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In a Hundred Years...


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((USS Arrow - Deck 1; Ready Room))

 

Ayemet walked across the Bridge to the port compartment and to the doors to the Captain’s Ready Room, a gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach. Since when did walking towards a door become such a drama? She shook her head ruefully. 

 

The truth was she knew why she was there. Her outburst in the Conference had not gone unnoticed. It would have been difficult for it not to be. She had seen the looks shot at her from Commanders Rodan, Serinus, and Collins. She felt the emotions that ranged from surprise consternation, and from fear to anger.  Indeed it was one of the reasons that Commander Rodan had ordered her to Sickbay; to ensure that she was able to be part of an away team, and to be able to contribute any skills she brought to it. It wasn't just that though. It was also to determine whether her empathic abilities were of aunty danger to herself or the crew.

 

(( FLASHBACK - Jalanda City, Bajor several years ago))

 

Sunshine  poured through the open window that looked out across Jalanda City bathing the sleeping figure in a golden hue. The young girl murmured groggily, awoken by the warmth that now enveloped her. She stretched lazily, opening her dark brown eyes and brushing away a shock of blonde hair from them. 

 

Outside the City was slowly coming to life as merchants set up their stalls and the streets began till with people eager to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables as they made their own way to work. Ayemet had always been slightly puzzled by this. When food could be so easily replicated, and virtually anyone could beam anywhere, it seemed slightly archaic that people would buy food or walk to work.

 

Whenever she had voiced such puzzlement her Mother and Father had always corrected her, insisting that replicated food could never been as good as something freshly picked from  a tree, or dug up from the soil, and that simply because someone could do something it didn’t necessarily mean that they should, whilst her Brother would merely roll his eyes, as if it was a question that wasn't even worthy of being asked.

 

Pulling on her simple tunic and pants, and her climbing boots she ran downstairs. Today was going to be a good day. Today she was going to take her Father to meet Nisha at  the crystal lakes and they were going to set up camp there. She happily sang and she jumped the last two steps and rushed into the kitchen. 

 

Ayemet:  Morning everyone!! What's for breakfast? I'm starving!

 

However rather than the usual laughter from her Father, and the gentle chiding from her Mother she was met with silence. Her Mother sat at the large kitchen table, a cup of coffee in front of her..

 

Ayemet stopped and thinking that it was some kind of prank, that her Father was hidden and would leap out on his unsuspecting Daughter she asked again.

 

Jacin :singing the question: I said what's for breakfast!?

 

Her Mother looked up, as if woken from a slumber. There was no smile, no laughter, no soft chiding.

 

Jacin Catyr: Can you make something for yourself this morning Ayemet? :rising from her chair: I’ve got to get to the store. We have a new shipment of stem bolts coming in.

 

Ayemet: Errr okay but where’s Dad?

 

Her Mother moved towards the door that would lead her to the streets, and from there the store.

 

Jacin Catyr: He’s gone.

 

Ayemet: But he’s taking me to meet Nisha. When’s he coming back?

 

Jacin Catyr : snapping at her Daughter: He’s not coming back Ayemet! I’ll need you in the store this afternoon. Make sure you're there.

 

And with that she walked out the door as if it were any other day leaving a confused and upset daughter standing alone in the kitchen.

 

((END FLASHBACK))

 

Ayemet stood at the door and pressed the chime, squaring her shoulders and preparing for the worst.

 

The chime to the Ready Room door broke him from his contemplation. He realised, rather foolishly, that he’d been staring at the computer terminal on the deck for longer than he could remember. 

 

It had been nearly nine months since he’d sat in the chair opposite him, with Shayne sat in his usual spot, and swivelled that same computer terminal to him. The questioning, but darkly mirthful eyes which had exposed his ‘deception’. That he’d requested a demotion when he joined the Arrow, to prove his scientific prowess. 

 

That’s when Shayne had approached him about becoming XO. He chuckled to himself about it even now. Maz had laughed, rather raucously, assuming it was a joke for the new officer. But Shayne was determined, as only Shayne is.

 

Rodan: Come.

 

The doors swooshed open and Jacin entered. Maz sat up in his chair and offered a comforting smile.

 

Ayemet stood to attention, her hands clasped behind her back. Kindness, or understanding, of any kind, wasn't what she had been expecting. She felt his sincerity in the comforting smile he offered her, but it was tempered by determination. She understood. He had a job to do. Whatever else had happened she would make it as easy as she could for him, already forming the  resignation in her thoughts.

 

His mind now turned to this side of command. Being Joined had changed his life in more ways than one. It made him confuse birthdays with previous Hosts, and give him memories that were - and by the same token - were not his.

 

He remembered that evening on The Midnight Planet. Well, he assumed it was evening, since the small planet was constantly bathed in darkness, and Maz took it for evening as he huddled, terribly wounded, by the rock next to the fire Alvarez had started.

 

The conversation seemed to haunt him now.

 

((FLASHBACK - The Midnight Planet; Crashed Pod Site))

 

The darkness engulfed every inch of the small planet. The night that seemed to last forever. Only the flickering phaser-fire and the strange pulsating glow of the bioluminescence of the surrounding jungle shone any light against the two officers laying against the rocks, trying to keep warm. Trying to stay alive. 

 

Rodan: Starfleet isn’t The Borg, Maria. Sure, the Red Collar changes you. Much like Joining changes you, but it’s those little pieces of “self” that only individuals have which can make it succeed. Sure, I could have flatly refused to take the responsibility of First Officer. I still can. I can request a transfer or reassignment at any time.

 

Maria found herself almost surprised by what she was revealing about herself.  So much so, she kept right on going, finding she was able to articulate something to herself for the first time.

 

Alvarez: It’s more than that.  No offense, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met a command officer I actually liked.  Too interested in rank and position, telling people what to do.  I don’t want to become that!

 

Maz raised an amused eyebrow and chuckled, even though the act of laughing hurt his lungs and made his sides ache.

 

Rodan: Is that how you see me? A rank climber? I’ll have you know, I requested a demotion when I was posted to the Arrow. The truth is… I was already a full Lieutenant and Chief Science Officer of the Dickens. I wanted to see if my Joining had influenced that unjustly, or whether I did have the knack for it. Shayne saw right through it and reinstated me to my true rank, then promoted me to be First Officer. I didn’t ask for it. But the choice was mine when I accepted. The same with you.

 

Maria was genuinely surprised.  His attitude to rank sounded more like hers than not.  Maybe she’d been even more wrong about Maz than she’d realized.  If so, she rather appreciated being wrong about him.

 

Alvarez: I didn’t know that.

 

Rodan: Just because you’ve temporarily assumed command in my impairment doesn’t mean you’re going to be shackled to command forever. You stepped up. Where would we be without you? I’d probably be dead. Chloe too, probably.

 

Alvarez: :: She chuckled. :: Hey, the night is young...

 

Rodan: And speaking as a temporarily relieved command officer. Did you see Ar’Gorvalei with his shirt off?

 

He grinned and eased himself back against the rock he was leaning on. The pain was flaring again, but he was determined to keep their spirits light.

 

Alvarez: Are you kidding?  I can’t stop seeing him.

 

Maria joined Maz in laughter.  He seemed continuously full of ever better surprises.  She never imagined she’d be checking out men together with a ship’s first officer.

 

Rodan: I think I should make a trip to one of these Efrosian monasteries. Those guys know how to keep themselves in good shape.

 

Alvarez: Sign me up!  :: She shot a devious grin. :: On second thought, maybe don’t.  Knowing my luck, they have a vow of celibacy and I’d wind up creating another… diplomatic incident.

 

Maz grinned and glanced towards Maria.  She giggled at his expression.

 

Rodan: See, Shayne would have shot me a disapproving look, or comment for that. But technically I’m off duty, and I’m not a machine. Good humour. That’s the secret to command.

 

Alvarez: :: Grinning. :: So I still get to be cool?

 

Rodan: Coolness does not diminish with responsibility. In fact, it amplifies. So yes… you still get to be “cool”.

 

((END FLASHBACK))

 

Could he still be the “cool” First Officer now that the crew had been flung so far from Starfleet? The Captain was gone. MacKenna was gone. Everyone he looked up to for guidance. He was on his own now, with a crew of nearly eighty people all looking to him now. For guidance. For answers. For help.

 

Ayemet was one of those officers now. It was a grave feeling, and he wondered if he could do his best for her.

 

The El-Aurian stepped towards the desk and he indicated for her to take a seat.

 

Rodan: Thank you for coming.

 

Jacin : cautiously almost as a question: Thank you?..Sir.

 

She sat down in the chair facing the Commander, her hands folded nervously in her lap. She would miss the ship, her friends, but she also knew that she had struggled with whatever her empathic abilities were, and even more so since the ship had ended up near Odyssey Staton.

 

Rodan: You’ve come a long way since coming aboard. I’ve watched you develop and grow from a shy Academy mouse to a fine science officer. ::He paused.:: Never in five lifetimes would I have thought you’d interrupt a staff meeting with an outburst like that.

 

There it was. It still hurt to hear those words, but in some ways there was a sort of freedom to it. The plaster had been ripped off the wound. There was no going back now. She didn't have a Klingon Bird of Prey and a sun to  slingshot around.

 

Jacin ::Speaking carefully:: I apologise SIr. It was not aimed at anyone. I just... Lieutenant Commander R’Ariel has cleared me for duty. 

 

Rodan: Whether you’ve been medically cleared for the station or not, something is wrong. ::He paused, leaning forward to meet her gaze. His words were soft.:: Talk to me.

TBC

 
Lt.Commander Maz Rodan
First Officer
USS Arrow, NCC 69829
C237708DW0
 
&
 
Lieutenant JG Jacin Ayemet
Science Officer
USS Arrow, NCC 69829
A239810JA2
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I can't thanks @Maz Rodan enough for all his help in helping improve my simming and letting me be part of this. I hope it is the first of many, and am so grateful for all the let and encouragement.

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