(OOC: I couldn't remove the Bolding for some reason but that's no excuse not to post this JP in it's entirety. It's a lovely three-way JP between @Tony (Kells)@Wil Ukinix & @Geoffrey Teller that gives a satisfying and call-back laden send off to several friendships I loved watching on the Veritas. It's both fan service and quality writing and I enjoyed having it in my inbox this morning. )
(( Shuttlecraft Miranda, out of the USS Veritas ))
Nic del Vedova grinned over at his fellow Aussie. There wasn’t much to grin about, since they were hurtling along through subspace with nothing particularly exciting immediately ahead of or behind them. But, at the same time, there was nothing not to grin about, so Del grinned.
Wil had his feet up on the helm controls, ankles crossed, fiddling with a replicated cube that he’d found out about by chance in the Starfleet database. The cube had nine squares on each face of a different colour. The idea was to randomly mess it up, and then twist and turn it until it was back into its original state. It was mind numbing yet somehow mesmerising.
Playing quietly in the background was one of the songs from his music collection, which he was also quietly singing along to.
Ukinix/Speakers: I kissss and-tell, all my fe-ears… Fallin’ down-the moun-tain…. End-up kiss-in’ diii-iiirt…..
He looked over at Del who was grinning away.
Ukinix: ::Smiling:: Watch’ya grinning about?
del Vedova: Just thinking.
But no, that wasn’t right, was it? Too often recently, too much thinking had gotten him to do the opposite of grinning.
Ukinix: Ah. Enjoying a bit of quiet time?
del Vedova: It’s more that I’m actually doing something. I’ve been stuck in physical therapy for way too long on Starbase 284. Even if I’m not going back to Veritas, it feels good to be doing something that isn’t working out my leg.
Wil nodded and smiled, while placing the cube game on the nearby console, before interlocking his fingers and placing his hands behind his head.
Ukinix: ::Cheekily:: IIII… reckonnnnnn… someone’s a bit keen to see their boooy-friiieeend!
Wil opened his mouth, and gave Del two deliberately exaggerated winks.
Del nodded. That was certainly true.
del Vedova: Him, too. I’m definitely looking forward to reuniting with Aron, (beat) even if it means leaving you and Roshanara and the rest of our friends behind.
Wil breathed a big sigh through his nose, and nodded in agreement slowly, pondering. He had lost his fair share of close friends in recent times. Losing Del was another loss. Wil considered him his good friend, and not just because they were from the same continent.
Del knew he’d always have a community of friends on Veritas, despite his monthslong absence, which made it more difficult. In fact, he thought leaving them now was harder than it would’ve been if he’d left from Veritas directly. But Wil had been good enough to come and pick him up at SB284, using one of the Veritas’s type-10 shuttles, to ferry him to Thor and Aron.
Ukinix: That’s why I wanted to give you a lift. Well, that and I need the helm practice. At least this way I get to say goodbye. Plus, you’re effectively my neighbour, I gotta look after my mate from Sydney.
del Vedova: Why’d you do it, anyway? We could’ve just talked by subspace. I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, but you know you didn’t have to do this.
Ukinix: ::Serious face:: Teller stole my craft beer stash.
del Vedova: (slight frown) Oh. I see.
Wil slowly put his tongue in his cheek, and began to silently laugh. He couldn’t keep a straight face.
Ukinix: ::Smirking:: Sucked in, Del. Only kidding.
Del’s face cleared.
del Vedova: Of course you were kidding.
He laughed and winked, covering that he definitely hadn’t known. But just as quickly, his happy face faded, to be replaced by a stonier look.
del Vedova: Can I ask you about something?
Wil’s one quarter Betazoid self subconsciously sensed some tension in Del. He placed his hands in his lap, and sat up straight, giving Del his full attention.
Ukinix: ‘Course you can.
Del looked away from Wil as he spoke, not certain how to broach this difficult topic.
del Vedova: I’m just not sure what I’m going to do when I get there.
Ukinix: ::relaxed tone:: Whaddya mean.
del Vedova: I still have months of therapy to do on my own, if I want to be reinstated. And if I do, what guarantee is there that I’ll be on Thor? They have an excellent medical staff from what Aron says, headed by Addison MacKenzie. Where do I go?
Pursing his lips, Wil breathed through his nose, and thought for a few seconds.
Ukinix: Yeah, but you’ve done other stuff besides medical, right? You were Diplomatic Officer when I first joined the ‘Tas.
del Vedova: (with a nod) That’s true.
Ukinix: You two have served apart for so long. Starfleet owes you two some decent time together. Besides, Aron’s a fleet captain, he’d be able to have some say in it, wouldn’t he?
del Vedova: (another nod) That’s true, too.
And, Del thought, the fleet owed them some leeway, given Del’s pain and suffering (not that it was the fleet’s fault, but still) and how they’d served apart for an extended period.
del Vedova: He’s pretty gregarious, too. Nothing on me! But he’d be able to talk some stuffy admiral down, I’m sure. (beat) I forget, did you meet him when he came to Veritas?
Ukinix: I met Aron briefly on Limbo, then he was in the transporter room when Roshie had her trip to Krios Prime. Other than that, not much.
del Vedova: Well, trust me on that, then. And as for me…
Even if he’d be serving only half-time for a while, he didn’t know where that half-time would be. But Wil had an answer for that, too:
Ukinix: The Thor is unfeasibly large compared to the ‘Tas. I’m sure they’d easily find a role for you.
del Vedova: (more cheery) You’re right. It’s a damned city in space. There must be something for me to do.
Del turned a raised eyebrow on Wil. Between the two of them, he was sure they’d arrive at the Thor with a perfect plan ready to present to Aron. Fait accompli!
Wil pondered for a moment, then chuckled for a moment as a thought entered his head.
Ukinix: ::Smirking:: You know I always secretly referred to Aron as “Del’s Kells”?
del Vedova: (with a wink) You think that’ll endear you to him?
Ukinix: Don’t you dare tell him that.
del Vedova: My silence can be bought, for a price. (playful) Let’s see how helpful you are before we get there. How long do we have, anyway?
Ukinix: Oh, uuummm…. ::Leaning over to read console:: Six days? Nah, that can’t be right. Wait.
del Vedova: Six days?! You’re kidding! I thought that this shuttle had some sort of propulsion magic thingie that would let us travel super fast and…
Del trailed off. He could tell by Wil’s look of concentration that he wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention.
Wil silently tapped away at the console. He could hear Del, but he didn’t answer just yet. Meanwhile, his face blushed red...
del Vedova: What?
Ukinix: I, um - ::clears throat:: - wrong course.
del Vedova: (a frown turned quickly to a grin) Let me guess, you had us heading towards Kells’ Dells?
Ukinix: ::Still tapping at console:: Nah, it’s ok! I fixed it, Commander. 16 hours. That’s more like it. We only lost an hour. ::Under his breath:: Maybe three.
With the fingers from his left hand, he wiped and flicked away imaginary sweat from his forehead.
del Vedova: Listen, as long as we get there, that’s all I care about.
Wil placed his hand on Del’s shoulder, and gave it a friendly shake.
Ukinix: We’ll get there mate, promise.
( Jump: Six Hours Later, Aboard the Thor )
The rest of the journey had been smooth enough, and Wil -- despite his attempt to send them off to the depths of Tholian space -- had proved himself equal to Del’s demand, and Del now had a very good idea of how he’d sell his presence to Aron. Not that Aron would need much convincing, but the personnel officer for the fleet who would never see either of them face-to-face certainly would.
However, upon arriving, Del had a thought.
del Vedova: Why not stay for a bit?
Wil smiled at first, but then his face showed a little disappointment.
Ukinix: Del, I’d love to, but I gotta get back through the Shoals. Roshie would have my guts if I’m not back on time.
He rubbed his chin, and thought a bit longer.
Ukinix: I wouldn’t have to stay for ages though, would I.
del Vedova: Nah, not long. Just enough to see some folks. We’ve both served with about half of this crew, haven’t we?
Ukinix: ::Smiling:: Bloody oath we have.
del Vedova: Well, how about this: Let’s head to the bridge, and see if we see any familiar faces. I have to officially report in.
Though “officially” reporting in seemed a little silly when one’s partner was the CO to whom one had to report. How could he have done otherwise?
Ukinix: ::Thumbs up:: Done!
del Vedova: Great!
The Thor was a big ship, and it took plenty of time to get from the shuttle bay where they’d landed up to the bridge. Once there, Del was disappointed: There was only a skeleton watch, and none of them were familiar. The unknown lieutenant on watch told them that the captain was in his ready room, and Del hurried on despite the crutch that slowed him down. The lieutenant attempted to add something else, but clearly Del wasn’t to be dissuaded.
But maybe he should’ve listened, as he crashed right on into a meeting in progress between Aron and his first officer, Geoff Teller.
Teller: ....And the Antedian ambassador is very annoyed at whoever keeps drawing little cartoon fish on the doors to their quarters. I’ve asked the educators at the onboard schools to keep a tight lockdown on the art supplies, but my money is on....
Geoff turned, surprised that anyone would stride, or in this case hobble, into the ready room unannounced. His surprise redoubled when he saw Doctor Niccolo Del Vedova, formerly CMO of the Veritas, supporting himself on a cane. He’d barely had an opportunity to rise out of his chair before he was struck by something halfway between hug & tackle - in the form of Wil Ukinix, who was surprised to see Teller, and, instinctually, flew through the air, knocking Geoffrey to the ground, and squeezing him in a perfect tackle. He then proceeded to rub a knuckle into the top of Geoffrey’s head.
del Vedova: Well, hello there.
Kells: I expected you hours ago!
Meanwhile, Wil and Teller exchanged their own hellos.
Ukinix: ::chuckling:: Geoffrey! How are ya, ya [...]!
Wil loosened loosened his tackle, then stood up, offering his hand to help Geoffrey up.
Teller: You cheeky drongo, why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I could’ve had the shuttle shot down! ::smirk:: No offense, Doc.
Aron grinned, and Del did a moment later.
Kells: Maybe you two should be stationed together.
del Vedova: Wil’s just very enthusiastic.
Wil’s face began to blush when he realised he’d just crash tackled a first officer in front of a *Fleet Captain*.
Ukinix: I um - ::hands behind back, looking at Aron:: - Fleet Captain. ::Clears throat:: Delivering Commander del Vedova to the Thor, sir.
Teller: If I didn’t think the nacelles would go flying off the Veritas, I would’ve forged his transfer papers myself. Besides, The Skipper would never forgive me.
Kells: Space forbid I steal Roshanara’s chief engineer. She’d hunt me down and spike my head as a warning to others. (beat, to Teller) On the other hand, I did already steal you. (to Ukinix) There’ll always be space here, Mr. Ukinix. (to Del) For everyone, but especially for you. You already have some plan for your assignment here, don’t you?
del Vedova: (with a nod) And it’s very detailed. Wil helped me work it out.
Geoff snorted and elbowed Wil in the ribs.
Teller: ::smirk:: In that case you better double check the spelling.
Wil shot a playful look of hurt at Geoffrey.
Ukinix: Oi! Just because you’re in red doesn’t mean I won’t crash tackle you again!
He closed his eyes in embarrassment, before looking forward at Aron again, this time blushing more than before.
Kells: (slight sigh) Welcome to the Thor, Commander del Vedova. Of course it would’ve worked out. I’m glad you’re here, but you two did crash a command meeting, if you don’t mind…
Geoff’s voice fell to a whisper.
Teller: I’ve still got that Romulan Ale from Ketar V in my quarters and I’m off duty in an hour. Can you stick around?
Ukinix: ::Whispering back out of side of mouth:: #$%@ yeah.
Wil had looked at the specs of the Thor on the trip out of the Shoals. What he considered the most impressive part of the ship immediately popped into his mind.
Ukinix: ::Still whispering:: Can we go bowling?
Geoff had never once bowled in his life but that didn’t stop his competitive streak from showing.
Teller: :snort: I will destroy you.
Not that Aron could really be cross when it came to this reunion, especially since Del had just arrived. He attempted to argue to himself that they had interrupted a command meeting, but then he shook his head. It was meant to just be to himself, but Del caught it at once.
del Vedova: No? No to what?
It seemed, however, that Wil wanted to err on the side of caution.
Ukinix: We’ll, um - ::pointing thumb over shoulder towards door:: - we’ll leave you two to it then, yeah?
Geoff coughed, only now fully appreciating the awkwardness of the situation.
Teller: Of course sir, if you’d like me to remain on duty, I’m sure Lt. Cmdr. Ukinix…::Geoff’s eyes went wide and his attention was diverted back to Wil::...they made you a Lt. Cmdr? Are things really that bad?
Aron let go an involuntary laugh, and then clapped his hands on his desk and stood.
Kells: That’s all for today, Geoff. Go have fun with the I’m-sure-well-deserved-Lieutenant-Commander Ukinix.
Wil clapped his hands together.
Ukinix: Right, well, quick meeting’s a good meeting! ::To Aron and Del:: Will you join us?
Kells: And as for you.
Aron’s gaze pinned Del to the ground where he stood. He even wavered slightly.
del Vedova: As for me?
Kells: Let’s find a way for you to stay, even if it requires stealing this ship.
del Vedova: Sounds good to me.
Aron pulled Del close, and both men noted as he did so that both Teller and Wil covertly and politely made themselves scarce.
Wil smiled, looked sideways at Teller, before gesturing with his head towards the door. He could sense how much they had missed each other, and thought they deserved this moment.
(( One day later: Main shuttlebay on one of the three thousand decks that the Thor has, which is impressive by the way ))
Standing in front of the type-10 shuttle, Wil had his hands behind his back, looking a little pale. OK, a lot pale.
Ukinix: oO It turns out that 5 hours sleep, a bottle of Romulan Ale and several beer chasers while bowling really *does* make you feel complete crap the next day. Oo
It was time to say his goodbyes. Again.
Kells: It was good of you to come all this way, Commander, especially since you’re the only one who’s not staying. (beat, and a smile) Yet.
Ukinix: ::Chuckling, smiling:: The Veritas is my home. Thanks for having me, Captain, I really appreciate it.
Kells: Anytime, and I do mean any time.
Geoff felt like he’d wrestled with, and lost to, several large Nausician musicians. It had been a while since the last time the two of them had properly tied one on, and Geoff was definitely suffering for it. The shuttlebay lights had never been brighter.
Teller: You ready to go back to the second best ship in the fleet, drongo?
Wil walked up to Teller, and wrapped his arms around him, patting him firmly on the back.
Ukinix: This isn’t a ship, it’s a starbase that someone’s slapped some nacelles on.
Geoff barked an entirely inappropriate laugh.
Teller: Damn good to see you, brother. Next time give me some warning, I’ll have the starbase polished for you.
Ukinix: Mate. I’m lucky to have seen you again. Thanks for a good night. I’ll miss ya.
Teller: Same - this doesn’t get any easier. ::Geoff pulled Wil into a final hug:: and I hope it never does.
Geoff stepped back and nodded. It helped to know the Veritas was in good hands, but Geoff quite simply missed his friend. He wasn’t the only one having trouble saying goodbye.
The hardest part of the trip had finally arrived for Wil. Saying goodbye to Del.
del Vedova: Listen, Wil...
Ukinix: ::Wrapping up Del in a hug:: We’ll always have the Crapeliguin, Del. Gonna miss you.
del Vedova: Well, then, we’ll just have to make sure we see each other again soon.
Ukinix: Promise me we’ll go back home together one day soon? And you’ll take me to The Rocks for a schnitzel parmigiana?
del Vedova: (with a smile) Absolutely.
Teller: ::Geoff couldn't resist a last bit of ribbing:: You about done, or are you going to say good bye to Scarecrow and the Tin Man next?
Ukinix: Oh, and say hi to Addison for me.
Kells: (dryly) I’m sure she’ll know you were here when she sees the state of our Mr. Teller.
Wil smiled. At least Kells seemed to be Teller’s case like Roshanara would have been, he felt that was good for him.
Teller: Right as rain, sir, just...jogged here.
Kells: You are going to go and get some fluids in Sickbay?
Teller: Of course sir, but I was planning to go by jefferies tubes. Medical staff are busy, they don't have time in their schedule to berate the XO right now.
Aron sighed, but Del laughed. He also shuffled back a step and grinned at Wil as the latter boarded the Miranda again, ready for his own trip home.
del Vedova: Until next time, and I mean it!
As he boarded the shuttle, Wil’s eyes became glassy as he held back a few tears, and took one last look at the three men. He gave a nod and a wink to Teller, and a thumbs up to Del.
He hated goodbyes. He was extra sad to be saying goodbye to his friend Del, who had done more for him than maybe Del realised. But he could sense the delight in both Del and Aron. Like he had told Geoffrey and Addison via the Beatles song he had given to them as a parting gift before they left...
Ukinix: ::To Del:: “There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.” Seeya, mate.
Commander Nic del Vedova
Currently On Leave
Fleet Captain Aron Kells
SB118 Captains Council Magistrate (so ask me anything!)
Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller
USS Thor - NCC 82607
Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding
Lieutenant Commander Wil Ukinix
Chief Engineer who bowls 121 when sober, 148 when tipsy, and 74 when drunk