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It's Not Spam If You're Sorry [Anastasia's Farewell Log]

Dear Michael,


How do should I begin? “I hope you’re well” seems so insincere. I mean, I do hope you’re well. But isn’t that what everyone says in letters to their ex-spouse?


I know we haven’t spoken since we separated. That’s on both of us—it’s not like either of us is exactly hard to find. I guess we still think the other needs time.


I know I did, and said, things that hurt you. I wish I could just keep saying “sorry” until it would fix things between us.


I know nothing I do can fix things between us.


But as I sit here, about to tender my resignation, the only person I want to tell is you. The only person I think could understand, even if you don’t care any more, is you.


My research, my reputation, my husband … Starfleet has taken it all from me. Everything except my life itself, and even that has been in question too many times to count.


I’ve never been an enthusiastic explorer. Like so many others, I joined Starfleet because of the promise of a stable career path, of connections that would help me become a better researcher and join more interesting teams to solve the open problems of this era. I dreamed of reaching new heights in the field of cybernetics.


The Academy was a chore, yes, but a bearable one. My posting to Jupiter Station was the type of sedate assignment I preferred. My transfer to Challenger was … well, a mistake. Not a mistake, not really, not where mother was involved … but that seemed like lifetimes ago.


I hated it at first. Then some more. I kept wanting to leave, to escape the cavalcade of diplomats and subspace anomalies and pirates and Romulans. This wasn’t science! Science was sitting alone in a dark room listening to depressing music and wondering why your latest experiment had ended in failure. Science was laughing and chatting with your colleagues, who were also your friends, while solving the mysteries of neural networks. Science was not having your life threatened by strange creatures or hostile humanoids.


Then my husband made the obnoxiously sweet gesture of closing his practice and enlisting in Starfleet just to serve alongside me. Having you aboard Challenger began to turn things around. For a time, I was genuinely content. I thought I had everything I wanted: a good ship, a good companion, a good career.


But when things fall apart, they don’t always do so in a dramatic and obvious way. They don’t always fall apart in order, either.


When the opportunity arrived to head up a new cybernetics project, I grabbed it. I said goodbye to Challenger, if not eager to leave any more then certainly not disappointed by the prospect. This was the project of a lifetime for me, and my colleagues were some of the best and brightest.


I still don’t know, looking back, when I lost you. It’s a timeless story. We drift apart. We feel separate. The things we once said out of meaning soon become things we said out of habit, and then things we didn’t say at all. In the end, there was nothing to say.


I drifted, and I lost focus. Starfleet shut down my project. I still don’t know why. They packed me off to Challenger like I had only been on temporary secondment. We all knew it was a farce, but since I was the actor and not the writer I could only play my part.


Challenger was the same, yet different. Some of the same people. Some new faces, too. Whispers, when I didn’t return with you in tow, and then when I started acting … more flexibly … along certain dimensions. What can I say? I’ve grown tired of trying to be the good girl, the model scientist, the level-headed thinker with the fearsome work ethic and equitable demeanour. It was time I started learning how to fight for myself.


At least, that seemed like a good solution at the time. Obviously it wasn’t, because here I am.


This ship keeps trying to kill me. And this time, like so many other times, it almost succeeded. The difference now is that, in addition to the near-death experience I’m now going to have to recount to a counselor somewhere, I am also complicit in multiple illegal and unethical activities. I to—well, you don’t need to know the details. It was bad


This is not the Starfleet I signed up for. This is not the Starfleet I want to serve. It’s not the fault of Challenger; it’s not the fault of the ship any more. It’s the uniform. It has blood on it, and not even a new one could possibly be clean.


My only option then, it seems, is to resign.


This probably sounds cliché, but I’m going to miss my crewmates. They are so … loyal. Even when I messed up, especially all the times I messed up, they never doubted me. Always there for me. I wish I could have always been there for them. I’m not a very good friend.


This is not about them, though, or about me. It’s about what happened on that ship, and what Starfleet chose to do about it.


I cannot, in good conscience, continue as Lieutenant Anastasia Poldara, chief science officer of USS Challenger.


So, like a big girl, I’m going to run away. I don’t know where, whether I should stay on Earth, or maybe head out to Alpha Centauri. I hear the Daystrom Institute always wants new applicants. Or maybe I won’t even go into science as a civilian. I could get a job piloting long-haul shuttles out in the Kuiper Belt. Become a tour guide in the Vulcan Forge. Check out those beautiful cityscapes on Tellar that Hok always goes on about given half a chance.


I don’t know where I’m going to end up or what I’m going to do. But here’s the thing: I might sound bitter now—I should sound bitter, because I am. This isn’t a sad moment, though, because I’m finally going to be free. I will make my own choices, and then I can live with those consequences.


You look good. Family life suits you, Michael. I hope you’ve found something you were looking for.


Maybe, one day, I’ll find it too.



Anastasia Poldara


OOC PS: For those not at the last sim, this is Anastasia's bow and my own. Challenger is a lovely place despite my character’s negativity—but my real life schedule makes it hard to keep attending.


Aside from a leave of absence when I was living in the UK, I have been aboard Challenger since its inception. Being able to shape the sim from the beginning was a tremendous honour, and I have had so much fun aboard it with so many great players.


I have no plans to leave Aegis or Excalibur. See you there!

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