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Ensign Akoni Soriano - The Path You Choose


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((Corridors just outside the Intel offices))


::Outside the intel office sector, officers and crew members alike were roaming the corridors, weaving past each other as they tried to reach their destination. Akoni was surprised that she had yet to bump into anyone as officers zipped past her in speeds that could be considered reckless. As she rounded a corner, she found that most of the holodecks were unoccupied, as determined by the green light that hung above most of the sliding doors. The final door at the end of the hallway would do, since people would probably avoid accidentally entering her holodeck if there were plenty of rooms before it without people in it. Today, Akoni decided to visit a more nostalgic part of her mind.::


Soriano: Computer, take me to E’Nicia Baxu on Tandar Prime, Soriano cabin residence.


Computer: Generating.


::Flatlands stretched for as far as the holodeck would stretch. The graphics had come a long way since the first release before Akoni joined the academy, but even then, the edge where the deck ended fizzed and swayed as it tried to create the illusion that the forest was infinite. Akoni casually strolled toward the house suspended in the trees. Luckily, there was hardly any wild Boka-grass near her cabin for the hot season, making walking off the path easy. She gracefully navigated around the few weeds and thorns that surrounded the base of the trees.::


::A ramp ascended up into two strongly rooted trees, leading up to two suspended cones that represented her comfortable stay. She often surprised herself with how relaxed she was, especially with mild acrophobia as the ground became further away. The ramp eventually transformed into steps, forming a jagged and curved staircase. Akoni walked up the steps, hanging onto the rail to steady herself on the ascent. At the top of the walk, she could see the the steady sea of trees that stretched for miles. Without hills or mountains in her area, and with the way the trees swayed in the breeze, the green leafy tops could almost pass for rippling waves, like the algae seas of Terre.::


Esperon: Hello? Is someone there?


::Akoni turned away from the scenic view and down to the ground. An old woman wandered around on the path just in front of the cabin. Akoni smiled to herself, immediately recognizing the hand stitched tan poncho draped over her shoulders, the worn leather shoes, and even the thick wooden cane she used to navigate around the Boka-brush. She walked noiselessly down the ramp and extended a hand towards the old woman. THWACK!::


Esperon: Don’t you touch me, you damned heathen!


Soriano: Takakarai, it’s me! ::she shouted, holding up her hands in surrender as the woman raised her cane to strike again.::


::The short woman squinted her eyes at her, poking her in the side once more and chuckling.::


Esperon: Akoni, my child! ::Her smile suddenly dropped.:: How many times have I told you NOT to sneak up on a poor, nearly blind woman?


::Akoni ducked her head, rubbing at her arm and side. Surely she would have bruises later on. Her eyes widened momentarily as she realized, this was only a materialized projection.::


oO Hurt pretty bad for a hologram. The computer must be reading my mind pretty accurately to make such a perfect version of old Kaki. Oo


Esperon: ...Well? ::She asked impatiently.::


oO Too perfect. Oo


Soriano: Oh, sorry Kaki. It’s been a while.


Esperon: ::nodding:: That it has. Walk with me. ::She turned away back down the path without waiting for Akoni to follow.


::Akoni took one last glance at her secondary home, wondering what this computer simulation had in mind.


oO My mind. Oo


::She jogged a couple of steps to catch up with her old mentor and inspiration. As usual, Takakarai was the first to speak, never leaving room for silence, which she so very much hated.::


Esperon: You’ve gained some weight.


Soriano: ::She rolled her eyes, unfazed by the criticism.:: I’ve been working desk jobs lately.


Esperon: I can see that. ::Her eyes squinted back at her, even though the trees overhead blocked out most of the light. She was studying her again.:: You’re not happy.


::Akoni tilted her head and frowned. Unhappy? She had just moved to another position and made a new friend, though Ezirah would surely disagree.::


Soriano: No I’m not. My new position may be a little more boring that I expected, but I’ve only just started. This IS to be expected.


Esperon: No, no, ::she shook her head, continuing to hobble along the trail,:: this isn’t about your job. This is about a person. I’ve seen this look in your face before, when you had that fight with the angry Vulcan.


Soriano: ::sighing:: Selar doesn’t get angry, that’s just the way he looks all the time. And it wasn’t a fight. We had a serious disagreement.


Esperon: So a fight. ::She held up her free hand as Akoni opened her mouth to protest.:: You were upset because for once, you had a, ugh, “disagreement” with someone who was more knowledgeable than you.


Soriano: I wouldn’t say more knowle-




Soriano: OW!


Esperon: ::Shaking her cane:: Don’t interrupt me! ::She continued on.:: You expected him to take your side on the argument, but he took the other side. You didn’t think that someone who had labeled themselves as your friend would become a foe in that moment.


::Akoni nodded, waiting for her to go on. She wanted to speak out and deny it, but doing so would earn her another smack from the cane.::


oO And the Gods know that I’m not fast enough to dodge her well aimed hits. Oo


Esperon: There is another like the Vulcan.


::Akoni mulled over the statement. She knew who the old woman was talking about. Prendar, the main reason for her department change and increase in anxiety. A counselor was out of the picture since she knew that any mention of her involvement with the government official would involve more people knowing. There wasn’t anyone that she could confide in about the subject… except of course for the woman next to her.::


Soriano: His name is Thomas Prendar. ::Old Kaki hmm’d.:: He works with the United Federation government. We met each other over an interrogation after our mission back in time.


Esperon: An official? During an interrogation? Hm.


Soriano: Well, the interrogation was more like a meeting. ::She corrected.:: He made it clear that he was only there to stop a criminal.


Esperon: I was not aware that the Federation housed criminals.


Soriano: But, it’s Commander Sinda! Yes, she frightened me at first, but after that encounter, I saw that she wasn’t here to hurt the crew. Her job in security is to protect the crew of the Constitution, and she has proved as much time and time again. She committed some acts of violence in her past, but most people from security grew up in troubled conditions.


Esperon: A redeemed criminal, then.


Soriano:: ::nodding her head:: I suppose, yeah.


Esperon: And? ::She prodded.::


Soriano:: ::pausing:: And what?


Esperon: This story seems rather short to have you so distressed. Enough to make you change your career.


::Akoni turned her head to Takakarai, but the short woman would not meet her gaze.::


Soriano: We had a couple exchanges after that. I needed some information that he had, and in return, he wanted… assurance that I would do any favor he asked, when he so needed.


Esperon: Sounds like a keeper ::she snorted.:: This man seems to enjoy the power he wields. Power and knowledge ::she jutted her chin towards Akoni,:: over you.


::She sighed, coming to a stop on the dirt path. She wobbled around to face Akoni, her eyes no longer squinting, but soft, portraying her worry.::


Esperon: I am old, but I’ve had plenty of time to do what I enjoy, and learn from what I didn’t. ::She raised a scraggly brow at her.::  I remember when you came to me, after that little stunt you pulled with the Vulcan. ::She began mumbling:: Trying to steal my lab supplies for your personal interest. Expensive materials too! ::She blinked, coming back to the present moment.:: You wanted to learn more about the world of discovery. I was still angry from before, but after showing you a thing or two with the telescope, I could see the excitement shine through you. I’ve seen you grow from being a child into the young woman you are now. I’ve seen your face light up upon finding new truths and discoveries, and I’ve seen the shadows fall across your mind when others had put you down and shamed your passions.


::She looked over Akoni’s shoulder into the trees and sneered.::


Esperon: Particularly your parents. Damned fools they are. ::She inhaled through her nose. Leaning her cane onto a tree, she hobbled back over to Akoni, clasping her pale hands within her own age-worn ones.:: Do not let your fear of being different or fear of others deter you from your path. Trust what is right and what you love. You will find times when running may seem easier than what lies ahead of you, ::she chuckled:: but I’ve never known a Soriano to be weak in the knees.


::She released her hands and grabbed her cane, pulling it around to her front to lean on with both hands.::


Esperon: Do what makes you happy. Do what is right. Pursue your own purpose, and you will never be lost on the path you choose.


::The branches rustled behind Akoni, startling her into watching a small woodland creature scurry back into the Boka-brush. When she returned her focus to her front, she found herself alone on the dirt path. She sighed, figuring that her mind would want the encounter to be as dramatic as possible. She looked up into the sky, seeing that the sun was still at high noon. Nighttime was still far away. She flexed her feet within her regulation shoes, and turned back to go to her cabin in the woods to mull over her subconscious Takakarai’s words.::


Ensign Akoni Soriano

Intelligence Officer

USS Constitution-B


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