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Round 8 JP - Lt. Commander Ethan Brice and Commander Karynn Brice - Stolen Mom


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JP - Lt. Commander Ethan Brice and Commander Karynn Brice - Stolen Moments

((OOC: This occurs sometime en route, I'm thinking the night of the briefing. We hope you all enjoy reading this as much as Ethan's writer and I enjoyed writing it and I hope this gives you a bit of a glimpse into Karynn's life :) ))

((Just outside the Holodeck))

::To say that she was a giddy schoolgirl would have been a dramatic overstatement. It was hard to be that giddy about someone she had known for years. But she was certainly excited. Having a relatively high rank in the ‘Fleet did have its perks. She smoothed out the skirt on her light-blue sundress and pulled the light green sweater closer. Her stomach was in knots, glad to be seeing her husband “face-to-face” live for the first time since they had parted on Deep Space 17. Then again, it was a holo-meeting and deep down inside she knew that it just wouldn’t be quite the same.::

:: On the Apollo, Ethan had been finishing up the final pieces of the code that Karynn had put together. There were bits and pieces that would serve as a reminder to him of where they were; a certain flower that had been in the garden the first time they’d taken a walk together, starting off a very wet set of traditions from then on. He adjusted the jacket, really unsure whether it was a good idea to wear one of not. After a few strange positions in front of the mirror, he took it off, opting for the simple shirt and pants. He wasn’t sure why he was so bothered about it; they’d been together for years. She’d seen him with a full beard, after all...::

::Stepping up to the arch on the Drake, the Haliian uploaded the program, and her code to initiate her end of the long-distance chat. The doors opened and she stepped inside. They wouldn’t have long - it was more to test the feasibility of this way of staying in touch than to have a real date. Scheduling for bandwidth was just too tight for that right now - not to mention the difficulty of scheduling time off for the two Brices that coincided. The pull of a Commander only got them so far. At least they could work the bugs out for the real date they’d have in a couple of weeks.::

::The setting was simple enough. A park bench, shrubbery and flowers, a path leading off into another area of the garden, trees to provide shade. Complex programming took time to put together and used more resources. Karynn sat on the bench, then stood up, then sat again. How to greet him? Finally (although it had only really been a minute or two since she walked in) an arch appeared.::

:: The simple setting was a lot easier on the eyes than the black and yellow grid of the holodeck would have been. He wasn’t expecting Karynn to be there, anticipating that he would be the first as usual, but there she was, sitting on the bench, looking as lovely as ever. The young Engineer couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face and he slipped his hands into his pockets as he walked over.::

E. Brice: Any sprinklers in this version I should be aware of?

::Karynn smiled and shook her head, remembering fondly their first date and their surprise when the automatic sprinklers had come on, drenching the two of them. She had included another water-reminder of one of their dates - not far away she had recreated the fountain from Ethan’s Paris program. She paused only for a moment. She had been trying to be calm, reserved... but then she let all decorum get sucked into a black hole. Leaping off the bench she ran to him and within a few strides she was wrapping her arms around him, burying her head in his shirt. The holodeck was remarkable at reproducing him and for a few moments he felt real. His warmth, the feel of the fabric, his scent, it was all there.::

K. Brice: It’s you.

::As she ran into his arms, he lifted her from the ground, burying his face in her hair, loving every second that she clung to him. her could smell her, he could feel her and it was like she was all around him once again. The warmth of her, the touch of his clothes underneath his splayed hand in the small of her back, even the light green sweater that caught the breeze at the edges. It was all too real but all too not as well. He couldn’t push out the small niggling engineer voice that told him it wasn’t real.::

:: He kissed her temple, nuzzling his nose into her for a precious moment that he knew couldn’t last forever. Then he smiled gently::

E. Brice: Were you expecting someone else?

K. Brice: No. It was just hard to believe until you were here.

::Karynn laughed lightly nuzzling his cheek. And then the bit that was wrong came flooding in. As her skin brushed against his, the skin felt real but he didn’t. Her own gifts gave her a sense that even the best holodecks in the galaxy couldn’t replicate. So while she could touch him, she couldn’t feelhim. The man... image... she was touching had about as much emotion as her bedroom wall. Without thinking she pulled away.::

::Part of Ethan had expected that reaction. He kept his arms in the same position for a moment before dropping them to his sides. Even he was used to feeling something emanating from her when their skin touched. Years of having that kind of connection with a Haliian tended to leave the resonance of feeling behind even when apart.::

E. Brice: I know; it doesn’t feel right. ::he attempted a smile:: I might as well be a vegetable in designer labels.

::Karynn tried to smile, attempting to shake the startled look from her eyes. Intellectually she had expected this, but that didn’t mean that she was prepared for this. What came out was a wry half-smile. She nodded.::

K. Brice: Sorry. It’ll just take some getting used to, I guess.

:: He nodded and stepped in a little closer, reaching for her hand and holding it in his, running his thumb over the back of her fingers. It didn’t feel like her hand. He didn’t get that familiar drip of feelings into his system emanating from her, even though she stood in front of him. It wasn’t normal, but they didn’t exactly live normal either.::

E. Brice: It won’t be forever.

::She paused, forcing herself to maintain the contact. Slowly the feeling of panic that she felt inside subsided to a tolerable level. It wouldn’t be forever, and this was a lot better than just a delayed message on a flat screen. She gently squeezed his hand with her own.::

K. Brice: No... not forever. ::She smiled quietly:: I’ve missed you, Kiimosa.

:: That made him smile softly. She was light years away from him, yet in that moment they were close enough to at least touch one another, even if they couldn’t feel each other.::

E. Brice: I’ve missed you too. ::he kissed the backs of her fingers:: Happy Anniversary. Hard to think that we’ve been married for a year and you’ve been napping for half of it.

::The Haliian chuckled gently. It certainly didn’t feel like a year, but then again he was right. She’d been unconscious for around six months, in a coma in sickbay.::

K. Brice: Maybe that’s why I almost missed it. All of a sudden it was our anniversary. It snuck up on me. ::She paused and sighed.:: It’s been an eventful year, that’s for sure. A promotion, an illness... and now separated on two different ships.

::The Engineer lifted an eyebrow, with a slight smile at the corner of his lips.::

E. Brice: At least while we’re separated, they’ll be no chance of other surprises waiting in the wings. ::he exhaled a laugh:: Oh, I have something for you.

::Slowly they walked hand in hand along the path. She smiled, passing on the opportunity to make a crack about giving Matthew a younger sibling, and instead commented on the second half of his statement.::

K. Brice: Oh?

E. Brice: I don’t have it here, it should be in your Quarters when you get back. I had to call in a few favours from the Operations department. You know how Customs can be. ::he rolled his eyes skyward:: It's a tradition on Earth for your wedding anniversary present to be a specific gift. This year, it’s paper.

::They walked along the path together, the fountain from their Paris escapade coming into view. Ethan laughed, remembering the soaking he had received from that particular fountain and what that night had meant. He squeezed Karynn’s hand gently. A large part of him had forgotten what it was like to feel human when touching another being. Her hand was warm and soft, unlike his. It was a simple fact of his species that he hadn’t appreciated in a long time.::

E. Brice: I’m pretty glad you can’t feel this. ::he wiped his face with his free hand and laughed:: I can’t believe I’ve given you paper for our anniversary.

K. Brice: ::laughing:: Well its not like paper is a common item. ::pausing:: I’m sorry I didn’t get you paper. I didn’t know.

::He clicked his tongue against the back of his teeth.:: E. Brice: Having you here is good enough for me. Although, I do feel like I’ve been in this marriage longer. ::he laughed:: Anyway... I hope you like it. If not, I’m too far away to get it thrown at my head.

::She laughed.:: K. Brice: I sent a few pictures. They should be waiting for you so you can make holoprints of them. And it will take longer, but before we leave Alpha Centauri, I’ll be shipping out a gift from here. It’s just a trinket, but its something to remind you of me. It will probably take weeks to get to you though.

::The fountain came in view. The soft gurgling of the water flowing was almost musical. She smiled, remembering how she’d splashed him from a fountain just like this early on in their relationship. An exact replica actually. She momentarily thought about repeating the incident, but decided against it. She was more “adult” now than that Ensign had been. Not that such a thing was necessarily better...::

::For the young Engineer, being with his wife was like no time had passed at all. They were together, they were healthy, save from being thousands of miles apart for whoever knew how long a time that spanned ahead of them. He stopped in front of the fountain and kissed the back of her hands again.::

E. Brice: When I get the chance, the very first chance, I’ll be coming to see you.

::Karynn smiled and nodded.::

K. Brice: And I’ll be on the first runabout to you the first chance I have. ::she laughed:: The bed’s so cold without you. And I even miss your coffee stains on my table.

E. Brice: My coffee stains have to be better than your cold feet on my legs. ::he smiled:: I actually get some quilt at night now, I miss having to turn the heating up.

::The downside was that they were running out of time together. The sway of a Commander could only hold so much weight when the ships needed the power they were using. Taking that into consideration, the computer decided that a subtle reminder would be more appropriate and gave them a delicate warning in the manner of a quiet alert.::

::One minute. That’s all they had. She held his hand tightly, forcing herself to smile, to hold back all of the sadness that threatened to spill out. She wanted to remember this as being happy - and she wanted him to remember her happy, not sad, not crying.::

K. Brice: I love you, Ethan. More than I can express.

::Smiling, albeit sadly, he brushed his thumb over her cheek and swallowed as the familiar green eyes looked back into his. He felt as though his world could collapse at any moment, looking into those eyes, he could melt into his boots.::

E. Brice: I love you too, Karynn. ::he nuzzled her nose:: More, every single day.

::Stretching upward, her lips brushed across his. A kiss goodbye. She was almost getting used to the lack of emotion ebbing and flowing through her. His skin felt warm as her fingers brushed his cheek. She closed her eyes.::

::He felt her kiss him, felt her hand reaching up to the back of his neck and he closed his eyes, hoping to remember the final few seconds of contact with the woman who held his heart. His arm held her close, his hand touching the small of her back and almost willing the moment not to end.::

::And with that he was gone. Faded away as the link dropped. She was alone again and life went on. The fountain still gurgled, the breeze was still blowing. Her heart ached and a single tear wound its way down her cheek.::

::Ethan’s arms dropped back to his sides. The dull ache across his chest constricted, letting him know it was still there. His jaw tightened and he held back the sadness that crept up from a heart that wasn’t whole. He paused for a second, looking at the place where her image had been.::

E. Brice: ::softly:: Sweet dreams, Kii.

::The arch formed in the grass and the Engineer started the walk back to it. He pulled the padd out of his pocket, closing off the program from the Apollo’s holodeck, taking a last look before it faded away.::

K. Brice: ::quietly:: Goodbye, my love. ::pause:: Computer, End program.

::A black and yellow grid replaced the world around her. She walked out, back to the starship, back to work. Life went on.::

THE END

Lt. Cmdr Ethan Brice

Assistant Chief Engineer

USS Apollo

and

Commander Karynn Brice

Xeno-Anthropolgist/Psychologist

USS Drake

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