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(Ens. Serren Tan) Safine Rael & Mikali sh'Shar - Old Friends, Parts I & II


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@Alleran Tan, loving these snippets into the life of the previous Tan symbiont host and partner in crime / cruise liners / civilian travel / escapades. Looking forward to reading more!

--

(( Passenger Compartment, YanCo Liner 33 ))

Safine always hated civilian space travel. Compared to the expansive Starfleet vessels, civilian travel was cramped and crowded, and there was no control — the ship loaded, plodded along the designated route, arrived, unloaded, returned.

Then again that was what Starfleet vessels did too, just with more shooting. And fewer screaming babies.

The crying made sleeping difficult.

Still, the open space for disability access at the rear of the ship left her pretty far away from all of that. She felt sorry for Vaala, crammed in at the tiny chair at the back like a Klingon sardine, but her Klingon friend seemed happy enough to read, hunched over a PADD, scrolling through some trashy novel or something.

Rael, by contrast, had the whole disability section for herself. She could have stretched out if she could move her legs. She had tried, for some time, to sleep, but it just wouldn't come. Nerves at heading to the Tyrellian Sector, to the Gorkon.

Nerves in general.

Hunger gnawed at her. Time to get something from the galley. Safine pushed herself up out of her seat and to her feet, stretching out her arms, and — 

No.

She stood there dumbfounded, staring about the passenger compartment. Standing on two legs.

Standing.

It was wrong. This wasn't right. She couldn't stand, it was—

Vaala: Hey, wake up.

Rael's eyes flew open. She jerked awake, blinking as the passenger compartment's lighting flooded in.

She was still in her chair. Of course she was. She must have dozed off.

Confusion, drowsiness, elation, disappointment. All evaporated and turned to mild frustration.

Rael: I was sleeping. Finally. What?

Vaala's voice became a strangled whimper.

Vaala: I... I think that's Mikali sh'Shar over there. At the f-front of the ship.

Mikali sh'Shar? The Andorian Menace? The Blue Terror? Banshee? Here?

Safine craned her neck, trying to see. All she could spot were a pair of blue antenna poking out above a seat. Definitely an Andorian. Maybe a shen. Maybe not. It honestly could have been anyone. With her symbiont removed, exactly what sh'Shar looked like was something of an enigma. They had never met.

Rael rubbed her sleep-encrusted eyes. Everything was still kinda blurry.

Rael: Mgg. I thought she was dead.

Vaala: Dead? ::her eyes widened:: Wait, really? What happened?

Rael: Nothing. I just kind of... assumed, given her poor decision-making abilities that she'd be dead by now. You're sure it's her?

Vaala: Mmm hmm. Yeppers. I got up to get a cookie from the replicator. I... I looked her right in the face. She didn't recognise me but I'm pretty sure it's her.

Vaala whimpered again, holding her little PADD up as though it might hide her face.

Goddammit.

Rael: Okay. I'll go see if it's here. Stay tight. If the ship blows up, you know who to blame.

It was said in jest, but Vaala's scared mouse-like face became a mask of sincere worry.

Rael just patted her on the arm, then carefully manoeuvred her chair out into the narrow walkway. It was too small for her to turn around in, so she went down backward, rolling her wheels and looking over her shoulder. She made her way down past rows of sleeping, snoring passengers, down to the front of the ship.

Closer she got to those twin antenna. Closer.

Slowly she realised. The snoring wasn't coming from everyone else. It was coming from the Andorian. Nobody else was snoring. Everyone else was trying to sleep despite the noise. Like a malfunctioning engine in the otherwise quiet passenger compartment.

A bad feeling settled in her gut. A loud, obnoxious, lazy, snoring Andorian... could it really be...?

Rael wheeled up to her row, backward, and saw her face.

Mikali sh'Shar. In the bluey flesh. Slumped to one side in her chair, snoring like an idling chainsaw and drooling messily on the arm of the passenger to her right.

The passenger, obviously exhausted, met Rael's eyes. He wiped off some of Mikali's saliva.

Passenger: She's been like this for hours. Hours. Every time I move her...

He demonstrated, pushing sh'Shar upright. She slumped over immediately, resuming her previous position, sleepily wrapping her arms around him.

Typical.

Rael: Hey, Mikali. Wake up. You're making a scene.

No response. Rael reached over and poked her.

Rael: Hey Mikali. Hey. Hey!

Poke. Poke. Poke!

sh'Shar jerked awake, her antenna spasming wildly. She looked around in a panic, as though having lost her luggage.

sh'Shar: Benna!?

Rael blinked. The name Benna was vaguely familiar to her, but she couldn't place it. As though it were some musical piece she could not quite identify. Familiar.

More missing memories. Parts of her experience that had been yanked out of her, now living inside another.

Rael: Hi. It's... been a while.

Seeming to recover some measure of her composure, sh'Shar wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and then narrowed her blue eyes at her. 

sh'Shar: Who the hell are you, Trill? I don't know you. I was bloody asleep. 

Rael: So was I.

Safine smiled awkwardly. 

Rael: It's me. Safine.

Mikali squinted at her in frustration. Confusion.

sh'Shar: Wha? ::she glowered:: Whattd'ya want?

Rael rested her hands on her wheels.

Rael: I just noticed you back there. You were snoring, and... I thought I'd come to say hello.

sh'Shar: Wait, you interrupted a stranger's nap to say hello? Stupid Trill. ::she made a shooing motion:: Go away.

Slowly it dawned. Mikali didn't recognise her.

Rael: Mikali, it's me. Safine Rael? ::she brushed back a strand of her hair:: I'm sorry. I really—I just wanted to see you again with my own eyes, Mikali. I wasn't expecting you here.

sh'Shar's antenna jerked bolt upright. She sat up in her chair, her hand going to her far hip. There was something there Safine couldn't see, but the action triggered her security training.

sh'Shar: How the hell do you know my name? Are you following me?

Rael: Following you? No. No! I had no idea you were here until I saw you just now. ::she took a deep breath:: I used to be Safine Tan.

sh'Shar's whole face scrunched up. Her fingers danced down by her hip, out of sight, a gesture that made Safine's Security-Sense tingle again. Some habits died hard.

sh'Shar: Wait. No, no, that can't be right. The other one... she was old. Super old. And super dead.

Safine scowled. 

Rael: God, you're dumber than a bag of hammers. I'm not Marlee Tan, I'm Safine. I was the one after Alleran. We met five years ago. When Alleran was... after the symbiont was implanted into me.

sh'Shar just stared blankly.

Rael: You were there! You were at my joining! ::she waved her hands around angrily:: You bet me two strips of latinum that I would "die" on a Starfleet vessel, then you demanded Serren pay up after I was hurt! We have met multiple times, Mikali!

Finally, finally, Mikali's eyes widened like moons. 

sh'Shar: Alleran? Wait... wait, is that you, spots?

Rael grimaced, closing her eyes a moment and looking away.

Rael: Yeah, um. Not... exactly.

Mikali sh'Shar squirmed around in her seat, glaring at the insolent Trill that had woken her up from her nap claiming to be the very person she was taking a journey across all these sectors of empty boring space to see. And then claiming not to be.

sh'Shar: What the hell are you saying? "Not exactly"?

Safine Rael nibbled on her lower lip, avoiding eye contact. Mikali always hated people that didn't have the guts to look at her.

Rael: The symbiont... it was taken from me after I was shot. ::angrily:: Again, you were there for this, Mikali.

Mikali had a fantastic memory. For people who owed her latinum. And it was crappy for people to whom she owed latinum. Fuzzy, sometimes, on the details about if the payment had been made.

Being raised on a Ferengi ship totally didn't show at all.

sh'Shar: Look, I've been really... sick for the last few years. My noggin' sometimes forgets people, okay?

Rather than be annoyed, the Trill — whose face, you know, she was starting to actually recognise — seemed somewhat understanding of this, shifting in her weird wheeled chair.

Rael: Yeah. I, uhh, get that a lot.

Mikali released the handle of the knife by her hip and carefully eased up her hands, folding them in front of her.

sh'Shar: So. You haven't got Alleran's weird slug in you anymore?

Rael rolled her eyes.

Rael: It's not his slug, it was, and not weird, and... No.

sh'Shar wrinkled her nose.

sh'Shar: Aren't you meant to be dead then? I'm pretty sure the stupid doctor explained to me in his stupid way that when the symbionts get removed... ::she made a throat-slitting gesture:: Gluck! Uggk! Blarg! Bylat. Slug out, dead.

Rael half-lidded her eyes.

Rael: Yes. That is mostly accurate. ::she was getting mighty sick of telling this story:: I had a chemical blocker that reduced the join. It meant I didn't imprint properly on the symbiont, and all its memories vanished when it did. Between the getting shot, and the getting half my brain ripped out, I barely survived. Hence the wheelchair.

Mikali stared at the metal contraption. If she ever had to live in one of those things, she would definitely put a phaser to her head.

sh'Shar: Didn't you always have that thing?

For a moment, Rael seemed confused, even a little annoyed, then the emotion became...something else.

Rael: ::softly:: You really don't remember me, do you?

sh'Shar straightened her back, inhaling indignantly.

sh'Shar: Hey, I do. It's just coming back to me slowly.

Rael rubbed her hands along the wheels.

Rael: Okay, if you say so. ::she coughed:: So, anyway. What are you doing here, Mikali? You're a long way away from DS-17.

sh'Shar brushed down her clothes. Some [...] had drooled on her. She shot an angry look at the passenger beside her.

sh'Shar: Gross. That's just gross.

Passenger: Hey, it wasn't me, it was—

sh'Shar loudly, and rudely, yawned over him.

Passenger: You're the drooler, you—

Yawn. Yawn. YAWN.

The passenger grunted and looked away.

Rael reached out and touched her knee.

Rael: Mikali. You're deflecting.

Maybe she was, and maybe she wasn't.

sh'Shar: I... have to talk to the new Tan.

The silly Trill's face became a creased frown.

Rael: Serren? What could you possibly want from him? He's an Ensign in Security. Just like... just like I was.

sh'Shar chortled.

sh'Shar: Oh, rough. ::she leaned in a bit:: You tell me first. Why're you going to this ship?

To that, the spotty wheelchaired Trill seemed to have no answer. Mikali crowed victoriously.

sh'Shar: ::mockingly:: Going to the goldneck's reunion? Assuming they'll even let you onboard...

Rael: Hey! ::she scowled darkly:: I'll have you know, I served with distinction, and I'm proud of my time on the Gorkon. I'm... sure at least Quinn remembers me.

sh'Shar: Who?

Rael: The Captain, you idiot!

Idiot, huh?

sh'Shar's eyes flicked to the gold pip on the Trill's civilian collar, denoting an Ensign.

sh'Shar: Yeah, well, I don't really care who the Captain is. And neither should you. I mean, just look... you couldn't even get busted to LT before you ended up face down on the deck plating. ::she sneered:: That's so pathetic. Just a broken goldneck living out their "glory days". How many days were you there? Like, a week?

Rael's face hardened, becoming a stony mask.

Rael: You know, I sometimes struggle to remember things, but I remember something from Alleran... he knew you were the queen of deflection, and that most of the time your abrasiveness came from pain... but sometimes, it was just you being a colossal bi-

A chime came over the ship's public address system.

Computer: All passengers are advised that we have crossed into the Tyrellian system. Be sure to check out the nearby Bratax system, the home of the incredible Dinosauria, coming soon! We are now commencing our exit from warp flight in preparation for passenger disembarkation. All passengers are required to take their seats once more in preparation for landing. This is YanCo Liner 33. YanCo — for all your conglomerate needs.

sh'Shar grinned cheekily.

sh'Shar: Saved by the bell, spots.

Rael made an angry face. sh'Shar did the same thing.

Rael: You haven't changed a bit. You're the worst.

sh'Shar tried to make a snappy comeback, but all that came out was a dismissive scoff.

sh'Shar: No, you're the worst you, you... you Trill.

Rael made another face and began wheeling herself back toward her seat. Mikali angrily called out after her.

sh'Shar: You suck, Rael!

Her eyes flicked to the other familiar face cowering at the back of the shuttle. Ensign Vaala, the unmistakable Klingon. Mikali's face split into a wide grin as Vaala hid her head below the headrest of the seat in front of her.

Wasn't every day one was able to intimidate a Klingon. Even though Vaala barely counted as one.

Mikali's victorious feeling was short-lived, though, as she resumed her seat, absently wiping more of the drool off her arm.

She missed the dream about Benna. Bee-nut...

At least the annoying exchange with the ex-Tan had revealed the one thing critical to her plan.

Serren Tan was indeed aboard the Gorkon.

Everything was going to be okay.

 

-- 
Lieutenant (j.g.) (ret) Mikali sh'Shar
Civilian

simmed by
Ensign Serren Tan
Security/Tactical
USS Gorkon
O238704AT0

 

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