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Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds - Dig Directions


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I stumbled upon this post written all the way back in 2017, but Appreciations doesn't say it has to be a recent post, so... I wanted to share it with everyone, as I found it remarkably well written.
 
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((San Francisco Spaceport, Earth))
 
::It was a perfect, balmy night in San Francisco. The moon was high in the sky, bathing the planet in its ghostly silver light, the stars twinkling in the sky around it. One of those stars was the Gorkon, arrived earlier that day. But despite the warmth of the evening, Quinn felt cold, and she pulled her jacket tight around her shoulders. 
 
::Her eyes were on a small passenger ship as it rose from the landing pad. It was an elegant, graceful vessel of Kazleti design, as efficient as it was beautiful. She had always admired the aesthetics of their ships, and had vowed to herself that one day she'd visit the shipyards that orbited the world they now called home. But for once, her technical mind was far away from thoughts of engineering and starship design, lingering instead on feelings of sadness and loss. 
 
::After a few long minutes, she turned and left the landing area, heading out onto the streets. It was late and the streets were quiet, 
 
::He was waiting for her outside. She hadn't asked him to come -- she didn't feel she had the right, as he'd made it very clear that being taken away from his ship for the inquiry was an imposition -- and yet, there he was. She acknowledged him with a glance, but she couldn't summon a smile to greet him with. He didn't seem to mind, falling into step beside her, and they walked without direction or destination in mind.:: 
 
Brunsig: So you finally got through to him.
 
Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: That's what he said.
 
::She turned her head, looking up at the midnight sky. The ship bearing Jansen Orrey home was long gone from their sight, already on course to New Orleans. Her dying friend had finally, tearfully, acknowledged that he should be with his family in his final months, and she had helped arrange him swift passage back home.:: 
 
Brunsig: It's a good thing, Quinn. 
 
Reynolds: I know.
 
::And yet, as much as she told herself that, it didn't feel like it. Her friend was gone, and it was likely that she would never see him again. She doubted that they'd talk over subspace -- Jansen had already shown a tendency to sequester himself away -- and she expected that the only contact she'd have would be a formal notification of death, and an invitation to a funeral she wouldn't be able to attend.
 
::Just like she hadn't been able to attend her mother's. Years had passed, and that still stung.::
 
Brunsig: I'd tell you to get drunk, but you don't do that anymore.
 
Reynolds: No, I don't.
 
::Silence fell upon them. Walter wasn't a man to offer comforting platitudes, or attempt to instill hope in a hopeless situation. Sometimes, the universe was just cruel, and that was all there was to it. Once upon a time, as he'd implied, she would have hit the bottle to salve the hurt, but those days were gone. 
 
::Which left her with a deep, hollow ache in her heart, and an acute awareness of Walter's presence by her side. Why had he come here? She hadn't asked him to. She hadn't even hinted at it. The only discussions they'd had on the journey to Earth had been professional in nature, regarding the inquiry around Sevo and Freeman. And yet here he was, when she needed him, offering support in his uniquely grumpy way.::
 
Reynolds: Walter, there's something--
 
Brunsig: Stop right there.
 
::Cut her off before she had even got started, she frowned in a mix of surprise and annoyance.::
 
Reynolds: Pardon me?
 
Brunsig: I know you, Quinn. I know how you react when you lose people. ::He eyed her with that startling blue gaze of his.:: You're more Deltan than you like to admit. 
 
::Her cheeks burned bright at the implication, and without thinking, she blurted out a stubborn and far too indignant response. Maybe the accusation had hit a little too close to home.::
 
Reynolds: I am *not*.
 
::Was she?::
 
Brunsig: So you weren't sleeping with Tam?
 
::He might as well have slapped her across the face, such was her physical reaction to the question. She stopped in her tracks and took a step back, and if her cheeks had been burning before, now they were surely hot enough to rival the absent sun. He'd heard about that? Of course he'd heard about that. If there was one thing in the universe that could be relied upon, it was the propensity of Starfleet officers to gossip.::
 
Reynolds: That's not-- Kael was-- You-- ::Indignant and more than a little embarrassed, she spluttered out several words before she managed to form a sentence.:: You weren't there. You have *no* idea what it was like out there. ::She glared at him, and he scowled right back.:: I don't owe you any explanations.
 
Brunsig: I missed the part where I asked for one.
 
::The pair glowered at each other across the pavement, the fragrant breeze catching a few stray strands of her fine hair and making them dance under the streetlights. In that moment, there was an ancient piece of wisdom that very much applied to her.
 
::Dig *up*, stupid.::
 
Reynolds: You're such an [...].
 
::Going down.::
 
Brunsig: Old news, Cupcake.
 
::Shore leave was supposed to be a time to refresh and rejuvenate, and while they had barely had a day to themselves so far, Quinn had felt little more than worn and frayed around the edges. Returning the ship from Leutra IV had felt like returning to harsh reality from a dream-like, futuristic fairy tale, and her responsibilities and worries had felt all the heavier for it.
 
::And while she was usually content enough to weather it, even finding it oddly charming, she was in no mood for Walter's sarcarsm that evening. Her temper began to get the better of her.::
 
Reynolds: Why are you even here, anyway? I didn't ask you to come.
 
Brunsig: I'm asking myself the same damned question.
 
::Neither of them were raising their voices as they snapped at each other, but in the still quiet of the midnight streets, their argument still sounded loud.::
 
Reynolds: Well maybe you should just go home then.
 
Brunsig: Fine.
 
Reynolds: Fine!
 
::He glared at her, his lips thinning into a frustrated line. She couldn't tell if he had nothing to say (unlikely) or so much that he couldn't pick what to spit out first (probable). In the end, he settled for a frustrated snort and shake of his head, and then the German executed a sharp, neat turn and stalked away.
 
::Probably straight to the nearest bar, if she knew him at all.
 
::The regret was more or less instant, her pride and simmering annoyance restraining her from doing anything about it. Instead, running her fingers through her hair, she trudged a few footsteps toward an angular wooden construction that was part sculpture, part bench. Her backside hit the seating with a dull thump, and she buried her head in her hands. Not for the first time, she wondered if Vulcans had the right of things. If she'd been T'Quinn, replete with emotion-suppressing skills, would probably have handled that conversation with a great deal more dignity and grace.
 
::Heaving a sigh, she looked down the street. It was late, she was tired, and there was no doubt her children would drag her up for an early start in the morning. Not that she begrudged them that -- she didn't see them enough as it was, and she'd never been one to lie in -- but she knew her mind and she knew it wouldn't let her rest easy tonight. She'd always found self-recrimination an easy black hole to get sucked into, especially in the quiet dark of night.
 
::Why put off the inevitable, then. With a slow reluctance, and an unhappy glance down the street Walter had vanished into, she hauled herself to her feet and reached for the combadge in her trouser pocket.::
 
Reynolds: =/\= Reynolds to Gorkon. One to beam up. =/\=
 
::The sparkling blue of the confinement beam shimmered into place around her, and with that, she left San Francisco behind for the night.::
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