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((Junior Officer’s Quarters – USS Constitution-B)) The atmosphere was warm, dry and lit dimly by the ambient lights that cycled on the power saving mode of a ship deep within its own internal repair cycle. And like the ship that sheltered them from the black and cold of the vacuum of space, so many of its passengers were broken and battered either in body, mind or spirit – sometimes all three – and cycling down to rest, relax and desperately repair. A thin haze of incense wafted through the room, a soft scent of musk and sand. It reminded him of his home world – one of them. Like the high arid plains of Vulcan. The solo figure knelt in the center of the room, a few thin regeneration patches for some low-grade electrical burns were the only badges of injury he visibly bore on his thin form. Some might say he had been lucky. He might agree. And yet his mind still pounded with a continual cycle of pain. Sometimes sharp and stabbing, more often dull and throbbing. Like waves crashing on the shore there was an ebb and flow, eased by sleep and hydration to a point, but always creeping back up in short order. Doctors assured him the mild head trauma would heal. There was always a trackable amount of cranial swelling and blood vessel changes that caused temporary pain. They offered analgesics. He had accepted, but was careful to take them, wanting to settle some of his rampant thoughts before he muted himself too much with drugs or sedatives. Taking a deep breath in, he was still. Trying to feel the weight of his body, concentrate on where his body was in contact with the deck and where his hands rested on his legs. Still. Breathe. ~Disconnect from your thoughts.~ He tried to pull back, allow his thoughts to move freely across his mental landscape and sit as an observer. This was a technique that had given him clarity in the past, allowing him to objectively visualize his emotions and understand what caused them and how to understand them more. ~Stay back and observe~ His breath hitched in his throat as he felt his consciousness sinking into a vast black pit. It was not the calm disconnect from his thoughts and emotions that he usually was able to achieve with time and effort, but a violent jerk backwards as if black tentacles were reaching out from an inky depth to pull him under. He felt like he was drowning. He could feel his heartrate spike and his face grew hot. His airway constricted to make each breath labored as he tried to draw it through his swollen throat and his mind twisted that into the feeling of sucking in tar. Pitching forward from his meditative position, he started coughing, but no water drained from his mouth. One hand formed a claw around his chest, digging in as the coughing fit rose in intensity until finally it reached a hoarse guttering rasp. Tears drained from his eyes and a ghost echoed through his brain. Her laugh. Her damnable laugh. It wasn’t stuck like a thorn in his psyche anymore, just a haunting memory. If he lingered too long on it, he could visualize himself falling down that well of interminable stairs, with her laughing at the top. Falling, always falling. Falling into a void where his calm should be. Placing both hands on the floor, he pitched forward in a tabletop position and tried to concentrate. To stop the floor from spinning underneath him. A wave of vertigo and nausea ran through his body as the room twisted giddily, and no amount of carefully controlled breathing exercises stopped it. A small whine escaped his lips and he slowly sank to one side and hugged his knees to his chest waiting for it to pass. ~why?~ He was trying to find center. To seek calm and see things objectively. To do things the Vulcan way, the way his grandfather had lectured on, the way that would make him controlled and logical. But all he wanted to do was sob like a stupid Human baby. Scream and yell and let the tears flow freely while swimming in a tidal wave of emotions that he could barely process. He wanted for someone to tell him it would be OK. Not now, not soon, but eventually. That with time it would ebb and recede and maybe, he would start to understand and grow stronger. He compromised. Tears wet his knees as he struggled to control his breathing and strive for control. A little bit of both. Just enough to stave away the panic, not enough to feel a full release of the building pressure of emotion that he couldn’t process in his usual ways. He was used to coming back to his quarters, expressing emotion, meditating, finding center and objectively gaining understanding. He had gotten much better at processing emotions in this way during his academy years, going from a deeply introverted, highly emotional first year cadet to a fairly stable, respected, friendly fourth year cadet known for his ability to work well with others. Each meditation was a step upwards and forwards, a chance to gain a better understanding of emotions and how to balance them with logic. But now everything was thrown out of balance. He had more emotions to process than he could possibly comprehend, and his tried and true methods of processing them weren’t working. Clearly not working from the fact that he was balled up on the floor of his quarters. Breathe… Breathe… Breathe. Slowly the room slowed and came to a stop. His head still hurt, but the feeling of sucking tar into his lungs was gone. He kept his eyes closed as he pushed himself back to his knees and pressed the palms of his hands into the sockets of his eyes, digging his thumbs into the pressure points at his temples until the pain faded. Ironically it was in these recovery periods where he felt the most grounded, focusing solely on stillness and breath, after the emotional wave was spent. Maybe he should take the medications? He wavered on that. He had to eat first. Eating sounded disgusting after the room-spinning nausea. Maybe he should drink something. That he might be able to handle. Slowly, getting equilibrium under him, he took tentative steps to the replicator and ended up with a warm mug of mellow, unsweet tea. Breathe. Drink. The doorchime rang and he straightened as if prodded with one of those electrical rods at full power, mug slipping from his hands. A deep olive shade of shame colored his cheeks as he dropped to his knees to pick up the pieces. So’Mior: Enter…? Saveron: ? He looked up, his dark eyes fixed on the doorway. The scent of meditation incense still lingered in the air, the rug was covered with the familiar slightly bitter scent of Mika, a traditional calming tea. Everything else was perfectly in its place, save the occupant. A rumpled uniform and bedraggled hair bespoke little sleep and too much movement for comfort. An unsettled mind. His eyes fixed on the older Vulcan and his jaw tightened against a new wave of emotion. Was he relieved? Embarrassed? Both? All at the same time he wanted the support and succor of someone to help guide him through this and yet was ashamed of his own state at the moment. He opted for soft politeness that was offset by his rather precarious position in gathering up the pieces of the teacup. So’Mior: Commander, greetings. Please, come in. Sit? His fingers fumbled for the last piece of shattered mug, rolling it along the wet rug instead of picking it up gracefully. And, like his scattered thoughts he finally captured it and got it with the others to take to the recycler. Saveron: ? So’Mior: I was startled. ::He stated it as honestly as possible. Not ‘you startled me’ – there was no reason to find anger nor fault in a doorchime. No, the fault – and the fault lines – were drawn within him.:: It will mend. He placed the pieces in the recycler and watched them fade into raw materials. Saveron: ? Slowly he turned towards the first officer, his expression was lost and searching. So’Mior: I… I don’t know. Saveron: ? Finally he moved himself from his lean by the recycler to a chair, which he sank down into with a steady exhausted bonelessness. So’Mior: I can’t… I can’t process it. I can’t find calm. I try and I feel like I’m drowning. If the hoarse tone to his voice said anything, feel like might be eerily accurate. Saveron: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ pNPC Ensign So’Mior Science Officer USS Constitution-B
(( Office of the Chief Science Officer )) Forms, reports, explanations, extrapolations, reviews, redactions, signatures, assignments… on and on it went. He had much to account for, and almost as much to atone for. Alone in his office, at some point the lights got turned down and set to a warmer color temperature, almost mimicking the ambience of a candle-lit room. As per usual, music was playing in the background as he worked; but he was unable to find something suiting for all that he was feeling and thinking. Listless, ambient music invited his mind to wander too much. Orchestral music was too predictable and dull. He needed to find that sweet pot: interesting enough to partially engage with, to keep his mind from wandering too far, but not too interesting as to rob his attention. In time, he found his way to a late 20th century band, Talking Heads. They were a long-standing favorite, at least as far as old Earth music went. Like most art from long ago, it’s hard to appreciate it in the context of the present, because it is a product of its time and place; neither of which Lazarus shared with the band. Familiar enough, without being too gripping. Quaint, even. "And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack And you may find yourself in another part of the world And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?” (( OOC: link is to the Talking Heads - Once In a Lifetime music video )) That last line caught Lazarus off guard. Something he didn’t quite understand about himself is how a song or a lyric could sometimes feel as if someone had just slipped a knife between his ribs and began to twist. He gasped for air as his throat choked up, and tears welled in his eyes. oO How *did* you get here? Oo There was the story he told himself, a dry narrative of recounted dates and places. It wasn’t inaccurate, but it felt somehow incomplete. He was just some guy from Earth, and now he’s been given the power of life and death? He’s living in luxury on a starship; married to a punk alien woman; galavanting across the sector. Why *him*? Why here? What did he do to deserve this? How and why was he given this life? "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” He was here because this is where the currents swept him. Sometimes the waters pushed him places against his will, other times he studied the currents before diving in. In either case, the result is the same: he was ultimately powerless in all of this. If not him, then someone else. If he hadn’t lead that away team, someone else would have. The pirates killed Mar[...]o, not him. And the pirates tried to kill or enslave everyone on the Constitution. Was it not his obligation to be willing to kill to protect his peers, and the families on board, from such a fate? A credible threat was made, so what was he not only justified in responding with lethal force, but required to? At that point, it seemed clear that the pirates were not interested in negotiation. Them or us, simple as that. They may try to pin a medal on him for it, too. "And you may ask yourself, "What is that beautiful house?" And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" And you may ask yourself, "Am I right? Am I wrong?" And you may say to yourself, "My god! What have I done?” The PADD in his hand–“his” PADD–flexed under the pressure of his grip as the tears began to peek out from under his eyelids. Circumstance, morals, and ethics didn’t mean a damned thing. Not one damned thing! People died. And those people had friends and families; hopes and dreams. They were maligned, but that’s the nature of existence it seems: to be wrong, and to learn to be better. He had deprived 12 people that opportunity. Davis: :: choked with grief :: Computer, lock the door. "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again, into the silent water Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” As the song reached its climax, Lazarus felt rage boil within him, seated behind his desk. “His” PADD creaked under the stress of his hands wrenching it around, and one of the access panels on its back popped off, not able to flex with the twisting force he was unwittingly applying to the body and he cried and shouted profanities in the soundproofed room. Mercifully, the song receded into an epilogue. "Here a twister comes, here comes the twister Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Once in a lifetime, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by” And he caught himself between the gasping breaths to slow down and inhale deeply. Release the grip on the PADD. Exhale. Set it down. Inhale. Open your eyes. Exhale. In a few moments, he had re-grounded himself. At his feet, the unyielding access panel on the ground. The PADD was flexible, and capable of handling great stress without breaking. The access panel, however, was too rigid. When the PADD flexed and contorted too much, it broke away. There’s no stopping the currents. We can only hope to ride them well, and be flexible. Otherwise we break when contorted, and fall away from the whole. Same as it ever was. Regaining his composure, Lazarus raked his hands through his curls and leaned back in the chair to stare at the ceiling for a moment, before looking back down at his desk at all the PADDs and forms and processes he still had to do. Same as it ever was. —— Lieutenant Lazarus Davis Chief Science Officer USS Constitution-B Podcast Team Facilitator IDIC team member ASDB team member C239510LD0 (he/him, character) (he/they, writer)
I really liked the way this one flowed and the emotion was shown. I had to share. (( Captain's Office - Constitution )) Finally. Finally the Constitution was back on their way home. Not without a lot of help of the Galactic Starship Service though, but they were on their way home. While the teams had been in the mines, the Stardrive section had caught up to the Saucer and reunited, so when the shuttles returned from the surface the whole ship, sans warp nacelle and plus a couple of holes, had waited for them. The 'tow' service members had been muttering and ranting about the state of the ship, but they had gone straight to work. Jalana stood at the window looking outside to a tiny dot in the distance that was slowly getting closer and between that dot and her was a Cardiff Class Starship connected via a tractor beam pulling them forward at higher speed then the Conny was able to. Jalana's green eyes landed on the back of that ship, the circular rear warp-drive glowing in a bright blue between the nacelles that for almost any other ship would be the location of the warp drive but not in this ship. It made for an interesting aesthetic. Rajel: Captain's log supplemental - Stardate 239806.13 - We have left Osteris II and the Shahar Nebula behind and are on our way back to Starbase 104, in tow of the GSS. Once we arrive repairs will have to be made and who knows how long they will take. Replacing the lost warp nacelle and reparing the holes in our hull alone would take some time, that does not include the interior damage and the time the crew will need to recover from these events. With combined efforts we were able to retrieve the away team, injured but alive and the surviving miners who are being brought to the Starbase for testimonials. I hope that they will be able to visit their families or spend time away from all this afterwards. My report to HQ will include the recommendation to send a survey team to the mine and reevaluate how it is operated and protected before sending anyone back there. Jalana took a deep breath and then continued. Rajel: We are not yet aware if this particular group of pirates belong to a bigger cell or not, but their leader Elder fled the scene back into - what we assume - Orion space. I have the feeling this may not be the last time we saw him. We were able to capture sixteen pirates alive, who of course are not the most talkative. They will be handed over to the authorities back on the base. Another dozen or two were killed in the mines. It is difficult to know exactly as some had to be disintegrated to stop their attacks. We retrieved two bodies of pirates that appeared to be on a drug that would raise their aggression and immunity to be shot. They are examined in the morgue for traces of the substance. The rest of their remains will be taken care of by sweepers HQ will send. Once more she paused and looked down to her hands. She ran her fingertips over the porcelain starship in her hand. When she had entered the office after returning to the ship she had been relieved that it was still in one piece but ironically it had a little crack along the same pylon that had been damaged on the ship. She could feel it even though the nacelle held on tight. Rajel: We also suffered major losses. Firstly among the miners. We recovered too many bodies for identification and allow their families their proper last rites. Among our officers we lost several officers. Salvador Marcinko, Zilan, Sh'tran, Han Soo Mi, Q'Ren, Syanir Kol and Vok lost their lives in the line of duty during a rescue mission in the mines of Osteris II, fighting off pirates of the Orion Syndicate. Another seven lives were lost during the battle between the Constitution and the Theseus and Minotaur. S'Ral, Horm, Paden Runa, Kylie Williams, Chus'it Haihnan, Scrol Ar'el and Dhelvad. A memorial hall for the lost Crew members and miners is being set up in Holodeck 4 for those who wish to pay their respects and say their farewells. Shipwide announcements have been sent out. Luckily most that were injured had been able to recover or were still on the way. It could have been worse, a lot worse. But despite the comparably low number of death crew members every single name pained her. The knowledge that they hadn't been able to avoid fatalities. With each mention the weight on her shoulders felt heavier. Rajel: Both Sick Bays have been working around the clock and are treating the injured crew members and miners. Counseling works with them to address the trauma for those that want to deal with it at this time. Sarah Mason, T'Mar and Sawyer Moore are still unconscious and will be transferred to the Medical ward on Starbase 104. Nugra has been considerably injured by an explosive. Surgeries were a success to stabilize him but he will need a few weeks to recover. Though he is conscious by now his optical nerve has been severely damaged and is being treated. She really didn't like this, not one bit. Nothing of this felt right. But this was life in Starfleet. Often they were lucky and then there were missions that just went belly up. She would have to update Sal as well, after all they were Syndicate and without his knowledge in her head, things could have gone so much worse. That split moment warning they had before the attack had been enough to raise the shields and be prepared. Without that the ship would have been hit directly from the start. But that she had his knowledge was not something she could put into a public accessible Captain's log. Not even in a personal one with a passcode. The danger of someone finding it was too big. Rajel: We will arrive at Starbase 104 in about an hour, where repairs on the ship will be taken over by Station personnel in tandem with those of the crew that wish to stay and work with them. Other than that the crew will have a well deserved and desperately needed shore leave and are free to remain on the station or visit home, go on vacation ... anything they need right now. She thought about it for a moment. Was there anything else she needed to record. Maybe... but she couldn't think of it. Her head pounded and she still needed to head to Sick bay herself. That cracked rip had been silent thanks to a hypospray because others had been more important to be taken care of, but she worried about falling back into old habits. She could not let that happen. So she shook her head. Rajel: End Captain's log. The computer chirped and she stepped away from the window before she carefully placed the slightly cracked starship back on the shelf, which immediately turned invisible as the tractor beam from the model Starbase 118 turned on to hold the ship up. She would have to get this crack fixed before it got worse. Was she still talking about the model ship? ----- Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0
((OOC: This JP with Noelle has been in google drive for a LONG time. So it is finally time to post it )) (( Quarters D'Sena )) The announcement about the Vacation planet had been ship wide, so Akeelah had heard it too. She couldn't imagine that the planet was suitable for her visit in the wheelchair and she was not yet stable on her legs. But what had really occupied her mind since then was the invitation towards families. Her own family was too busy to get all the way out here and the only family that she wanted to see even more was across the galaxy on Starbase 118. She sat behind her desk, the small box in her hand open, displaying a Jade ring she had not yet sent back to Jack. It had been surprisingly had for her to do so because it felt like she had a piece of him here. Her mind went back to several months ago when he had sent it to her. (( Flashback - about a year ago )) ((Starbase -118)) There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a wedding. Seriously - like a lot. And with so much distance it’s astronomical. At least for most people. However this was Jack Gard and Akeelah D’Sena we’re talking about. There were things to decide, however, both big and small. Decision of big and little consequence. First and foremost, the ring… something not so easy. Jack had gone to various little shops looking for just the right ring. Something that said… Something that was ‘Akeelah’. Which seemed harder then he had originally thought. They were too small, too flashy, too… everything. Anything. Nothing was right. Computer replicas, by the thousands, took to long to sift through causing him to abandon such endeavors. It was bordering on frustrating. Why couldn’t he find what he wanted? It wasn’t until he received a little package in the mail. In a hand made box with ornate oriental patterns all about it. It was small and could have easily gotten lost, and yet many took care to bring it to his personal quarters, hand delivered. He sat quietly, simply looking at the box. Jack knew who it was from, the only people in his life who would send such a box. What he didn’t know was what was inside it. He took a sharp breath in, held it for a long moment while his hands reached out. One on the lid the other hold still the rest. Like a bandaid, he opened it swiftly. There was cotton-like material stuffed inside. He curiously pulled out the stuffing, a small clater fell on his table top. His heart nearly skipped a beat, as his eyes fell upon the small jade rings laying tied together. Those were the wedding bands that belonged to Tabby’s grandparents, before they renewed their vows and gave each other two new rings. These were old pieces of jewelry, handed down to each generation. It had been discussed that Jack and Jessica were to get them. But he had been stubborn, insisting on something new, bright and dazzling. Believe it or not, but he had been a bit foolish in his younger years from time to time. He swallowed hard, picking them up and holding them in the palm of his hand. They felt… heavy. This was not only approval of the marriage, but also an unspoken question to carry on their tradition, to keep their part of the family apart of his… apart of Tabby’s. He squeezed them tightly as his chest clenched too. It had been a long time since he thought of his passed wife. Was it selfish? Foolish of him to let his mind wonder to her, knowing he was working getting to ready to marry another… he hoped she would be happy for him, that he’d finally moved on and found such happiness and joy. He would send them to Akeelah, seeking her approval. There was no way for him know if she would see the honor or the taboo in keeping the rings. He wrote her a long letter, talking of all sorts of things; his had, how Tabitha was doing, and school. He asked her of her day and her health. And at the very end, before signing off, he asked her about the rings. . ((USS Constitution, Marchlands, Akeelah D’Sena’s personal quarters - a little while later)) It had been a busy day full of work and rehab. Akeelah had finally returned to her quarters. She had gotten used to gauging the distance between the wheels of her chair and the doorframes or the furniture. Such a long time in this thing would do that. As always her first way was to the desk in the corner, where she pressed a button to activate a small holoimage that flickered into existence. The piercing warm eyes of Jack looked right at her, beneath him the sparkling bright eyes of his daughter Tabby. Akeelah smiled gently, running her fingers through the apparition, tickling over her skin as they went right through it. Computer: One message waiting. The reminder of the computer, which had noticed she was around, pulled her out of her melancholy. She missed both of them. D’Sena: Play message. Computer: One delivery for Akeelah D’Sena has been placed on the table. She pulled her brows together and turned her head, noticing the small package on the table top. While she wasn’t a big fan of strangers entering her quarters without her being here, she appreciated that the delivery had not been delayed or taken back to the service offices. Placing her hands on the the wheels of her chair she moved to the table and picked up the small package. Opening it she found a letter first and a smile played around her lips as she recognized Jack’s handwriting on the paper. It was as if she could hear his voice, telling her about his day, all the things that he and Tabby did. Her cheeks flushed at some parts that went into a lot of detail about how much he missed her. She couldn’t pretend that she didn’t feel the same way. As the letter prompted her to open the package inside, she pulled it out and opened the box, revealing two circular objects made of a green shiny stone. She pulled one of them out and noticed that they were heavier than expected, the light from the ceiling reflected on the smooth surface. D’Sena: ::mumbling:: Beautiful… but what is it? She went back to read the letter and her brows raised when she read the explanation Jack had included. Her eyes went back to the rings, forehead furrowed in confusion. D’Sena: Computer, what is the meaning of wedding rings? Computer: In various cultures a wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is married. It can be manufactured from various materials. Depending on culture, a wedding ring is typically worn on the base of the left or right ring finger. Many spouses wear their wedding rings day and night, causing an indentation in the skin that is visible even when the ring is removed. Certain cultures consider it unlucky to remove a wedding ring once it has been placed - D’Sena: Stop. ::She watched the ring curiously.:: Why is it important? Computer: Due to their design wedding rings are seen as a symbol of eternal love and has been an emblem of love through time, a symbol of devotion and an agreement between two parties to love and cherish one another. D’Sena: Huh… It was the first time she actually had heard about wedding rings. The time off her own home planet had been limited to the Academy, the Apollo and the Constitution. She was aware of married couples, but hadn’t known that they wore something to show their unity. Since Rodulans didn’t marry this was all new to her. She still held the ring between her fingers and in the spur of the moment pushed it on her left ring finger. Raising her hand, she looked at the contrast between the jade green and the dark skin. The heavy material did its own to make her realize that something was on her finger. She could imagine it to be a constant reminder of her bond with Jack. Was this why people wore these? She couldn’t help but smile. D’Sena: Computer, establish connection to Lieutenant Jack Gard, Starbase 118. The computer beeped in compliance and the screen popped into a rotating Starfleet logo. Since it had to go through all kinds of relays she knew there would be a delay but she didn’t mind those few seconds of waiting between answers. Gard: ::somewhat concerned:: Akeelah? ::he scanned her face. He hadn’t expected to hear from her.:: Is everything alright? D’Sena: What? Can’t I call my fiancée out of the blue? His features softened, giving her one of his ‘just for you’ smiles. It was nice - more than nice really. Gard: Fiancée? ::he teased her lightly.:: D’Sena: I looked up the term. I used it right, didn’t I? ::She was worried to have learned the wrong term for a moment.:: Gard: ::a single nod.:: Yes, you did. ::he assured her.:: D’Sena: Good. ::Relief washed through her:: I got your package. Ah, so that was the reason for the call. They were from two different worlds - meaning there were differences and one could make the other uncomfortable if they were cautious. Gard: And? ::he asked.:: D’Sena: Did you buy them? Gard: No, ::he sighed slightly.:: Tabby’s grandparents gave them to me. D’Sena: Your parents? Gard: No… ::he repeated.:: Her mother’s parents. ::hesitantly.:: Akeelah tilted her head ever so slightly, a gesture that anyone but Jack wouldn’t even have noticed. D’Sena: Are these the rings you and your late wife wore? There was no judgement or anger in the words, just sheer curiosity. Gard: No, we didn’t take them at the time. ::curiously.:: does it fit? She looked down to her hand, the ring embracing her finger was out of camera view. With a material like that changing the size would have been hard, and how big was the chance of it actually fitting like that? It was like it was made for her. She raised her eyes again and then her hand followed, showing him the jade ring on her finger in a beautiful contrast to her dark skin. D’Sena: It fits perfectly. Gard: ::better question.:: Are they acceptable? The gaze of her pitch black eyes softened, something only noticeable when one had spend a lot of time looking into Rodulan eyes. She knew he tried hard. Since her people didn’t marry they both didn’t have a script to go by. There was no example on how to deal with these two cultures and traditions entering this kind of situation. All they had was their love and their compromises to make this special for both of them. D’Sena: They are beautiful. He was relieved. Part of it because he couldn’t seem to find anything he liked better and partly because of what it meant to Tabby’s grandparents. Jack offered a soft smile in return. He wished he could see her in person, how he missed her. There was a Terran saying that fit this feeling: distance made the heart grow fonder. He must have gotten lost in thought as she spoke up again. Her voice low with a hint of the emotion that bubbled just beneath her surface. If he hadn’t known her so well, he might have noticed. D’Sena: ::Lowering her hand again:: I will return the box to you, to keep them until we need them. Gard: Is there anything you’d like - something specific from your world or beliefs in regards to the wedding? They hadn’t had much chance to talk about such things in details. So it was a lot of guess-work and trying to find a happy balance. While he’d gone through the process once before, Akeelah was a different woman and her needs were vastly different from his first wife. Something he appreciated. D’Sena: My people do not have traditions or rituals like weddings. ::She thought:: But we have a bonding ceremony. Since I honour your traditions, maybe we can implement some of mine. Gard: Absolutely. ::as if she really needed to ask.:: I just need to know what. Akeelah began to speak of her own traditions and Jack listened to her description of something she wished to bring into their wedding. It would be a mixture of Terran and Rodulan and them. Which seemed more than fitting. He smiled softly as she explained yet another facet of her people’s culture. Gard: I think that will fit nicely. D’Sena: I am glad. He gave a long pause, studying her face. Memorizing her features. It would be some time still till he could be close to her. Before he could hold her again. Distance was a terrible thing in reality. D’Sena: I wonder where your thoughts are. If he had been here, she would know. But this was how things were right now. He had duty to uphold far away. Gard: Hmmm? ::He was pulled from his inner thoughts.:: I’m sorry - I was just thinking about … how much I wish there wasn’t so much distance between us. ::he admitted.:: D’Sena: ::A more open smile, she placed her hand on the screen.:: I wish the same. I can't wait to see you again in person. ((/Flashback )) She took a deep breath and brushed her fingertips over the smooth surface of the ring. She missed him so much it was painful. But it would be worth it in the end. If the time apart had shown her one thing it was that her heart didn't easily change. Maybe someday soon she could tell him in person. ---- Lieutenant Jack Gard Engineer simmed by Lieutenant Commander Nijil Executive Officer Starbase 118 Ops USS Narendra A239202RH0 & LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena Security Officer - Momentarily off duty simmed by Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0