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Turning Rihannsu, Part II

[Joint log, Jylliene and Nijil - after sim of SD 2387.180]


Jylliene sat at the controls of the Nei’rrh. She ran through the commands again, reading the controls aloud to Nijil, with their translations. Glancing over at him, she waited for confirmation or correction.


“You are correct,” Nijil said with a slight grin. If this had been anyone else the gesture would be a bit out of place.


She exhaled. “That’s a relief. Now what, rekkhai?”


“So the controls are readable. How are your response times? What if I do this?” The engineer completely changed the control locations. He waited for her reaction.


She took a deep breath and ran through them again. “Though perhaps, if I could make a suggestion," she added, when she was finished, "call out the commands and I’ll indicate the control? I’ll need to be able to react immediately.”


He considered her request for a moment. “I can simply use Federation standard. No need to complicate things further. Getting the controls is important though - unless your interest spans beyond this mission.”


Jylliene pondered that. “Let me make sure I have it down from Standard - but I’d like to practice Rihan as well,” she responded, with a glance at him.


Nijil put the console into simulator mode.


“Daom Itheil idh!” he exclaimed with some measure of urgency.


Her hand flew to the control, activating left thrusters on full.




She grinned. “Hann’yyo. Onre?”


Nodding, he continued, “Hnahn aeh’lla!”


Jylliene activated the cloak.


They kept at this for some time. What she hesitated on, Nijil repeated later, and she improved. The only one she missed entirely, they repeated several times immediately, and then later.


“Siu?” she eventually asked.


He pulled up his PADD and answered, “A few minutes past 13:00 ship time; does not feel like it, though.”


She nodded. “How long do you want to continue?”


“I’m even tired of Rihan,” Nijil said while laughing.


“I didn’t know that was possible,” Jylliene replied with a grin. “We have been at this for...what, four hours or so now? I *am* getting hungry.”


The teacher agreed. “How about something from the shuttle replicator? Strange as it sounds this...thing reminds me of home. Can’t imagine it does for you.” He looked out the cockpit window to a gray wall at the other end of the cargo bay. The gray and green seemed to clash somehow. The longer Nijil remained in Federation facilities, the more distant Romulus became.


“That sounds good. I should try to get comfortable here on the Nei’rrh.”


“Good,” Nijil replied, relieved. “Let’s go to the table in the back. A little more suitable.”


Jylliene nodded and followed Nijil.


“Will you have to be transformed into a Rihan for this mission, or did they decide?” His curiosity was genuine.


“Not that I’ve been told. I’m on loan for operating the shuttle, not so that you have yet another non-Rihan “Rihannsu” to worry about on the station.”


“Is there an option to buy? You could be my slave.” He joked, only partially teasing; another part dipped in reality.


She glanced at him and rolled her eyes. “You wish. What’s on the menu here?”


He tapped on the console of the replicator, honestly uncertain of what the vessel offered in the way of food. “A wide selection of dinners, soups and drinks. No Romulan Ale, sadly.”


“Probably good that it doesn’t,” she interjected. “I’ll take whatever you have, unless you’re getting soup. I’m a bit hungrier than that.”


So was Nijil, and for other things. He perused the menu items for something she’d like as well. If they did indeed take what they had farther, he’d want her to experience what he remembered. Not the current Romulus, now a giant wasteland. The air in the shuttle felt chilled. Of course, he recalled. Earlier he had to take the life support system offline in order to implement the changes.


“I think I have something you should like. Are you cold by chance?”


“It’s a bit cool in here, yes."


One plate of hot food materialized in the replicator. Nijil grabbed the edges carefully and placed it on the table. Then he got his own plate and sat it down. Instead of sitting, he went out of view for a moment. He came back with a blanket of some unknown material and placed it around Jylliene. “There you go, now let me get some tea.” Back to the replicator he went to order his favorite hot tea.


Jylliene started to eat. The food was indeed good, and the blanket, nice; she hadn’t really noticed how cool it was in the shuttle while they were training. Now, however, she did. The tea was excellent. She did feel comfortable in here with him, though now more than any other time on the Aegean or on Aegis, she felt like she was in his realm.


Nijil dug into his food as well. Some of the tastes he remembered, some not. Even with the hot tea goosebumps could be seen on his arms. Only one blanket was in that compartment - something he’d have to change later. For a moment, he merely stared at his plate as a memory crossed his mind.


Nijil suddenly recited, “Don’t you go off to the Galae, Nijil, like your brother. You should stay here and help us on this farm. Business is looking up. You’d do well here. Your brother is chasing a dream and he does not need to bring you along. Now eat your greens, we’ll be getting up early tomorrow.”


Jylliene looked at Nijil. “E’lev? Are you okay?”


“She didn’t want me to join. Afraid I’d die out here, away from the comforts of home and Romulus.” His eyes started to water. “My brother had already gotten his commission.”


She stood up, moved her plate and tea over to sit next to him, and spread out the blanket to wrap over them both. Putting her arm around him, she kissed his forehead.


He took the blanket and leaned on her shoulder. “I guess this time she was wrong, even if her heart was in the right place. I really hated her for saying that, but I’d give anything to see them now. I don’t even know if I’m an uncle.” He let out a long sigh. “You are all I have and maybe that little girl back at the station. My apologies.”


“No, no you don’t - no apologies for this. I’m here for you.”


Nijl, in this for him fragile state, only nodded. “I believe you have the language part down. Do you have a background in linguistics?” He wiped something from his eye.


“My mother studied linguistics. I learned a little of several languages. Mostly long dead ones, but root languages of others. It’s not that I knew any Romulan before coming to Aegis - but I’ve learned how to learn languages, if that makes sense? If you learn enough, you’re likely to find one that you already know that has a similar structure that you can plug the new one into." She considered this for a moment and the added, "Don't be too impressed, though. Matching commands to controls is just a matter of vocabulary. Save the compliments for when I'm able to carry on a conversation."


“Sort of like understanding foreign ship systems,” he quipped while tilting his head back and forth. “I think I understand.” He then asked, his head still resting on her shoulder, “What element are you?”


“Hm? What do you mean?” she replied, stroking the side of his face.


“Rihans believe each of us are forged from one of four elements: Air, Ground, Fire, and Water - Jaeih, Avilh, Okhala, and Ihhuein.” He drew each elemental symbol in her hand as he spoke. “I think you can guess my parents.”


“Ground - Avilh?”


“Yeah. Brother was air. Sister, fire. And I... I was water.”


She drew the symbol for water with her fingertip against his chest, over his heart. “I think I can understand that. What would you think I am?”


“I don’t believe Fire. At least I don’t think so,” he said, grinning. “You don’t share many traits with my parents, so Ground is not likely. That leaves only Water or Air. I’d hope for a Water, but would gladly take an Air.” He looked up at her and laughed. “I guess it’s all a bit silly once you think of it.”


Jylliene chuckled. “Maybe, though recognition of one’s temperament is hardly useless." She pondered that. “I fled everything that was settled and expected of me, and yet, I’m happy here in the security of the rules and directives of Starfleet and the captain - I don’t know that an Air could say that, do you think?” She pondered. “Probably Water - but I suppose perhaps we’ll find out more when we get back to Aegis..?” she added, with a grin.


Nijil looked into her eyes and smiled.

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