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    ((Carter Family Car)) ::Ravenna stared out the window as they drove into the city. Her mother hadn’t stopped crying and her uncle hadn’t left nor said a word. No one told her what was going on, but she knew her dad wasn’t coming home again.:: Elizabeth: Hey, Sweety. ::Elizabeth wiped some latent tears from her cheek:: I’m taking you to talk to a nice lady who you can tell about how you’re feeling. Ravenna: ::Ravenna turned her attention to her mother.:: Ok, Mommy. Are you talking to her too? Elizabeth: No, she’s your special friend. ::Elizabeth turned back around in her seat. ::Ravenna turned back to the window. Everything was a blur. Before she knew it they were there and her mom was getting her out of the car.:: ((Dr. Corin Fortune’s Office Waiting Room)) Ravenna: A doctor? Am I sick Mommy? Elizabeth: No Sweety, she just wants to talk to you. ::Ravenna listened to the receptionist get her checked in. People murmured about a death. Ravenna was smarter than the adults gave her credit for. She knew what they were talking about. Her mother led her over to some chairs that felt huge and cold. The walls were grey and dreary. She hated it immediately.:: Elizabeth: Are you alright, Sweetheart? ::Ravenna just nodded.:: ::The receptionist called them back up there, the woman’s smile stretching wide for Ravenna as she nodded. Her name plate read R. James in bright blinking letters.:: James: Dr. Fortune will see you know, Ravenna. Would you like your mother to walk you to the doorway? ::She leaned out of the little window a bit, pointing down a curve near the edge of the desk.:: It’s just down this little hall, you’ll have to hit the chime to tell her who you are. Ravenna: No, thank you. I can manage. ::Ravenna took off down the hallway. It seemed to continue forever, but eventually she arrived at the door. She struggled to reach the chime for a bit, but managed a little hop.:: Corin Fortune:Come in! ::The door swished open, revealing...well it was almost home-like. A desk with a woman with bright white hair sat behind it, but that was about all that screamed ‘office’. The ground had a race car track rug, there was a sandbox on stilts near a window, a markerboard and a chalkboard, and several dolls and toys and a little bucket of building blocks from way back when. Several photos decorated the walls, albeit they were mostly on the side near the desk, away from the chaos of the childlike room.:: ::Dr. Corin Fortune, as her nameplate flashed, smiled at Ravenna from where she sat and she stood up, holding a hand on the back of her chair. :: Corin: Hello there. It’s a pleasure to meet you. May I call you Ravenna? Or is there a nickname you prefer? Ravenna:You can call me Ravenna, if you’d like. Can I call you Corin? ::Ravenna felt small, but more relaxed in this room than she had in the waiting room. There were colors everywhere and the chairs were smaller and more plush than the backbreakers in the other room.:: Corin: Absolutely. Come, sit sit. ::She waved at a small set of chairs near a plush couch, taking a seat on it herself, crossing her legs with a PADD in her lap. Despite how she sunk into it, it never made her appear any smaller.:: Would you like to talk to me? Ravenna: ::Ravenna responded while walking to a little purple chair. It was her favorite color and it was furry. It looked fun.:: What would you like to talk about? ::Ravenna sunk into the chair and it almost swallowed her whole. She let out a giggle. This was the happiest she had been in a few weeks.:: Corin: ::Corin smiled, shaking her head lightly.:: My, you’re nearly eaten up aren’t you? Well, we can talk about whatever you please. What brings you here to me today, your favorite color...perhaps we could draw something, would you like that? I have a few crayons, unless you prefer a tablet? Ravenna: I know what Mommy wants us to talk about. She doesn’t want to be the one to tell me Daddy isn’t coming home. I love her, but Daddy was my favorite. We read together every night. My favorite color is purple. I like drawing, but I love to read. We were ready Gray’s Anatomy, the medical book, not the show from the 21st century. I like real books. I don’t like the feeling of tablets. Corin: ::Corin chuckled softly.:: Your favorite, hm? I like real books as well, albeit they’re not as popular now as they once were. ::she sighed, nodding.:: But yes, your father isn’t coming home. I’m sorry about that, Ravenna. What do you think of the situation? Ravenna: Mom never has a lot of time for me. She is always doing art if she isn’t out digging. I feel like I’m going to be alone now. ::Ravenna looked around the office. There were tons of pictures of a little about her age on the desk and on the walls.:: Ravenna: Do you have a daughter? Corin: ::Corin hummed, finger tapping at the side of the PADD in an odd rhythm.:: I do. She’s about your age, if perhaps a tad older. She’s back at home with my family. ::She paused for a moment.:: Do you believe your mother won’t stay home to tend to you? Or is there something more to it? Ravenna: She has a career. And she doesn’t know how to talk to me. I’m weird. Daddy was always better with me than she was. I don’t think she ever wanted kids. :Ravenna was so small, but it was like talking to an adult. She understood more than most adults thought she would.:: Corin: I don’t think you’re weird, you’re quite astute, if I’m honest. Why do you believe she doesn’t want children? Has she said something of the sort around you? Ravenna: I am weird for a six-year-old though. I understand medical terminology and Latin base words. I know a lot about artists who are long, long dead, and I am conversational in French. My mom never bothered to understand me as her child. It was more of an anthropologist observing a people, but never interfering. My dad wanted kids, she wanted a career. I’m getting a nanny now. Mom has already applied to work with a team doing excavations on Risa starting the day after the funeral. ::Ravenna was getting madder and madder the more she said. It became clear that she thought that if one parent had to die, it had been the wrong one. She was starting to let herself go through the stages of grief. She was in anger.:: Corin: I see. You sound very astute for your age. ::She smiled, tapping something on her PADD.:: Would you like to draw with me, for a bit? Perhaps show me what you’re thinking about? Ravenna: Sure. Do you have any colored pencils? Corin: When I’m conflicted, sometimes I like to sketch out how I’m feeling. It’s relaxing, in a way one wouldn’t imagine. Ravenna: I like drawing a bit. I’m afraid I am not very good. I think that disappoints mom a bit. I disappoint her a lot. Corin: Doesn’t matter how good-or bad-you are, so long as you have fun. ::Corin tugged out a few colored pencils from the desk, settling with Ravenna at the tiny table with papers.:: Corin: Okay, let’s see, how about blue first... ((End Childhood Flashback)) (( First Year Academy Flashback)) Ravenna was hoping to do some last minute studying before an exam in her Physics Concepts class. Though it was a science, it wasn’t her strong suit. She looked around for an open table but was disappointed to see they were all filled except for one that was occupied by a single cadet. Ravenna felt bad for interrupting, but she really didn’t want to have to go all the way back to her dorm. Carter: I’m sorry to interrupt, but may I use this end of the table? Fortune: ::Corliss chewed on some gum she had scrounged up from the last of a pack, quickly nodding as she peeked up from her own PADD, popping a small bubble.:: Yeah, no problem! Carter: I am Ravenna Carter ::She reached out to shake the other cadet’s hand:: Fortune: Corliss Fortune! ::She quickly grabbed Ravenna’s hand, shaking it, wiggling the PADD in her other hand.:: Doing course work for Counseling. Carter: Counselling? ::eyeing the PADD in front of Corliss:: Fortune:Yeah! ::She perked up, grinning wide, even as she popped another bubble.:: Well, I mean, I’m doubling nursing with it, but I’m a bit of a wimp with um...needles. Ravenna also hated needles, so she could sympathise with Corliss. Carter: Any relation to Corin Fortune? Fortune: ::Corliss winced, grumbling a bit.:: Yeah, that’s my mom. Carter: How is she doing? Fortune: ::She blinked, tilting her head a bit.:: Um, good? You know her? Oh wait, geeze. ::She laughed.:: You must be a starfleet kid. She only takes on starfleet families. Carter: In a way, I guess I was a Starfleet kid. Never really thought of it that way. ::she laughed nervously and shifted her weight anxiously from foot to foot:: My dad was a civilian doctor who was Killed In Action. I worked with your mom for a long while. She’s the reason I made it out of that dark place. I am happy to hear she’s doing well. It had been a long time since Ravenna had been to see Dr. Fortune. She remembered the woman very well though. For the longest time, she regarded Corin as her only friend. She was the only person who had bothered to get to know her or talk to her after her father died. There was a good chance that if she hadn’t worked with Corin, she might not have adjusted to the changes in her life and she wouldn’t be in Starfleet now. Fortune: ::Corliss blinked, nodding along slowly.:: Ah. Well! I’m real happy to hear she’s helped you! Carter: Sorry to unload all of that on you. Geeze, that was so weird of me. I really do apologize. Fortune: ::Corliss snorted, shaking her head.:: Hey don’t worry about it! Sounds like you’ve been needing it though. ::She frowned softly.:: Everything going okay? I mean. Other than that. Have you been to my mom in a while? I bet she’d be thrilled to see you. Ravenna felt like a complete weirdo after that and busied herself with unpacking her study materials. She didn’t really want to embarrass herself further. Carter: I think I am a little older than her typical patient. I haven’t seen her since I turned 18, so like ten years ago. Everything is as it was I guess. My mom and I don’t speak. She has made it clear that she didn’t want me and she stayed gone as much as possible. I have three doctorates and she wasn’t at a single graduation. Fortune: ::Corliss stuck out her tongue playfully.:: I dunno, I mean. She’s always been vague on the patients she sees to. Doesn’t hurt to swing by either. ::She wrinkled her nose.:: She’s always working. Carter: We’ll see if I ever get time. I am a double discipline as well. I might swing by someday though. Ravenna had never thought about visiting since being an adult. It might not hurt to drop by and say hi. Fortune: Neat! So, watcha studying today though? Anything too hard? Carter: I am an Archaeologist and Medical Doctor, so I have chosen science and medical. Unfortunately, there are other classes I am required to take that I do not enjoy. Like the Physics I have an exam in. ::She waved her bad and laughed, never had she hated a class like she hated physics::. Fortune: Boo, physics! ::She laughed, shaking her head.:: But yeah, I get that. Mm, we can quiz each other on stuff, if you want? Or find really weird facts about physics. Like. ::She made a noise with her teeth, tilting her head back and forth.:: ...physics in general is just weird. Carter: I can definitely quiz you if you want! I am guessing you have already done the Physics classes that are required? Fortune: Yeah, last semester actually! But I’m in a few other classes. Democracy is one...oh and survival but that’s more of a….::she waved her hand.:: A hands on type of class? Carter: Gotcha! I haven’t taken Democracy, but I did General Diplomacy last semester. I have Starship Emergencies this semester instead of survival. This is only my third semester though. ((Two years later)) Carter: ::running into the library:: Corliss! ::Her voice anything but quiet:: Ravenna knew immediately that she was gonna get yelled at, but she didn’t really care too much. It was the beginning of the end of an era. The next year, she would be on her own again and she was going to enjoy the time she had left with her friends. Fortune: ::Corliss waved from the study desk to the side, PADD in her other hand.:: Ravenna!! Ravenna was bubbling over! It was the start of Corliss’ last semester and the future seemed so bright Carter: Spill! What ship are you hoping for? ::pausing:: I have been spending entirely too much time with Xerix, I swear. ::She faked a shiver and then laughed:: Fortune: ::Corliss snickered, wiggling in her chair to tilt it back a bit, balancing on the back two legs.:: I don’t know! I really don’t! The last exam is really hard, although my brother said I shouldn’t listen to everyone. Carter: You have to have looked at a few ships at least... Fortune: Weeelll…::She flicked on her PADD, turning it to Ravenna, showing a ship in a profile.:: There’s this one. The Gorkon? I’ve heard interesting tales about it! Plus, they run off all their counselors? A challenge! Carter: Ohhhh and you do love a challenge. I can see it now. That is the ship you are going to end up on. Ravenna was a year away from her own posting. She really hadn’t given it any thought. She knew that science and medical officers were always needed on ships, so she could be placed literally anywhere. She knew one thing though, she wanted on a ship and not a base. Fortune: Oh I dunno...there’s so many good ones too. Eagle...okay so I just looked at two. ::She stuck her tongue out.:: Carter: No seriously, that’s your ship, so study up! What’s your schedule look like this semester? Fortune: Oh! Lemme see...I went for General Archaeology-just to see what it’s all about. ::she winked playfully.:: Terran Gender, Anthropology, Non-Terran Gender-let me say, I’m quite eager for both of those, you know I love any psychology courses! Carter: You got this in the bag. You are home free my friend. I on the other hand am doomed; got another Physics class… ::It honestly made her want to cry:: Fortune: Oh Ravenna. ::She patted her friend’s shoulder softly.:: That sounds absolutely horrid. What else do you have? Carter: I have two 600 level medical classes and Organic Chemistry 2, why? Fortune: ::Corliss winced.:: Ooooh that one’s a hard one. Carter: You gotta be kidding me? Fortune: Nope. ::She popped the ‘p’ like she did with gum, grinning wide.:: The professor, Professor Xal, is not one to take excuses for anything. They’re a bit rough and very dry, nearly fell asleep during a few classes. Carter: Oh! Before I forget, I was looking through the course offerings and planning my next year out, you know, like I do, and I found a course on the Dominion Wars. So I read about it and you know what struck me? ::a pause for dramatic effect:: Fortune: ::Corliss made a face, putting her PADD down and shrugging.:: What? Carter: It was ongoing when my father died and he was a doctor. It would make sense that he would be out there aiding, right? Fortune: Oh. ::She paused, thinking a bit. That would make the most sense, they weren’t too far apart in age.:: Well...yes, actually, it would. Or at least, a casualty of the war. ::She looked vaguely uncomfortable at the memory of said war.:: Did you find out anything else? Carter: I still haven’t been granted access to his file. Anyway, back to your grand plan for the end of the year... Ravenna still didn’t talk about everything that much, pieces here and there when the conversation drifted that way, but things hadn’t improved between Ravenna and her mom. Corliss had tried to help Ravenna reach out the year before, but her call had gone unanswered. ::Corliss perked up, quickly nodding as she pulled up her PADD again, flicking through to a file to show off to Ravenna.:: Fortune: My father is coming down-after a great many pleading-so we’re going to go to some beautiful gardens called the Botanical Gardens. Carter: Ohh, the gardens are absolutely breathtaking. You’re gonna love it! Fortune: Well, that’s for family, mostly. Buuuuut. ::She grinned wide.:: After is going to be at this really ritzy place my mother likes. It has a dance floor, I can finally teach you to ballroom dance! Carter: Ah yes, me and my two left feet, thank you for reminding me. I made it through Risa with Ghant without having to dance, I should have known that my luck was about to run out! Fortune: ::Corliss snorted.:: I’m surprised, he’s even more elegant with his mannerisms than the one my great grandmother impressed upon me. ::She laughed.:: But yes, it’ll be amazing, and then we’ll have a nice banquet, and oh! We need outfits. I need a fancy wig too. ::She tugged at her pink hair lightly, nodding.:: Carter: Do I sense a shopping spree? ::It was Ravenna’s turn to perk up:: You know I do love a girls only shopping spree… Is Brom going to make it for this ordeal you have planned? Fortune: ::Corliss nodded quickly.:: He said he will, he had shore leave saved up-which I didn’t know you could do?-but either way! He said he would! Carter: I have a surprise for you when we get done here! I didn’t want it to get messed up so it’s in my dorm waiting for you! Before I forget again… Please tell your mom thank you for the birthday card. It meant so much! Ravenna was feeling very scattered as of late and it was getting to be very evident that she needs to slow down a bit. Fortune: ::Corliss laughed, nodding.:: Oh, sounds fun! I will! Plus you can tell her that night too. Anyway, so I was thinking, there’s a little shop down the road, they have such pretty dresses all fluffed out and jazz! Carter: I’m listening ::Ravenna leaned in closer:: Fortune: Okay so what we need is something dashing, like a dark red or green...with bows! Giant ones. ::She nodded with a grin.:: Those are my favorite! Carter:I look very good in green. Red is not my color… An argument should be made for blue or purple as well. Fortune: Wonderful! Green is a pretty color...ah, when do we have time to go? I’ve got an empty block this afternoon. Carter: I am free this afternoon too, or there’s always weekends… I guess whenever you want to go. Most of my classes are in the mornings. Fortune: Awesome! Oooh we can make a weekend of it, go looking it all over, maybe get some nice stockings…::She continued to chatter, flicking through the PADD over neat outfit ideas with Ravenna.:: Ravenna was excited! Since coming to Starfleet Academy, she finally felt like she could loosen up. She had friends her age and she felt like she belonged somewhere. She would enjoy this while it lasted. After all, at the end of the semester, her friends would be gone. -End- Lieutenant JG Corliss Fortune Highest Quality Counsellor Brain USS Gorkon G239510CF0 & Ensign Ravenna Carter Science Officer USS Constitution B C239607RC0
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