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Tony (Kells)

Lt. Cmdr. Saveron & Lt. Alora DeVeau: Sad Songs Say So Much

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((Lt DeVeau’s Quarters, USS Garuda))
::There was a problem with being officially off duty - it meant it was difficult to work out of the eyes of those who had told her to take some time off. While Alora wasn't generally the sort to leave things undone, she also wasn't a workaholic either. Usually she knew how to balance work and pleasure and still participated in activities that would keep her busy. Alora couldn't shake the guilt, especially in light of her recent findings. Upon discovering the Chief of Science working against orders, she'd been ordered, again, back to her quarters, or the holodeck, or somewhere, for rest and away from the work that waited for her. She had spent some time in the holodeck, banging against the piano in fits of frustration with pieces that sounded similar to Stravinky's 'Rite of Spring', though far more cannibalistic in nature. Eventually she'd managed to snap a string on the holographic piano, and while that could have been taken care of easily, she retreated back to her room. An attempt to contact friends had revealed that the two she leaned most heavily on, Raissa and Aron, were not available, so she flopped on the couch and attempted to read a book.::
::Her eyes absorbed every word, every syllable, but her mind couldn't rest. Her sleep had been interrupted with countless nightmares, scenes of the vines that the Kindred had controlled wrapping themselves around their unsuspecting prey. Despite the more favourable outcome, the nightmares never ended happily. Every time, she watched as friends and colleagues were crushed and strangled one by one until she was the only one left, her body still captive, the voice of the Mother chuckling low in triumph. Sometimes, it wasn't the vines that were used but her bare hands, fingers pressing into the flesh. Sometimes, the vines expanded into an organism so vast that despite the lack of air in space, they burst from the ship to swallow it whole before continuing to fly through toward some other suspecting victim. The latter had more of a fantastical quality to it and was easier to handle, but the two former were far too realistic in the wake of what had really happened, and resulted in her waking only to huddle in her bed, sniffling.::
::Even while awake, images popped into her mind, unbidden, and as she attempted to find some solace in the fantasy of a good book, her brain refused to allow her rest. Fortunately, the chime of the door tugged her out of any downward spiral and she rose even as she called the computer to allow the visitor entry.::
::The doors slid back to reveal a tall, slender form, momentarily silhouetted against the brighter corridor. Stepping inside into the dimmer lighting allowed details to resolve; the familiar angular features, grey eyes and dark hair, the flowing Vulcan robes and, over his shoulder, a familiar bulky shape; his harp case.::
::As he stepped inside the doors hissed shut behind him. One long-fingered hand rose in the ta'al, the traditional Vulcan salute.::
Saveron: Sochya, Alora.
::He spoke quietly. It had been nearly a Terran year since they had last been face to face, and although he and his friend kept in contact during his year teaching at the Starfleet Academy on Vulcan and the Vulcan Academy of Science, even he in his Vulcan logic would admit that such communication was lacking.::
::He spoke quietly, for Aron had indicated that the past weeks had not been kind to Alora. That if ever there was a time when she needed a friend, it was now.::
::At the sight of said visitor, Alora froze. The form that stood before her was one that she had wished, time and time again, would return - especially after her most recent ordeal. The face, stoic and poised had come to mind on many an occasion along with the desire to have his
comforting presence in person rather than restricted to the screen as it had been since his departure. For a moment, she wondered if, perhaps, wishful thinking had thrust her mind into creating some sort of mirage, though she managed to croak out a soft,::
DeVeau: Saveron?
Saveron: Affirmative.
::He had learned that some species did not always believe the evidence of their own senses, but then most did not have the level of control that his own people did. The tone of Alora's voice suggested more than the expected level of surprise however, there was he thought a note of disbelief.::
DeVeau: You're...here.
Saveron: That is correct.
::And still she did not seem to quite believe him. A Terran might have offered her a hand to grasp in evidence, but no Vulcan made that gesture lightly, with all that it entailed.::
Saveron: My shuttle docked this morning. ::He paused, searching for appropriate words for alien sensibilities.:: I trust that I am not interrupting you?
::Never before had Alora had to exert so much control. Her first instinct was to run and throw her arms about the neck of the tall man, draw him into a crushing hug. She even went so far as to quickly close the distance between the two of them, but stopped just before him, hands twitching as she realised such contact was not Vulcan and would not be comfortable for him. Despite that, the evidence that she was quite happy to see him was soon evident in the way her mouth spread into a wide smile that, for the first time in days, reflected in her eyes.::
::Her expression indicated that she did not find his arrival disagreeable.::
DeVeau: You’re back…
Saveron: That is the case. ::He agreed. She seemed to have some slight difficulty with the concept.::
DeVeau: I didn’t know you were coming back...you didn’t tell me.
::In fact, her last correspondence had gone unanswered where Saveron was usually prompt. She had thought that he’d simply been overly busy and would reply as soon as he possibly could. She had not expected to see him at her door.::
Saveron: The notification of transfer required immediate action; I did not have time to write initially. ::He admitted.:: On further consideration I thought that you might find the ‘surprise’ agreeable; I understand that Terrans often do.
::Unlike his own people who abhorred disorganisation and the unexpected.::
Saveron: You… are not displeased?
::He would never accuse a member of his own species of emotion, but Alora always seemed quite ready to own her own feelings.::
DeVeau: On the contrary ::she admitted::, I’m extremely, extremely pleased. You have no idea how much I wished you were here...especially after…
::She trailed off, her smile wiped clean from her face.::
::The tall Vulcan cocked his head slightly to one side, grey eyes scanning her youthful features, now suddenly devoid of the previous, pleasant expression.::
Saveron: I am here now. ::He said gently.:: Will you tell me what happened?
::He knew nothing of recent events save what he had overheard from quiet conversations. Gesturing towards the couch in silent suggestion, he set his harp case gently onto the floor.::
::As she opened her mouth, Alora inhaled simply to take a breath with which to speak. Unfortunately, what exited wasn’t a word but a sob. Once it had escaped, it was quickly followed by another. Then another. Suddenly, Alora wasn’t able to formulate a single word but rather covered her face with her hands, body trembling with every sob without even a step toward the couch. How many times had she done that the last few days? Far too many, and she had thought it was out of her system, but with the arrival of a dear friend, she suddenly found herself breaking down far too easily.::

::An emotional response. Aron had not been incorrect in his summation of Alora’s state. It was disagreeable to witness, not for the emotionality which was a common feature amongst aliens, but for what it implied about his friend’s situation.::
::There was a rustle of fabric as Saveron moved quietly past her, a few faint beeps from the replicator, and a moment later a warm mug was pushed into her hands, the scents of milk and chocolate rising in the steam. He remembered that she favoured the drink. There was the faintest, momentary touch on her arm::
Saveron: Sit with me.
::He spoke gently, moving over to perch on the couch with that familiar, slightly stiff position of one accustomed to sitting on the floor. The scent of the chocolate mingled with the smells of exotic yet familiar herbs and spices that rose from Saveron’s own mug; his usual Theris-masu. They were familiar smells, associated with conversations and music lessons past.::
::The warmth in her hands cut through the chill that memories brought and downgraded her sobbing to sniffles with an occasional gulp. The mixture of herbs and candied warmth were soothing in their own right. As Saveron settled on the couch, Alora allowed herself a moment more to gather some composure before she joined him, though she didn’t take a sip of the drink he’d offered just yet.::
DeVeau: I’m sorry.
::And how many times had she said that over the last few days as well? Obviously, this was not exactly what Saveron had expected and certainly not how Alora might have imagined their reunion to go.::
Saveron: You have nothing for which to apologise. ::He paused.:: It is disagreeable to see you in distress.
::How else could he put it? The urge to reach out, to have conveyed without words the nature of the problem, as a Vulcan might, was instinctive, but Alora was no Vulcan, and such gestures were used only between those who were close, or in great necessity. He would not presume. Rather he waited patiently.::
DeVeau: It was…
::It was what? Both Raissa and Aron had asked, but words failed when she tried to describe what it was like. The best she could come up with was…::
DeVeau: Horrendous.
::The word brought that thin-lipped look to Saveron’s face, the closest he ever came to looking unhappy. Aron had hinted that something dreadful had happened, and particularly to Alora.::
Saveron: Will you tell me what happened? ::He asked quietly.
DeVeau: I’ll try.
::It took several starts and stops, and after the second collapse into sobs, Alora had to put the mug down on the table lest she spill it. Once she wrestled and gained control again, she continued, but at least two more episodes occurred before she was finally able to finish the story. When it was over, she could no longer cry, partially because she’d already shed so many tears, and partially because of how much detail she’d gone into. For some reason, she was able to admit everything to Saveron, to give him even the smaller details that she’d left out with others. She felt safe with him.::
::The only movement had been a quiet sip of tea as Alora spoke, she had the Vulcan’s undivided attention. He still wore that thin-lipped expression, and as she finished his gaze turned introspective for a moment, thinking carefully, before grey eyes met green.::
Saveron: I do not know what a culturally appropriate response would be. ::He admitted with the same candour.:: The describe such an experience in my own people’s terms seems… insufficient.
::’Disagreeable’, whilst useful for Vulcan responses to experiences, did not encompass the spectrum of reaction through which aliens endured; certainly it did not cover Alora’s reaction.::
Saveron: I appreciate your candour, ::he added at last,:: your trust in me. I would find it preferable if I could assist in some way. ::Yet he was no Counsellor. The extreme nature of Vulcan mental discipline closed that door to him.:: I appreciate that to experience such, to feel such actions as your own and have no volition to prevent such is traumatic.
::For only a fool would ever think that Alora herself would undertake such actions. He would find it preferable if Alora did not seem to attract such trauma. He recalled all too well the aftermath of her and Commander Rahman’s abduction by the Orionese brigand. He recalled too his own experience of such.::
::Saveron had been the first person she trusted since leaving the Academy to accept her first posting. Distance hadn’t changed that, and if anything, his presence merely solidified that fact. As one hand rubbed at her eyes, she stared down at the mug of chocolate which, by that point, was probably just barely warm.::
DeVeau: I’m glad you’re back. ::She admitted before adding.:: I missed you. I’m glad you’re here and we can talk again.
::For although he couldn’t express himself in a Terran manner, she somehow felt so at ease with him. He just accepted her outburst, her feelings - he just accepted her and had from the beginning.::
Saveron: I also find it preferable that we may speak face to face once more. ::He replied evenly.::
::It was agreeable to hear more positive tones from Alora, though he could not help but think of what she had been through, and how such things could leave very deep scars. That he understood far too well.::
Saveron: I… understand, perhaps more than most, that which you experienced. I myself have experienced something similar.
DeVeau: You did?
::Alora hadn’t realised that. Had Saveron mentioned it and she’d forgotten? Normally she had a fairly good memory - maybe not as good as Saveron’s, but still.::
DeVeau: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Saveron: I would not have spoken of it if I objected. ::Indeed he had anticipated the question.:: The USS Thunder- the ship attached to the Duronis II Embassy - was nearly destroyed when a Pah Wraith resident in an ancient Bajoran possessed a member of the crew and took control of the ship. Another crewmember became possessed by a Prophet, and the two endeavoured to undertake the Reckonning aboard that ship. Several members of the Thunder’smarine contingent were killed by the Pah Wraith, and a member of the senior staff was mentally subjugated in order to attain the appropriate accesses.
::Of course, not every species had the ability to mentally subjugate another.::
::Even though he spoke of it as if he were merely recounting the details of a report, Alora knew he was one of those crewmembers.::
DeVeau: And you were taken by the….?
Saveron: I was possessed by the Pah Wraith. ::He said simply, knowing he did not need to describe the swath of destruction he had cut through the ship, and her crew.::
::It had happened to him, almost the exact same thing. Different ship, different beings, but the results had been the same - their bodies and minds had been used to hurt and even kill others. Tears stung Alora’s eyes once more and colour drained from her face. Quickly, she looked away to take hold of herself and struggled to find something to say. She wound up asking a silly question, but at least it would get them off the topic.::
DeVeau: What made you decide to come back?
::He accepted the change of topic. It had been his intention to demonstrate a measure of survivability, not to bring forth again the pain that showed on Alora’s face.::
Saveron: It was not my decision to make, nor was my departure. I was transferred back by Starfleet. ::Just as he had been transferred out. Like all of them he moved at the whims of their superiors.::
::Alora nodded slowly. Regardless, she was glad for the Vulcan’s return and hoped that Starfleet would leave him there permanently, even if it was a selfish desire. ::
Saveron: It is agreeable to be aboard the Garudaagain. I shall be working with your department.
::That made Alora pause. Her department? Had something happened?::
DeVeau: Not as a doctor? I thought you preferred that posting...
Saveron: Affirmative; I am here as a Xenobiology Specialist, to assist in the investigation of recently encountered species. The Garudahas sufficient medical personal, though I will of course be available to the medical department should additional staff be required.
::But that wasn’t why he’d been transferred back.::
::Well that made sense, considering his specialty. Still, Alora thought he made a fine doctor, but if that’s what it took to get him on the Garuda, she wouldn’t argue. Her eyes drifted down to the item that he’d brought with him, finally noticing it in the aftermath of her breakdown.::
DeVeau: You brought your harp.
Saveron: I considered that you might find it agreeable to continue our lessons.
DeVeau: Would you be willing to play for me?
::One of the many things she had missed was their time spent learning together, especially with music.::
Saveron: Affirmative.
::Sometimes music had a soothing quality that words did not. It was a twin case, and Saveron snapped one side open with practiced ease, extracting an old harp, it’s intricate designs polished with use, made of rare woods from the T’ralorian Preserve, which his people had licence to harvest sustainably. With deft movements he tuned it before setting long fingers to the strings and drawing forth a gentle, soothing melody, pleasant tones and easy on the ears.::
::Alora’s eyes closed and she sighed softly before curling up on the half of the couch she’d claimed for her own. Although it looked as if he’d brought the other, for the moment she was content to simply let him play and allow herself to get lost in the music. The tones of the Vulcan harp curled about her, reminding her of the not so distant past and the pleasant moments spent together. Notes that seemed filled with far too much emotion to truly be Vulcan danced lightly about her, calling her to forget her troubles for the moment. Each note wrapped it’s delicate tendrils about her, the music drew her into its embrace and rocked her gently upon its rolling waves. How long he’d played, she wasn’t sure, but when the peace finally ended and the wisps of the melody release her and faded, she shifted to settle her gaze back upon the Vulcan.::
DeVeau: I’ve missed this too.
Saveron: Would you find it agreeable to resume our lessons?
DeVeau: I would love to. I’ve been practising in the holodeck...but it’s not the same.
::Holograms could be programmed to act like real people, but they were still just computer generated images. They didn’t possess actual life, usually, and thus lacked a depth that she missed with real people. Even her holographic sensei couldn’t compared to the real one back in Japan - though she agreed it was better than nothing at all.::
Saveron: I would be honoured to continue teaching.
::Dark brows raised slightly as he offered the old and well-cared for instrument to Alora.::
::Pushing herself upright, Alora accepted the instrument, her smile returning, though pale in comparison to its usual brilliance, and addressed it directly..::
DeVeau: I’ve missed you too.
::Removing the second harp from the case - this one a modern electronic instrument, all gleaming metal and indicator lights - Saveron regarded Alora for a moment. Sometimes Terrans had an odd way of expressing things.::
***************
Lt. Cmdr Saveron
Xenobiology Specialist
USS Garuda
&
Lt. Alora DeVeau
Chief of Science
USS Garuda

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