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Lt JG Rennyn - The Shadow Of Vishlu


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((Holodeck 2 - USS Atlantis))

::It wasn't always easy to know another person, but Ren Rennyn had never been afraid to try.::

::He'd grown up covered in family and friends, a constant stream of need and personality that sent him sometimes running off to the lonely corner of a field for a minute's peace. In the long term, it left him friendly, and open, and craving connection. It left him a little afraid of loneliness.::

::Out here on Atlantis, with black space drifting by, he felt stifled. He didn't want to be alone, but he needed to think. After the excitement of time with friends on Uzoka 4, the quiet of his quarters was deafening, pressuring. Even the corner of a field is full of living things. The holodeck at least pretended to have life in it, and he needed something around him, some feeling of being in a living environment, in order to clear his mind and really get this sorted.::

::Ren was struggling to get a grip on Sovak's motivations. They'd been roommates for four years at the Academy, and they were posted to Atlantis together as fresh new ensigns. Now that goofed up Vulcan had gone and professed his love for the Trill helm officer. And Ren could admit he felt something too. But it was tough to wrap on to it. This was his friend, his best friend, outside of his brothers back home in Arnmere. His brain and his heart weren't catching up to each other, and he couldn't tell which was doing the catching, or which was trying to run.::

::Ren sat on a dusty red boulder observing the holographic scene below. It was Vulcan, the only part of Vulcan Sovak had called home, high on a cliff of Mount Vishlu in a monastic school no child with Sovak's level of emotion could have enjoyed. The bluff where Ren sat outside the monastery looked down from Vishlu, that layered jag of rock rising up from the landscape like a sheltering behemoth, casting its shadow over the fertile delta below, where some vegetation that would not otherwise have lived in the scorched Vulcan terrain grew lush among irrigated channels. It was a fertile oasis, spread before him like a scene from a story, holographic citizens moving peacefully below in the pageant of daily life.::

::Up at the monastery, life was dry and red. None of the vegetation, none of the life reached this solitary place above, except in distant, taunting visions from beneath.::

::The Trill stood upright and filled his lungs with hot, arid atmosphere. He wondered how realistic this simulation could be. Were the little holographic Vulcans who crawled like matawba bugs in that distant down-below vista based on the real citizens of the mountain's shade? Or were they, like the preternaturally perfect Vulcan sky, a conjuration of the programmer's well-ordered vision?::

::Ren had grown up surrounded by green plants and rich soil; hot days that produced cool breezes too. Snow in its season, ice and bundling, then the inevitably welcome thaw of spring with its deep, earthen fragrance. This place, this barren red desert stretching out to every horizon, couldn't have been any more alien to him.::

::It couldn't have been easy to make the plants grow there. Ren respected the Vulcans in that. He knew how it felt to be in a relationship with the land, to struggle with it and love it and fight it sometimes. It nourished you and it brought you to tears. The ground here was so different from what he knew. It wasn't easy to imagine how the Vulcans did it. It was all so much like Sovak -- familiar to the Trill in some ways, but, in others, entirely alien.::

::Sovak had traveled to Trill once, with Ren, on a semester break from the Academy, when they were simply friends. It had been two weeks of fish-out-of-water comedy, Sovak never quite learning how to handle constant attention from Ren's large family. He'd watched the shy Vulcan flinch and wince and try to melt into a puddle rather than face the onslaught of conversation and companionship. But Sovak had blossomed, too, in a way. He'd connected to the planet, to the fertile ground, to the sweet, rich air, in a way Ren had felt connected since birth.::

::Seeing Vulcan, dry and arid, even in the beautiful delta at the foot of Mount Vishlu, Ren began to understand Sovak's origins. The Vulcan had gone to Trill and found a very different home than he'd ever known. He'd expressed to Ren, in his quiet way, how much he'd loved the Rennyn farm, the ever-present family, the vibrant, fertile life of it all. Ren brushed the desert dust from his jacket. He could see why.::

::Here, the landscape was all sand, and you had to dig your feet in and really stand. Maybe that's how, in some ancient time, Vulcans learned to find their strength from within. Sovak spent his early years on the safe, solid deck of a starship. Maybe he'd never found his footing here for that reason.::

::So did Sovak love him as much as he seemed to think? Or was it Trill the Vulcan loved, that sense of place, of family and belonging? That was the doubt nagging at Ren since the fevered moment Sovak proclaimed his feelings, in a room full of flowers and confusion. Was Sovak merely in love with feeling? Ren's life was on a trajectory that pointed away from Trill for now, even if it was meant to lead back there some day. He didn't see how he could be what Sovak needed. That goofy Vulcan was so many wonderful things, and deserved to be with someone as amazing as him. Ren wasn't sure he would be enough. Or was that another excuse to run? His heart and his head competed for position. One was a tortoise, the other a hare. The sun was setting over the back of Mount Vishlu, and Ren hadn't begun to fathom what he wanted to know here.::

::Sweat formed on his brow, from the heat in the simulated atmosphere, or the heat in his beleaguered brain. His face was grim. He might break a heart that had already been broken on the stern, lonely rocks high on Mount Vishlu, one that had only begun to take root and grow. With the same blow, he might break his own heart too.::


LtJG Rendal Rennyn
Helm Officer
USS Atlantis
NCC-74682

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