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Lt. Commander Jona ch'Ranni - The Hope That Soars Eternal


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((Chief of Operations Office, Deck 13, USS Gorkon))

Tap tap tippity-tap
Jona sat hunched over his desk idly tapping his thumb on its shiny raven surface. A quick glance let him know that ten more minutes had passed since he'd last looked and he gave a low sigh. The shift was beginning to drag and he stole a brief glance out his office window to the starbase's lengthy form outside. He'd promised himself that he'd make time to visit DS224 again before the ship was called away on its next assignment. His gaze returned to the PADD and he scrolled down with the singular swipe upward of a pointer finger.
Tap tap tippity-tap
Apparently the counselor and doctor had come across quite the haul on the starbase. The good doctor had submitted a special request for the beaming of some extra large items to the ship. The Andorian Ops Chief didn't see any issues with that as long as it wasn't hazardous to the Gorkon.
ch'Ranni: Wait, wha-?
A castle? The manifest listed a castle! No way. Absolutely not. His finger stood ready to trigger the reject button but he hesitated. He'd have to double check that. Surely, there was some mistake. A quick inspection of the request details listed the item with a large, but not unmanageable, weight. He deduced it must be a miniature version of the real thing. As he checked the approval button and forward the order to the Cargo Bay techs, he wondered if it was a gift for the little red fire-breather Loxley had introduced to him.
ch'Ranni: Smug? Smoogle?
He shook his head once and decided it didn't really matter but made a mental note to find out for sure. The creature had definitely given him the evil eye but Jona tried to not hold it against the diminutive dragon. The creature deserved a nice little kingdom to command. Maybe he could even replicate a few tritanium figurines for the castle - get in the lizard's good graces.
Tap tap tippity-tap
Becoming annoyed at the sound of his own drumming thumb on the desktop, Jona shifted in his seat and moved the electronic tablet to his other hand as he moved on to the next item.
The two crates of stem bolts had arrived from Starbase 118. The seismic stabilizers for Delta Doradus III, the spare ablative armor plates, everything seemed to be in order. Inventory check complete.
The Azetbur was back from its refurbishing visit to the base and right where it should be - nestled up against the saucer section. He nodded approvingly at the technician's report. They had even managed to fix the annoying squeak in the [...]pit door, not to mention removal of every last vestige of the garish green paint on her hull.
ch'Ranni: Excellent. Ready for her next adventure.
Tap tap tippity-tappity tap
Jona let out another breath and rose from his chair. He arched his back and stretched as if he were a Caitian sunning himself in the beam of sunlight entering the nearest window. Maybe another cup of raktajino wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
ch'Ranni: Raktajino, hot, with cream and double sugar.
The food slot coalesced particles of inert matter into the requested beverage and he took a testing sip. The warm liquid hit his bloodstream and made his eyes open just a touch wider, banishing the tiredness from his brain. He walked slowly to his bookshelf by the window and pulled out his most recent acquisition. Emily Dickinson. A few minutes looking it over wouldn't hurt. In fact, it might clear his brain even further. It would also give him a little small talk to bring up with Meru the next time they saw each other. The [...] leather cover, a dark blue, weathered thing, fell open of its own accord and he began reading the words on the cream colored paper
ch'Ranni: Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, / And sings the tune without the words, / And never stops at all
The prose was haunting, chilling even. And that was saying something for an Andorian like Jona. He returned the book to its spot on the shelf with the few other books stacked there. Taking another sip of his steamy drink, the department chief returned to his chair and swiveled it from side to side distractedly as if the ship were being rocked by an invisible salvo of phaser fire.
The author was clearly trying to evoke a comparison of hope to a free-flying bird. He mused between sips of dark drink that having hope could be uplifting and freeing to the mind. Just the promise of good was enough to keep one reaching forward, battling the wind and gravity that threatened to beat it down. Still, the poem had an edge of sadness that juxtaposed its earnestness.
Tap tap tippity-tap
He grabbed up the copy of Helmsman Today and flipped it open to the spread on the center page. Interesting. An advertisement for the Centauris' Cup. That was the biannual race Jo had mentioned a few weeks ago. Would the admiral really be open to entering the Gorkon in the event? She could certainly give any other ship out there a run for their latinum.
He threw the magazine down on the reflective, inky desk and paused to look at his reflection in its perfect sheen. What was he doing?
Tap tap tippity-tappity tap
Jona's left hand moved slowly to the drawer on the desk. It hovered for a second as if it was deciding whether it was safe to proceed. Then, ever so slowly, his long thin fingers found the activation keys which unlocked the compartment. He pulled the wood and glass rectangle from the drawer and rested it in his lap. 
The smiling face of the young woman - with cornflower blue skin and face framed by snow white hair cascading to her shoulders - gazed back up at him. Her expressive antenna poked through her hair and emoted the joy that the snapshot in time had captured. Jona ran a finger across the glass to remove a bit of dust that had landed there. His lips thinned to a slight frown and a tightness formed in his shoulder blades.
Why had the gods broken them apart? What did he do to deserve that cruel weight? Where were the fluttering wings of hope to be found in that stark reality?
A single drop of rain landed on the picture's glass protector and Jona determined there must be something incredibly wrong with the environmental systems to allow for such condensation. He wiped the remaining tear from the corner of his eyes and placed the framed picture back in its drawer.
ch'Ranni: ::whispering:: Miss you, Vexa. ::closing his eyes and even more softly after a long pause:: Maybe one day.
Lt. Commander Jona ch'Ranni
Chief of Operations
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)
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Thanks, Lox! Your castle has been delivered by the way. Some contents may have shifted during shipping and handling. It was like that when I found it. No I don't have a tracking number in the system and no you did not purchase the additional insurance. 

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