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LtCmdr Tristam Core & Capt Roshanara Rahman: Last Night


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((Captain's Quarters, USS Veritas - Around 0400 hours))
 

::Sometimes, fate and the universe were truly cruel masters. Just a few months after Tristam’s Starfleet commission had been reactivated, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers saw fit to have him head off on assignment elsewhere in the Shoals--away from Veritas and away from Roshanara.::
 
::It made complete logical sense of course. She’d probably have assigned him similarly if she were back on Earth looking over the Corps’ resources and seeing a components expert posted on a deep space cruiser that didn’t really offer him the same resources as say a Galaxy class ship or a starbase for research. More importantly, Tristam’s skills were vital to the Corps’ efforts (and the Federation Council’s stated commitment) to improve infrastructure throughout the Shoals.::
 
::But she thought they’d have more time.::
 
Rahman: I know we should go to sleep, but I don’t want this night to end…
 
::Her voice was wistful, her head resting on his chest as they both lay in her bed staring up above. Tristam gave a quiet sigh, nuzzling against her hair.::
 
Core: The good news is, it’s still in the area.
 
Rahman: Hmmph. Ketar? Karakka? Wherever they send you out here, it might as well be the Delta Quadrant.
 
::She turned slightly to look up towards him.::
 
Rahman: You know it could be months before we see each other again...
 
Core: I’m not thrilled about it, either. But maybe it’s a good thing - professionally, I mean. Walker has everything tied down here. With everything else . . . well, I mostly fixed the com problem, remember? 
 
Rahman: True… and since that is what I presume you’ll be focussing on now for the rest of the Shoals, maybe finding a way to keep us in touch better is a pretty good incentive for you to do well.
 
Core: Well, I’ll need numerous com tests. Veritas is equipped for that. Not my fault if the captain decided to take those calls.
 
::She chuckled, reaching back with her right hand to stroke his lightly-shaved beard with the back of her fingers. As she thought though of what their relationship was to become--long distance, again, and one sustained (inshallah!) by subspace calls--painful memories of her last experience with such an arrangement began to resurface.::
 
Rahman: Tristam, we don’t have to do this.
 
::He frowned a little, the hand that had been tracing small patterns on her arm now still.::
 
Core: I’m guessing you don’t mean halting my transfer to the outpost.
 
::He was trying to keep things light, fully aware of what she was trying to say, but unwilling to let it, or rather, his reaction to it, ruin a good day.::
 
Rahman: It’s just… I’ve been down this road before. I know how hard it can be.
 
::She stopped to correct herself.::
 
Rahman: How hard it *will* be.
 
::She closed her eyes as she felt them begin to water.::
 
Rahman: If it becomes too hard for you, I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me. And if there’s any doubt, then maybe it’d be best to resolve it here, now--while we’re together. Not months or even years from now when we’re divided by a screen.
 
::He didn't want to dismiss her concerns. He had no intention to, not after the disaster that had been his time on Rodul. But he couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t getting the whole story here. He thought about it for a few moments, hand resuming its patterns on her arm.::
 
Core: Is that what *you* want?

::She didn’t answer immediately. What did she want? Was she just trying to give him permission to break up with her? Or was she just too afraid of enduring a familiar pain again? Of loneliness and insecurity.::
 
Rahman: I want… I want you to be happy.
 
::She sat up a bit, propping her elbow on the bed and placing her chin now on her palm. She looked over at him as he continued to lie there, curious all-black eyes staring back.::
 
Rahman: I love you, Tristam. And I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re trapped or that you’ve been expected to hold up an obligation to us--to me. Especially when we’re not even married.
 
::She glanced down a bit, her voice quieter.::
 
Rahman: I don’t want you to ever become resentful because of what we decide tonight.
 
::He gave her a curious look, opting now to sit up with her, stealing a pillow to lean on.::
 
Core: I see it in that we have two options. 
 
Rahman: I’m listening.
 
Core: We can call it quits here, if that's what you want. It's not what I want. Because I don't feel trapped. But I do have an obligation to us. And I might not completely understand your reasoning, but I respect you too much to make *you* feel like you're stuck with *me*.
 
::At that, her chuckle erupted into a snicker, almost an embarrassing snort.::
 
Core: Or, ::He said, smiling and tilting his head (perhaps a bit too far to the right by typical standards):: We stick it out. Being on Rodul was the hardest time in my life - and I say that knowing I have another two hundred years to go. I know we distanced ourselves then, and time zones were unbearable, but I regret us, or really, *me*, not telling you about what was going on. I think I can do better than that. I *know* I can do better than that. 
 
::Roshanara sighed. The time Tristam had been away on Rodul had been hard for both of them, but she couldn’t fault him for needing to take the time to figure out what he wanted. And it had ironically been her own prodding that he finally go back and revisit his homeworld.::

::It was more the feeling of being left out of a decision that affected both of them that had hurt her more. It was what had happened before with Javed, and what she feared would happen now, even if she were bracing for it.::
 
Rahman: Just… promise me one thing.
 
::She stuck out her right index finger and traced it along his bare chest in a similar pattern as he had been tracing on her arm earlier.::
 
Rahman: Just keep me in the loop about how you’re feeling as time goes by. About us. I know you don’t want us to part ways today. And maybe not tomorrow or a few months from now--or ever. But...
 
::She let her finger run in a spiral until she stopped it right over his heart.::
 
Rahman: ...anyway, let’s both be better than that.
 
::He smiled again, black eyes sparkling in the low lighting.::
 
Core: Of course, ervami. 
 
::By now, the late hour had finally started to bear its brunt on the Kriosian, whose eyelids began to fall lower and lower. She drew closer to him and placed her head back against his now slightly upright chest.::
 
Rahman: Good. Mmmmmm.
 
::She closed her eyes, drifting towards slumber but not before whispering one final, barely audible remark.::
 
Rahman: ...if you ever break up with me over subspace, I’ll hunt you down, stuff you in a torpedo and shoot it into a blackhole…
 
::He chuckled.::
 
Core: It'd be a waste of a torpedo. 
 
Rahman: Shhh. Pillows don’t talk.
 

===
 
Lt. Cmdr. Tristam Core
Components Expert, Starfleet Corps of Engineers
C238803SB0
 
&
 
Capt. Roshanara Rahman
Commanding Officer, USS Veritas
I238705TZ0

 

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