Jump to content
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

LtJG Iniko Mpeba - Seize the Day


Recommended Posts

((Personal Quarters, USS Darwin-A))

::After their wild shuttle ride, Iniko was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go back to jheas quarters and take a nap, or maybe head up to Sickbay to check on Lambert. Jhe couldn't relax, though, and the thought of seeing anyone else right now made jhea feel sick. Jhe finally had to admit to jheaself that what jhe was feeling was guilt. Whatever it was that had caused such an emotional reaction in the rest of the shuttle crew had only given Iniko a headache, but it had made focusing difficult, and they still didn't have any idea what had actually happened to them.::

::Jhe was certain that jhe could have figured it out and been more useful if only jhe had spent some time developing jheas fielding abilities. Up until now it had seemed unimportant. There had never been much need for it on missions before, and while it could occasionally come in useful in jheas normal tasks as an engineer, it had always seemed like a minor added bonus. So jhe had just kept putting it off and putting it off, even when jhe had discovered jhe couldn't use the holodeck any longer due to interference headaches.::

::This mission had changed all that, though. It was time to stop waffling and start practicing. Luckily jhe had been slowly going crazy during jheas extended leave back on Til’ahn, and during a fit of boredom had contacted the Fielding League and asked to be assigned a tutor. After securing a promise that Iniko would send them reports on interesting new effects or applications of the skill jhe might discover while in service with Starfleet, subject to Starfleet’s willingness to disclose the information, they'd been very accommodating. Jhe had walked away with the contact information for a new tutor, immediately been swept up in another of jheas mother's emergencies, and forgotten all about it. Now it was time to resurrect that plan.::

::Upon reaching jheas room, jhe sat down at jheas personal console and initiated a call to Til’ahn. Jhe punched in the contact information the Fielding League had sent jhea, and sat back. The call took a while to connect, and Iniko began to hope that maybe the new tutor was too busy. Maybe jhe should put this off for a while after all. Jhe wasn’t entirely sure why jhe was so nervous. This wasn’t going to be like Dr Cook poking around in jheas brain. It was just like exercising a muscle, right? Surely jhe didn’t need to be so wary of the process. But that nervousness remained.::

::Finally, the call connected. A face appeared on jheas monitor. A familiar face, not because jhe had seen it many times, but because jhe had relived that single experience so many times in jheas memory. Jhe almost flinched back, but just managed to keep jheas face calm. This must be a mistake.::

Chalor: Hello? ::the lomale on screen raised jheas eyebrows as jhe took in Iniko’s uniform and surroundings.:: Can I help you?

Mpeba: ::coldly:: I don’t believe so, no. I was given this number by mistake, I believe. Don’t worry, I won’t contact you again.

::Sawat Chalor narrowed jheas eyes, peering closely at Iniko, and then huffed and pursed jheas lips.::

Chalor: Ah. The younger Mpeba. You look just like your mother and father. I had forgotten that you were supposed to call.

::Iniko sat back, a little stunned. Jhe had known about this? And hadn’t objected? The memories flashed through jheas mind again, still stunningly at odds with Sawat’s current behavior.::

((Flashback, 12 Years Ago))

::Iniko's mother had that worried look on her face again. She was talking with a friend, and as usual they had been discussing the aliens and their bad influences, how they were destroying Laudean culture and values. Iniko always felt nervous when they talked like that. Jhe wasn't sure what sort of things the aliens had planned for them, but jheas mother always made it sound like they were lawless pillagers, out to take every resource of their world and steal all the lomales to breed their own race of fielders. Jheas mother usually seemed most worried about Iniko’s future during those discussions. She was off the comm now, and came over to talk to Iniko.::

C. Mpeba: Iniko, come with me. I have someone you need to meet.

::Iniko nodded and followed along, trying to be properly demure. Chioma sat jhea down on the seat next to her and started another call. It took a few moments to be picked up, but when the picture appeared it was of a serene and elaborate garden, full of carefully pruned trees, delicate flowers and exquisite sculptures. The person sitting in the middle of all of this was a handsome lomale a few years older than Iniko's parents. Jheas hair was piled in an sophisticated knot on jheas head, and jhe wore finely embroidered robes of a shimmery and slightly translucent fabric that showed glimpses of jheas form in the afternoon sunlight. Iniko was entranced. This was what jheas mother kept pushing for, and jhe had never been able to grasp. This person was poise and elegance and sensuality personified. Iniko didn't believe jhe could ever achieve such a thing, wasn't entirely sure jhe even wanted to. But it was certainly a beautiful sight.::

Chalor: Hello, how can I -- why, Chioma, isn't it? What a pleasant surprise!

C. Mpeba: Sawat, it's so good to see you again!

Chalor: It is always a good day to see you, my dear. How have you been? It's been far too long.

::The older lomale’s drawl was hypnotizing, but jheas words made Iniko blush. Jhe was finally starting to grasp who this person was, and the images that conjured up were not something jhe wanted to contemplate.::

C. Mpeba: It has been too long. So much has happened recently. But that isn't what I called you about. I wanted you to meet our child, Iniko.

::The lomale on the screen flinched, momentarily losing jheas composure. A moment later jhe had it back, but the smile jhe offered Iniko was weak and brief.::

Chalor: Hello, child. Would you mind running in the other room for a moment? I need to speak privately with your mother.

::Iniko wasn't sure what to make of that reaction, but given jheas mother's crumpled frown, it hadn't been what she had been hoping for. Iniko felt guilty, wondering if jhe had done something wrong, or if it was the lomale on the call who had disappointed her. Chioma turned to Iniko, though, and gave jhea a small nod in the direction of the open doorway. Iniko stood and left the room as quietly as jhe could, but stopped as soon as jhe turned into the hall. Jhe leaned against the doorframe, just out of sight.::

Chalor: Chioma, what were you thinking? I thought we made this clear in our agreement!

C. Mpeba: But Iniko is your only lomale child! I checked the coven records! I thought jhe would mean something to you, especially now that jhe is approaching the age of apprenticeship!

Chalor: ::sternly:: I don't know how to make this any more clear. You and Akinade I would be happy to see again, anytime. You two have always been wonderful fun. But the . . . results of those encounters? I want nothing to do with them, regardless of their age. That was made clear from the very beginning. They are yours, not mine, not in any sense. This child is not my responsibility, and I am entitled to no part of jheas life, nor do I want any.

C. Mpeba: But, surely if you just spoke to jhea for a moment.

Chalor: Do not press this, Chioma. It is a thoroughly inappropriate request. I will not be a part of this conversation. Goodbye.

::Iniko felt jheas throat close up. Jhe stifled jheas anger as best jhe could, but a little squeal of indignation escaped. What jhe was saying was perfectly reasonable, of course. Iniko was well versed in the basic tenets of lomale duties, even if jhe struggled with the more complicated aspects, and this was about as basic as they got. Lomales had no rights or responsibilities regarding their offspring, except in extreme circumstances. Chioma opting to pursue this in opposition to the decrees of the Fielding League she respected so much spoke volumes about her worry for Iniko's future. But it had been for nought, and now they were both humiliated.::

((End Flashback))

::If Sawat had been so set against having anything to do with Iniko previously, why was jhe expecting Iniko's call now? Whatever the reason, Iniko wasn’t sure jhe wanted anything to do with Sawat now. Iniko set jheas jaw firmly and hid behind the most formal manner jhe could produce.::

Mpeba: I apologize for the intrusion. I have no intention of intruding on your peace any further. Goodbye.

::Jhe reached forward to end the call, but Sawat held up a finger to forestall jhea.::

Chalor: Please. Wait a moment. There is no need for you to go so soon.

Mpeba: I was under the impression you wanted nothing to do with me.

::Sawat bowed jheas head, and just for a moment seemed frail. A moment later, though, jhe raised jheas head again and frowned seriously at Iniko.::

Chalor: Listen well. I want nothing to do with any progeny of mine. You are not my child, and you will never be. But I have been asked by the Fielding League to instruct a student in the art of fielding, and this is a task I will undertake without qualms. We will relate to each other solely as master and apprentice. There will be no familiarity between us, and you will not forget your place. Do you understand?

::Iniko felt the heat rising in jheas chest, and forced it down. Jhe would remain civil. Jhe would. Jhe counted to ten before answering, and was satisfied to hear jheas voice come out even.::

Mpeba: I believe you are under a false impression. I am no child, and I have no intention of being spoken to as such. If you were anyone else I would give you the respect due a teacher, but since you have clearly expressed such a disinterest in me, I don't believe there is any possible way we could work together civilly. You will have to excuse me. I will seek another course.

::Jhe leaned forward again to end the call, but this time Sawat threw up jheas hand more urgently. Iniko halted, more at the expression on jheas face than anything else. Jhe looked afraid, not an expression Iniko had ever imagined on jheas perfectly composed features.::

Chalor: Please, listen.

::Despite the request, Sawat bit down on jheas lip, bowed jheas head and remained silent for some time. Iniko glared at jhea for a moment, but finally leaned back away from the console in surrender, folding jheas arms sullenly.::

Mpeba: Fine. What do you want from me?

::Sawat didn't raise jheas head, but jheas hands began clenching and unclenching, a nervous tic if Iniko had ever seen one. Jhe had to admit, jhe’d had plenty of fantasies of seeing Sawat so discomfited when jhe was younger, but jhe had always imagined it being in response to some lecture Iniko had given jhea. Now Iniko was just confused. Sawat finally looked up, not quite meeting Iniko's eyes.::

Chalor: You must understand, these are very strange times. This world is not the same one I was raised to.

::Iniko desperately wanted to roll jheas eyes at the obviousness of that statement. Jhe was very proud that jhe managed to merely nod an invitation to continue.::

Chalor: The Romulans, of course, were not to be emulated, but this Federation of yours is perhaps not so abhorrent as I had initially believed.

Mpeba: Oh really?

::Jhe couldn't entirely keep the note of sarcasm out of jheas tone. Jhe’d had this conversation far too many times with jheas mother, and it left a sour taste in jheas mouth. Sawat merely pursed jheas lips and continued, looking a little more calm now.::

Chalor: I have had some informal interactions with members of some Federation species, while acting on behalf of the Fielding League, and, quite by accident, I assure you, have had occasion to, well, play. With their children. It was not precisely as distasteful an experience as I had expected.

::It was Iniko's turn to raise jheas eyebrows. Jhe kept the rest of jheas face calm, but jhe could feel her heartbeat speed up significantly. Jhe willed it to settle down, unsuccessfully.::

Mpeba: What exactly are you trying to say?

::Sawat cleared jheas throat.::

Chalor: Well, to put it succinctly . . . I requested this assignment.

::Iniko's eyes went wide as saucers, and jheas voice went faint.::

Mpeba: You what?

::Sawat squirmed slightly in jheas chair. The movement was surprisingly childlike, but jheas eyes looked ancient, haunted by something Iniko was only beginning to guess at.::

Chalor: It was not a popular request with the Fielding League. They didn't want me interacting with you, and for good reason. This is just not done.

Mpeba: You asked to speak with me? To teach me?

Chalor: It was just going to be professional. I told them it was purely professional. I told myself it was purely professional.

::Sawat looked like jhe was talking to jheaself now, retreating. Iniko leaned forward, wishing jhe could reach through the screen and grab Sawat’s shoulders, drag jhea back from the panic jhe was working jheaself into. That being impossible, Iniko tried to project calm reassurance with jheas words.::

Mpeba: It's okay, this is okay.

::Sawat let out a slightly hysterical laugh.::

Chalor: No, child, this is very, very far from “okay”. You've been corrupted by the Federation for far too long if you can simply be “okay” with this. On the contrary, this is very nearly heresy.

::Iniko didn't know how to respond to that. Jhe was certain Sawat was going to change jheas mind and walk away again, but Iniko didn't have any words that could stop jhea. But Sawat sat up straight, setting jheas jaw in a gesture that Iniko surreally recognized from the mirror.::

Chalor: Forgive me, this is not as easy as I had hoped. I will need to erase this message from my logs, in order to ensure no one can acquire unsavory information they can use against me. But I do not rescind my offer.

Mpeba: And what precisely is that offer?

Chalor: I will teach you to use your fielding skill, if you so desire, and if you can retain any modicum of respect for me after the spectacle I have made of my myself just now. Additionally, or alternatively, as you prefer, I would . . . not be entirely averse to the concept of attempting to develop some sort of more . . . familial rapport between us.

::Sawat broke eye contact at last and stared down at jheas fidgeting hands intently. Iniko sat back in jheas chair, floored. Jhe had wanted this. Fantasized about it, when jhe wasn't fuming. But not the smallest part of jheaself had ever believed it could possibly happen. Now that it had, Iniko didn't know what jhe wanted. A part of jhea wanted to seize the chance at that impossible relationship jhe had dreamed of. But jhe had fought so hard to escape all the ridiculous conservative nonsense jhe had been raised with. Did jhe really want to deal with more of that? There was also a significant part of jhea that had spent so long being bitter and angry at Sawat and all jhe represented, and that part of Iniko wanted nothing more than to throw this back in Sawat's face and see jhea deal with rejection for a change. Iniko squashed that last feeling down mercilessly. Jhe was not going to allow jheaself to be ruled by bitterness. Jhe resolutely leaned forward again, before jhe could change jheas mind.::

Mpeba: I accept. I'm willing to try if you are.

::Sawat's shoulders sagged, jheas hands finally stilled, a gentle breath of a sigh escaped jheas lips. Jhe raised jheas head again, slowly, and met Iniko's eyes.::

Chalor: Good. That is. That is very good to hear.

::Iniko smiled grimly. Jhe was not at all certain this was going to work out. This might very well be one of the biggest mistake jhe had ever made. But jhe was absolutely certain that not trying would be an even bigger mistake.::

Mpeba: Okay then. Where should we start?

Lieutenant JG Mpeba - Engineering Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.