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Lt. Sabina Tiam: Promenade Nights

Sal Taybrim

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((Promenade, Starbase 118))
::Pleasantly inebriated after just enough of the trendy Golden Dew concoction that was so popular at Keal’s and having excused herself from the group as things died down, Sabina Tiam found herself sitting all too comfortably on a bench somewhere in the commercial sector. With one leg tucked underneath her and the other pulled up so that her foot was firmly on the bench and her knee could act as a rest for her elbow, she watched the passers-by.::
::Nights on the Starbase were as lively as in any city. You could find groups of friends stumbling out of pubs, couples linked arm-in-arm headed for privacy after a night spent out, or simply workers looking to head home after a long day all wandering the walkways. Even tired travelers from far off places looking for last minute accommodations were no rarity here. This scenery, combined with the subtle shift to a lower nighttime temperature, reminded Tiam of her nights in San Fransisco. That was when anything, even just sitting on a park bench, was better than returning to a dorm to give in to sleep. They were good memories. And often similarly hazey ones.::
::This heady combination of nostalgia and pleasant intoxication had Sabina’s guard notably lower than she would usually keep it. Something she would certainly kick herself for upon the clarity of the morning. While she was certainly no more far gone than was appropriate for any officer in their downtime, this was, after all, a time when extra vigilance was called for; not the best time to relax. But that line of thinking was for the morning. Tonight, the young Betazoid would simply enjoy the air. Besides, a break from thinking everyone could be a threat had to be beneficial.::
::It was this same unrestrained enjoyment of a peaceful moment that meant Sabina’s mind was also more open to her surroundings. Even under slightly drunken circumstances, she was still of course not invasive. No, more than reading, it was akin to when a headache made one sensitive to light. Only, in this case, the sensation was more pleasant than problematic or painful. Closing her eyes for a moment, Sabina sighed to herself. Maybe it was the drink talking, but she was finally feeling settled in here. And that was something Sabina hadn’t expected.::
::But by now she should have learned to throw expectations to the wind. A slow smile brightened her face; an expression that, to an observer, would appear to have no cause. But Sabina was generally all too serious for any causeless frivolity. No, this particular reaction had a direct cause. The empathic feeling of a familiar mind approaching. Eyes still closed, Sabina felt a shift as another body joined her on the bench. It was only then that her eyes fluttered opened.::
Tiam: ::Speaking warmly,:: Misha.
::As she said the woman’s name, Sabina gradually leaned until her head was resting on Misha’s shoulder. In response, to the touch or to Sabina’s apparent alcohol induced flush, Sabina didn’t know, Misha just laughed her slow chuckle.::
::Misha Rhonin wasn’t supposed to be there. With the red, straight hair that was so uncommon on Betazed, paired with her angular face and relative height, she made for a very statuesque sight. That, and a very welcome one. Sabina had known Misha longer than most. Her mentor-turned-friend-and-confidant had been able to make visiting 118 a fairly regular occurrence while she had been working with ​Starfleet's Diplomatic Corps as a consultant. But, the last Sabina had heard she was still traveling and very busy with a new project. Still, that didn’t seem to matter right at this moment. Sabina was just glad to see her oldest and dearest friend.::
Tiam: Tell me you’re here for awhile.
::Misha laughed and as she did, Sabina felt an odd push of emotions from her. Something like amusement with a swirl of gratitude and the oddest peppering of resentment. Although Sabina knew these things were not directed at her, they did still feel odd coming from the ever unfazed Misha.::::
Rhonin: << I’m here for awhile. >>
::In that moment, hearing Misha’s thought within her own mind, Sabina froze. It was the first time Sabina had experienced any truly telepathic contact since Y-rocck and the Noguwip. Part of her had wondered if she was even still capable of it, unsure if her mind would even allow it. But no part of Sabina was prepared for the sobering fear it caused to surge through her system. Had the contact come from anyone other than Misha, Sabina was sure that in the contest between fight, flight or freeze, fight would have won out easily.::
::Thankfully, Misha spoke before Sabina could barrel too far into overanalyzing herself.::
Rhonin: Hey, ::She turned slightly to more directly face Sabina.:: are you alright?
::Sabina just looked at her for a long moment. The two rarely ever spoke verbally. In fact, especially while they’d both been working off world, the two would take respite in getting to communicate telepathically with one another; more comfortable in that than piecing together Federation Standard and trying to somehow still express a feeling. But it didn’t seem that made too much of a difference now.::
Tiam: I’m fine. Really, I am. Sorry.
::Sabina smiled and in a slightly silly motion, loosened her shoulders.::
Rhonin: Can you tell me what that was about?
Tiam: It’s… a long story. Later.
::Feeling more clear headed after the unexpected jolt, Sabina was beginning to regain her wiser senses. While leave would mean considerably more freedom in when and how she took care of her duties, it didn’t mean a complete escape from work. This was, Sabina felt, one drawback no one had mentioned about working on a Starbase.::
Tiam: It’s late anyway. Do you have accommodations? ::It was dawning on Sabina how little she knew regarding Misha’s appearance on base.:: When did you get in? ::She stood, offering a hand to Misha.:: And when were you going to tell me you were here?
::While Misha was deeply concerned by Sabina’s reaction to telepathy, she decided to set her worries aside for the night in favor of addressing them when the two would have more time.::
Rhonin: I do, very late, and tomorrow morning.
::With a smirk, Rhonin accepted Sabina’s hand up but once she was standing, slipped her arm around the waist of the shorter woman.::
Rhonin: Am I not allowed to surprise you?
Tiam: Schedules and surprises mix like Vulcans and Andorians. Very awkwardly.
Rhonin: How much have you had to drink?
::Misha led the way as the two began to walk through the promenade.::
Tiam: Not enough to miss you changing the subject.
Rhonin: ::Grinning.:: You always were a sharp one.
Tiam: Well, I managed to ace all of your classes, didn’t I?
::Thinking about her time at University of Betazed felt like ancient history now that Sabina had been through Starfleet Academy, SFI training and two postings. But it would always be the four years that changed her the most.::
Rhonin: Ha, I distinctly remember a final grade of B+ in at least one course.
Tiam: ::Sabina scrunched her nose.:: It was History of Betazoid Diplomats II and I had to petition the department to get my rightful A. ::Misha laughed, unbothered by the statement.:: And anyway, where are you taking me?
Rhonin: Well, I was going to invite you to breakfast tomorrow anyway, and since my space is considerably closer than your quarters, I just thought it would be convenient…
Tiam: Lead on, you pragmatist, you.
::The two women walked on, headed for a rental apartment Misha had arranged for nearby. Perhaps they each had inklings that there were some long talks on the horizon, but neither knew the extent to which circumstances had changed for the other. Though it seemed they would get to spend a precious few more hours in the bliss of ignorance before burdening one another with news yet unspoken.::
Lt. Sabina Tiam
Intelligence Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
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