under some more favorable circumstances, somehow.” “You as my prisoner? Sorry sorry...” Nijil jokingly quipped. He started to look directly at her now. He looked a tad lit. She giggled. “No, no, you’re beginning to sound like our Daise security there.” Wait, did I just giggle? What am I, five? She eyed her glass. She didn’t remember having topped it off. Jylliene decided it would be a very good idea to finish her food before having more of the ale. She glanced at Nijil’s plate. “Would you care for more?” she asked, gesturing toward his empty plate with her fork. “Please before this drink goes to my head.” Jylliene nodded, and then looked about the table. Hm. They only had their forks, which they had been eating with now, to do so. Perhaps she could carefully empty some of the box onto his plate. Having decided to attempt it, Jylliene began well, but ended up with half the box on his plate in one sudden shift of the contents. She blushed, and quickly righted the box. “I’m sorry!” Nijil leaped up, thinking either he’d been hit with food or she got it on her hand. “Are you alright? Oh, I thought it got on you...like last time. She giggled. Again with the giggling? Really, Jyll, get a hold of yourself. “No, no, I just didn’t mean to dump quite so much out.” She eyed the mound of food. “Hope you’re still rather hungry.” She grinned. “I’ll manage,” He said smiling widely. … Nijil did manage. The two of them finished the last of the food. Either it was good or they were both hungry. One thing’s for certain, the Romulan Ale was a strong brew. Jylliene leaned back against the wall, a spare cushion behind her back, in a kind of makeshift chairback. “That was delightful.” “Nothing compared to the company,” he added without a thought. She grinned at him. “Is that you or the ale speaking?” “The what? What did I say? Oh no, I’m sorry to offend.” His eyes looked worried. Jylliene laughed. Oh good, not a giggle. Good good. “No, no, you’ve done nothing to offend me. You’re just a little more...forthcoming. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. And for the record,” she added, “I agree. Good food, but more enjoyable company.” “I have more things to say and more I’m thinking about. Uh, what am I saying? The ale is strong.” He could see the light from the candles flickering off her face. She seemed a little flushed herself. “I solemnly swear I will not hold what you say against you when we both clear our heads, provided you do the same,” she replied, grinning. “The ale is definitely strong. And good. My first taste of it. Hann’yyo.” He reached out with his hand and brushed her cheek with the back of his finger. “I’d really rather wait until I’m not floating, or you're not floating.” He retracted his hand. “I’m glad you liked it. Hard to get in the Federation does not mean everyone will like it.” He smiled broadly while looking into her eyes. Nijil was sleepy now. Wait, what time was it? He looked at a clock on the far wall. “Oh my, it’s nearly 02:00! When do you need to get up?” He asked in a lazy panic. She thought. “In...about five hours. Shift starts at 0800. I had better get back to my quarters if I expect to get any sleep.” Jylliene stretched. “How about here?” He nearly whacked his own head with his palm. “Nevermind, you’d not sleep well here, not in that lumpy thing,” he said pointing at his small bed in the other room. Nijil got up...whoa...and leaned a bit. The flushed Rihan held out his hand. She’d need it as the station was experiencing an attitude problem. He should inform the Chief. She took his offered hand and stood up. So far, not too bad. A little unsteady but - Jylliene slipped off the dress shoes. Much better. She’d make sure she had breakfast before the shift as well. “Will you be okay? Don’t forget to reactivate the fire suppression system.” “Yes. I’ll have the computer get all of that. I just wanted you to have a good evening, not a late morning.” “I had a wonderful evening,” she replied, smiling. “But we’ll try to keep evenings of this length to rare events. Before we end up falling asleep on duty.” “Agreed.” He escorted her to the door. “Do you need a walk home, down the hall? “Na, hann’yyo, e’lev. You can certainly watch me to my door from here, if you’ll feel better, though,” Jylliene replied, grinning. “Sure.” He remembered something she said earlier about not holding him to anything he said right now. Not sure she meant actions, he pulled her closer and laid a kiss on her. He figured he’d not feel loose enough to do this later. She smiled. “Perfect ending. Good night.”
  5. A Fine Mess Joint log, Nijil and Jylliene Jylliene selected a cup of coffee and turned to look for a seat. There were none to be had. Half the ship must be here. The Bolian twins sat at the table with the best view. A Lieutenant from Cestus III started to get up...only to let someone else sit in his place. A hushed silence fell over the room as if at a wake rather than close to a meal hour. She was all but ready just to take her coffee back to her quarters. She glanced about to see if anyone looked ready to get up, but didn’t see...wait, a seat appeared to be free! It was off to one side and rather in a corner, but she did not care. She ran. Aegis’ newest engineer should have stopped at the fourth cup of caffeinated spice tea, but the replicator could create a nearly infinite amount. His nose was glued to the PADD in his hand. Could this be the good news he’d been searching for all this time? He frowned and looked up. He appeared only a meter away from the far wall. How no one was injured along his trek was unknown. Where was his seat? Whoever took it would be sitting among his other padds and notes. On elements! His notes. He panicked. Jylliene drank her coffee and glanced about her. Someone had left a sizable pile of PADDs about - oh dear. She doubted someone would leave their things behind, so somewhere in the room, someone was going to be heading this way and looking for their chair. She glanced about and spotted the Romulan engineer she had met on the bridge right about the time of the explosion. He looked...slightly agitated? She leapt up. Nijil looked about. Someone jumped up in his peripheral view, but they failed to catch his eye. Best to head to the center and pretend to be just arriving rather than showing everyone he’d lost his seat. He put his best try not to really be looking for my mess face on. He slowly walked ahead. Jylliene watched the man, a somewhat puzzled expression on her face. “Pardon me...Mr. tr'Korjata?” she called to him. “Ie?” He’d been caught with his PADDs down. She gestured toward the pile of PADDs, then to the chair. “Was this your seat?” She stepped back out of the way. Doing some kind of ancient Rihan run, panic and green-in-the-face ritual he arrived at his long lost table. Why was she here? Nodding in confirmation, “Ie.. I mean yes. These are my things. Notes,” Nijil began to see what she may have seen, “Engineering items...people I know.” He did not have the energy to ask her to go somewhere else. Actually there was no where else to go. “Perhaps we should share this table. It is quite busy now.” The Romulan took the opposite seat, shoving the PADDs into a neater pile, then placed his cup down. Jylliene smiled appreciatively. “Thank you,” she replied, and sat back down, cupping her mug in her hands. “You’ve been busy - the work of an engineer is never done, I imagine,” she added. “Na, it is not. I have to ask, did you see anything on these PADDs?” He looked a tad worried. “No,” she grinned, as she replied, “I only noted that I was surrounded by them. And only after rushing to claim a seat.” She thought about adding a mildly chastising remark about his leaving something he deemed sensitive unattended, but she had no idea if he’d take it in the teasing way she’d intend - so she let it drop. He exhaled in relief. “There are no state secrets here,” gesturing to the pile. “At least I don’t believe so.” Elements, was he actually nervous around this human with a strange pattern along the side of her face? “You have striking hair, Mr. tr’Korjata.” “Oh?” He feels his hair. Perhaps he combed it without remembering. No, it was in bad shape. “Oh.. My activities should not affect my appearance. I’m not sure how we’ll I’d do in Starfleet. It’s this cursed tea I’ve grown attached to.” He rubbed his eyes. “I meant it as a compliment, in a way. It reminds me of when my parents were buried deep in their work with a publication deadline. It reminds me a bit of home - and for that, I thank you.” Jylliene smiled at him again. “Home. Mine is gone on two fronts. These pictures and holo recording are all I have now.” She winced. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cause further pain.” She wanted to go on, to apologize further, but she stopped there. She doubted she’d have anything she could say that would help at all. “It’s alright. Many Romulans have suffered and I understand our reputation in the alpha quadrant. Many would turn a blind eye toward our plight. My life is seemingly to become a member of Starfleet. If only my father could hear me say that. The Galae is in disarray, factionalized. Who would have thought.” Nijil takes a sip. “Oh, and our prospects of finding a new home has been reduced by one.” Jylliene nodded. “That was...quite an explosion. I don’t know if they’ll get it figured out or not - the cause - but I have to admit, I’m almost - *almost* glad it’s gone. It was driving me quite nearly mad watching them investigate when there was another planet waiting to be explored.” She sighed. “No matter now, regardless. Off to the next one, and let’s hope this one holds more promise than the previous ones.” “I hope so.” He picked up PADD with only a picture of a young-looking Romulan woman displayed. He laid it back on top of the pile. “Do you mind if I ask who is in the picture?” she asked tentatively. He gave her a look as he pondered her question. “It’s not a bondmate, but my sister. Three months with child.” This clearly soured his mood. His expression showed it. She frowned. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. She is very lovely.” “Yes. Don’t worry about the prying. I’ve not been a typical Romulan for some time. No one has asked. I think Captain Ramson is the only one I’ve spoken to for any length since I arrived. It was a strange experience at that.” Takes another drink. “I’ve had more time with her as my captain since arriving than under Captain Chirakis. I didn’t really expect to spend so much time on a starship after being assigned to a starbase,” Jylliene said. “Seems to be very comfortable in command of the Aegean.” This was definitely a bit of a test - she hoped the change in topic would relax him a bit. Well, as relaxed as she’d ever seen a Romulan, anyhow. Or it would make things worse. He stared at Jylliene right in the eyes. “She did something to me. Something I was not prepared for...a passing of information sprinkled with emotion and memories.” He thought for a moment. “I’ve heard of Vulcan’s and their mind melds, but this was something the war college did not teach us.” She suddenly reminded him of someone, probably a memory not his own. Jylliene nodded slightly, a bit surprised at first, until pieces starting coming together in her head - the verbalizer, a memory of a colleague of her mother’s - she’d have to look over the roster a little more closely; she hadn’t really spent much time except on learning about Captain Chirakis and Mr. Dabi. “This universe is not about me. So, what of you?” Nijil had no specific questions, but just curiosity. Jylliene pondered that. “Just a girl out to find herself. Well, not really. My parents were in academia, and I was set to follow in their footsteps. It wasn’t until I quit the preparations for being joined that I decided my path led elsewhere. In this case, to Starfleet. Thankfully, I think my parents are accepting of it -- even if perhaps they had envisioned a different destiny for me.” No bondmate to...tie you down? I’m not sure of the phrasing.” “Bondmate? Oh - oh, no - well, no, I have no bondmate, but that wasn’t what I was leaving. Have you not met a Trill before?” Jylliene replied, smiling. “Joining is being joined with a symbiont. I saw someone I knew well change completely after joining - the symbiont’s personality was perhaps a bit overpowering for him - and I wasn’t sure I really wanted that. That’s what I left.” “Sounds invasive if you pardon my outlook. All of this...” he spread his arms wide,”...is new to me.” “In that particular case, it was. In many, many cases, it isn’t. It’s a joining, not a conquest, if that makes sense? The host gains the memories of the symbiont and, yes, the personality can come through. That’s why there are preparations - to make as certain as possible that the match will be suitable. But - well, I just wasn’t ready to risk it.” “Sounds like you would gain a lifelong consciousness or friend...whatever it is Trill call it. The universe can be a cruel place alone.” She nodded. “You do. You’re never really quite alone. And that is both good, and bad.” Jylliene thought for a moment, and then added, “I suppose it is very similar to a bondmate.” He looked down at his nearly empty tea. “Over the past few months I would have sacrificed much to gain a friend, some ear to listen. My people are slowly breaking apart. My family is lost. It would be easier if I knew they were dead.” He looked up at at her cup. “Bah. I’m depressing the room.” “If I can be an ear for you sometime - anytime - I will.” She smiled slightly. “It would be appreciated. You still have not touched a quantum singularity yet,” he added. Jylliene laughed. “No, I haven’t.” She glanced up, and her eyes widened. “But I think perhaps next time - how long have we been here??” The room was empty, save for the cook, who was glancing their way impatiently. “What do you... where is everyone? What time.. oh my! I am late, or soon will be.” Nijil placed his head on the table. “Well, that won’t get you there any faster. Can I help you carry any of this?” “Yes, to my little hole-in-the-bulkhead of a room they gave me. I nearly have to sleep standing up.” Nijil began to stand and handed her a selection of PADDs. Jylliene accepted them as she stood, and prepared to follow. The doors opened upon their approach and closed just as silently behind them.